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The ceiling was incredible, dark blue with painted clouds and stars and all. Really neat. Leaning back and staring up at it, I was always impressed.
Saw so many movies here it’s impossible to count.
I remember Rocky 3 being a particularly rowdy screening.
Didn’t like seeing Star Wars with a noticeable hole in the screen, but that’s the way it was for a very short while :)
Superman 3 ushered in the $5 ticket price. That was memorable, because up until then it was always $3 and $3.50, with $1.50 matinees. Very affordable for a kid.
I believe Blood Simple was the last film I saw there.
Also, Witness played there close to the end. I’m pretty sure it was playing there in November of 1985. My parents saw it.
Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Historical Society Newsletter
ALPHABET STORIES – D
Deerpath and The Deluxe Theaters
Newcomers to Lake Forest and Lake Bluff may be unaware that long ago there was a movie theater located in downtown Lake Forest. People who remember the Deerpath Theater on Deerpath, located just a block west of Walgreens, may not know that in the late 1920s where were two movie theaters in Lake Forest, one in Highwood, and two in Highland Park. If the discerning movie fan couldn’t find a film he or she wanted to see, there was always Waukegan with its magnificent Genesee Theater.
The 1920s was the era where movies ruled the entertainment world. The names of the films changed several times a week, and there was always something new to see. The first movie house in Lake Forest was called The Deluxe. It was situated on Westminster, approximately where the old O’Neil Hardware Store once stood. However, the dominance of the Deluxe was to be challenged in the fall of 1928 when it was announced that a grand movie house would soon be built a few blocks away.
Much publicity was raised about the new project. The architect was Stanley Anderson. In 1928, one of the ads in the Lake Forester discussed the opening of the Deerpath Theater by saying, “It is the intention of the management to set a standard in entertainment that is worthy of the people of Lake Forest and adjacent territory.” The curiosity of the public was fed as the construction of the building continued. One article exclaimed, “The new theater is one of the finest on the North Shore, equipped with every modern facility including a splendid pipe organ.” An organist was hired and touted to be among the finest. These were the days when the ‘talkies’ had not yet become the rule, so it was important for an organist to play as an underline to the on-screen action.
Then on September 1, 1928, the somewhat delayed opening finally took place. The occasion was marked with the filming of the crowds attending the event. Whetting the appetites of the town, the grand opening was preceded with large ads in the Lake Forester. After the first night, a review of the theater said, “Architects are to be congratulated on achieving a theater that lacks the ornate embellishments of the usual movie houses. … The furnishing has been reserved as the theater itself demands.” The featured film for the opening was “Glorious Betsy.” Joseph Emma of Lake Forest was the manager of the theater for nearly all of its existence in town.
The Deluxe fought hard to maintain its place, and urged people to come to the original theater where they would find the best programs, with no increase in prices. Both theaters offered children’s matinees with a weekly serial such as Tarzan and a cartoon. Eventually, the Deluxe closed, and the Deerpath outlived all of its competitors in the surrounding towns. Its doors closed in 1985.
I remember seeing Videodrome and Spaceballs there.
From the Chicago Tribune, an article about the closing of the theater.
For Edens I And Ii, It’s The Last Reel-but Ending Isn’t A Happy One
October 21, 1994
by Anne Stein
It started its run in 1963 with “Divorce-Italian Style” and recently ended with showings of “Time Cop” and “Milk Money.”
In between, thousands of moviegoers watched hundreds of films on the huge, old-fashioned big screens of the Edens I and II Theaters along the Edens Expressway between Lake-Cook and Dundee Roads in Northbrook.
“I think I saw every one of the `Star Wars' movies there,” said Village Clerk Lona Louis. “It was nice to have a movie theater so close. In the glory days, it was a nice, big theater to go to.”
The glory days, however, are over. The theaters have been closed and sold to a developer, and they’re being demolished and will be replaced by a shopping mall.
Even those who never ventured into Edens I-a George Jetson-like structure opened 31 years ago-couldn’t miss it as they drove along the Edens Expressway or Skokie Boulevard.
Its swooping, concrete roof, low and flat in the middle and rising up to a point on either end like an old leather saddle, was the world’s largest “hyperbolic paraboloid” structure when it was built as a single-screen theater in 1963. In 1969, the more architecturally subdued Edens II was constructed nearby.
