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Set to reopen next week as RocHaus, a live music venue.
From The Film Daily April 25, 1941:
“The Manos Amusement Co., Toronto, O., will build a $65,000 theater building on the north side of Broad St., near Center St., Newton Falls, O. Seating capacity with be 800. Building, of brick and tile, will be two stories.”
From yesterday’s Daily Herald:
Movies are regularly screened during the summer months at Grant Park, Millennium Park, and many other parks across Chicago, but are not being shown in movie theaters. Should those parks also be added to Cinema Treasures because movies are sometimes shown there? This venue was a school, not a movie theater, that hosted a program of Japanese cinema for a few years, but doesn’t make it a “cinema treasure”.
From Movies In The Age Of Innocence, 3rd Edition (2014), by Edward Wagenknecht:
“As late as 1919 there was film called ‘The Birth Of A Race, The Story Of A Great Peace, In Two Parts’. This played the patrician Blackstone Theater in Chicago at a two-dollar top.”
After much searching both the Chicago Tribune and other sources, this is all I can find to reference films being screened at the Blackstone. There may have been others, but the Blackstone was for all intents and purposes always a live theater, and should not be listed on Cinema Treasures in my opinion.
From today’s Daily Herald:
You can own a piece of the Highland Park Theater:
The Bishop was open prior to 1914 as it is listed in an ad for Mutual Film in the Chicago Tribune dated December 7, 1913 showing theaters screening Mutual pictures.
The theater may have closed before the mid-1930s, per this blurb from Motion Picture News dated October 12, 1929:
“The Bishop, 1840 Ogden Avenue, has closed for an indefinite period.”
The last Chicago Tribune film listing for the Granville is July 30, 1915. It is listed for rent in the Chicago Tribune classifieds in June 1916, and by February 1923 a brief Chicago Tribune article mentions a real estate office at the address. From at least the 50s into the 90s, the building housed Mann Draperies and Interiors.
The theater must have opened by 1912, according to this article from the December 21, 1912 Moving Picure World the theater had just come under new ownership:
“F.O.Nielson, proprietor of the Parkway Theater, has purchased the Stevens Theater, at Evanston Avenue and Irving Park Boulevard. He took possession on Dec. 2. The Stevens will be closed for about three weeks and in that time will be remodeled and redecorated. Stevens seats 300 people.”
The AMC Navy Pier IMAX reopens today with Stephen King’s “It”.
In the Chicago Tribune movie theater guide, the theater is listed between 1917 and 1922 as the New Brookline. The latest listing is from September of 1922. In 1924-25 the address is listed under places of worship. By 1926, the building is listed as “for rent” in the Tribune classifieds.
The Janet is listed in the October 16, 1909 Moving Picture World under “Chicago’s Family Theaters” listing various acts performing there that week including The Malcolms “travesty entertainers”, The Muehlners “eccentric comedy sketch artists” and Rose Johnson “singing and talking pianologue”.
The former Bijou is now the new location of Judy Maxwell Home (http://judymaxwellhome.com/#/id/i12271473) termed an “urban general store” and owned by actress Joan Cusack.
Photo added in photo section of this theater from a 1967 Chicago Tribune article about the Union Park neighborhood as the Teatro las Americas.
The theater was already operating as the Grotto by June 1913 according to a small article in Variety of that month:
“Grotto theatre, Bay City, Mich., has discontinued vaudeville for the present and will continue through the summer with pictures.”
Also, from Exhibitors Herald of Feb. 26, 1921:
“Bay City, Mich. — Fire has destroyed the interior of the Grotto theater. Loss was estimated at $10,000”.
The Music Box will be getting a new more energy efficient marquee (the vertical sign isn’t being touched) which will be completed by Thanksgiving. The theater owners say the public won’t really notice any difference in the appearance.
The Victory was actually located in West Terre Haute, Indiana (address unknown). In 1935, after being closed since 1932, it was remodeled and reopened as the Grace Theater, operated by Charles Ridgey who also managed the Orpheum Theater in Terre Haute (Motion Picture Daily, November 23, 1935). Confusingly, a blurb in the Motion Picture Daily of November 16, 1936, it states:
“In West Terre Haute, the name of the Grace has been changed to the West and the house has been opened under new management. The Victory has been purchased by Ben Van Borsuum, the operator of the Savoy.”
The Palm disappears from the Chicago Tribune film listings after March 12, 1916. An article in the September 29, 1917 Motography lists the Palm along with a number of other Chicago theaters ordered closed for operating without a license. Ads in the Chicago Tribune beginning in May of 1919 show a tire shop is listed as being in operation at this address. Since 1925, the Irving Park YMCA building has stood on the site.
The new website for the Avalon Regal Theater is: http://www.regaltheater.org/ It looks like the creator of the new website for the Avalon Regal is combining the history of the Avalon/New Regal with the original Regal Theater in Bronzeville, which was demolished in 1973.
The name of this theater needs to be updated to Avalon Regal Theater.
The latest Chicago Tribune film listing for the Madlin is dated May 17, 1959 featuring a triple feature of “Dragoon Wells Massacre”, “Shoot First” and “Tension at Table Rock”.
From The Film Daily of August 19, 1937:
JACK MILLER TO BE ACTIVE IN FOUR ILLINOIS THEATERS
Chicago — Back in the film business, Jack Miller will be active in the operation of the Plaisance, the Lido and the Savoy theaters in Chicago and the Forest at Forest Park. He reports that the Forest theater will be completely rebuilt from plans by the architect Roy Blass, with work starting at once. The house will have 1,100 new General Seat Co. deluxe seats, new rest rooms and a complete new interior.
On the Classic Cinemas website, this theater is listed simply as Cinema 7.
Per the theater’s website, the Central currently seats 178. Also the theater opened in 1924 not 1928.
Des Plaines mulls spending millions on downtown theater
Restoring the shuttered Des Plaines Theatre, a project that could cost taxpayers millions, might be the key to starting a string of suburban theaters showing live performances.
The downtown Des Plaines Theatre has been shut down for the past three years, the owner unable, or unwilling, to spend the money to correct major building code violations to reopen the historic gem.
This has led to the mayor’s somewhat unconventional plan to partner with Rivers Casino in Des Plaines and spend $4 million to buy and renovate the theater. Each side would pitch in half the cost, and the city would then hire a manager to book shows and run day-to-day operations. This would put the city in the precarious industry of showbiz and theater ownership.
Across the suburbs, efforts to save historic theaters by converting them to live performance venues have seen successes and failures, with some projects landing somewhere in between.
Ron Onesti, operator of the successful Arcada Theatre in St. Charles, says now is the time for Des Plaines to reopen the theater. Onesti is opening a restaurant, bar and live music concept in downtown Evanston, and a third location in Des Plaines would fit into his business plan to book performers to appear at multiple suburban locations. He believes his approach could help a struggling Des Plaines downtown.
“If you bring in 100,000 visitors a year — which is very attainable — the restaurants won’t have enough seats, the bars won’t have enough beer and the hotels won’t have enough rooms,” Onesti said.
That’s if the plan works, of course.
The vacant Wheaton Grand Theater — built the same year as the theater in Des Plaines — has foundered for years as owners struggle to raise enough money to refurbish the building.
In 2004, Waukegan paid $23 million — far more than is being considered in Des Plaines — to buy and renovate the 2,400-seat Genesee Theatre without seeing much financial return. After eight years of losing money while a private company booked shows, Waukegan gave ownership to a nonprofit group largely supported by Uline Shipping Supply Specialists and other large benefactors. The theater remains in use, a jewel in a largely deserted downtown, but it doesn’t turn a profit, board Chairman Brian Shenker said.
“I don’t know a suburban theater that can make a profit, to be honest with you,” he said.
Between the competition with Chicago theaters and a saturation of live shows at casinos and other suburban theaters, the business is difficult, Shenker said.
Perhaps providing hope for eager Des Plaines residents is the success of the Paramount Theatre in downtown Aurora. It has undergone a renaissance since it began producing Broadway-quality shows, and annual attendance has shot up sixfold since 2010.
While every theater project is different, they have one thing in common: the need for capital investment. Ticket sales alone usually aren’t enough.
Public funding for private theaters is becoming increasingly prevalent, Onesti said. Still, he added, “it’s not as prevalent as it needs to be.”
In Des Plaines, a city known for its squabbles among city council members, garnering approval for the funding will be a challenge. Aldermen have questioned whether the city should get involved and have expressed concern the city could be on the hook for an ever-increasing price tag.
Meanwhile, closing a deal could take time. Dhitu Bhagwakar, who has owned the theater since the early 2000s, says the building is worth more than an appraised value of $2.3 million. He’s frustrated, too, that the city and casino have left him out of talks, he said.
“It’s my property, and I’m in the dark basically,” he said.
There’s a reason for that, Bogusz said. The city years ago worked with Bhagwakar, providing some funding and deadline extensions, but as repair needs grew and targets weren’t met, officials took a tougher stance over code violations.
Bogusz said he fears “inaction in having the current owner continue to operate or continue to mismanage a very large important piece of our downtown. He’s really a bad actor at this point. It’s really disappointing.”
If the theater does one day open under the city’s ownership, “our true goal isn’t how much money we can make on a ticket, but how many people we can bring downtown,” city Manager Mike Bartholomew said. “That’s the payoff for the city.”