Architect Jack Train was the principal in charge of the project when Edens I was designed by Robert Palmer of the Chicago firm Perkins & Will.
“The people who came to us were old movie families and wanted to build a theater in Northbrook,” Train recalled. “They were also considering a theater where they could have speakers and do readings, and they wanted something unique.
“It seemed like a logical solution was a hyperbolic paraboloid.”
Though the building looked odd, it was economical to build, Train said. The concrete roof was poured in a day. Moreover, it had almost perfect acoustics and distributed air and light well.
But according to Howard Lichtman, a spokesman for the theaters' last operator, Cineplex Odeon, the Edens “was an old facility that didn’t warrant the capital investments to bring it up to snuff.”
“The Edens is an older complex without the modern amenities,” Lichtman said. “It wasn’t your modern multiplex with a state-of-the-art sound and projection system.”
As soon as demolition is completed this month, construction will begin on Market Square, a shopping center that could eventually stretch a half-mile from the theater site north to Lake-Cook Road.
The two theaters will be replaced by five stores, including Performance Bicycles and Kinko’s Copies and a Bertucci’s restaurant. Phase II of the shopping center project, if approved by Northbrook, may include a Builder’s Square, Circuit City and Filene’s Basement.
Though Northbrook is again without its own cinemas, that may change too, said Village Manager John Novinson.
“Somewhere down the road, this community will get theaters,” Novinson said. “There’s already talk of a new location in town.
“Unfortunately, you can’t carry those large auditoriums anymore.”
I recall taking my young cousins to see Annie at Edens II. Not a great film, but it sure did look and sound great there.
This is a Must Watch.
Northbrook Community Television’s 1-hour documentary on the theatre “Edens Theater: The Life of a Beautiful Bird.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPVwzY19eEU (Part 1 of 5)
Have been double checking on this. Word is, the theater was purchased a few weeks ago. Just added a photo of the marquee, taken yesterday … “Now Hiring” the “Showcase Superlux and Davios Cucina.”
FYI. The marquee on the theater says it’s “Now Hiring.” Seriously. Not a joke. Potentially very good news. I live near the theater and I’ve noticed lights on and work being done in the prior months.
And the decor was brown and maroon. Lots of dark red, the curtains in particular.
The big theater in the building was cinema 1, on the west side of the building. It was pretty big. I’d guess more than 500 seats. The two middle theaters were real boxy rectangles – nothing special at all. The theater on the east side of the building wasn’t, as I recall, as large as the left-side theater, but it was an ok showplace. I will say that sometimes the sound from the theaters on the other side of the walls drifted over. The screens also had curtains that opened and closed before every show.
And Poltergeist. Can’t forget that. Many a time did I meet friends here. It was definitely a place to be. It had a really long concession stand that covered almost the whole front foyer. There was also a small video game arcade on the west side of the foyer.
Saw so many great films here. Alien, E.T., 1941, Return of the Jedi on opening day, Temple of Doom, Ordinary People, Twilight Zone: The Movie… even Battlestar Galactica in sensurround!
re: 70mm, I stand corrected. Sure did seem like it. Edens II was cavernous.
I remember seeing that “coming to your galaxy this summer” poster in the foyer.
Drove by it nearly every weekday on my way to school in the 80s. Saw LOGAN’S RUN, ANNIE HALL and Bakshi’s LORD OF THE RINGS here. Fascinating theater. I recall feeling it was kind of a foreboding place. Neat though. REALLY neat. Although, each time I was there it was a sea of empty seats. I came to expect that. Edens II, however, that’s where the big shows were … STAR WARS (first run in 70mm), RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, LION IN WINTER, EMPIRE OF THE SUN, SUPERMAN – which was so packed we had to sit in the aisle.
A bunch of us film critics, cinephiles and whatnot will be gathering at the Border Cafe (near the Harvard Sq theater, on the corner to its right) tonight (Sunday, July 8th) at 8pm .. for a beer and to share some memories of this old place on it’s last day of operation. Feel free to join us!
Here’s some additional background information on the Deerpath Theatre. It’s from a 2007 interview with actress Joan Taylor (1929-2012), who passed away on last month – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_Taylor
Q: When did you get the itch to start to perform?
My mom was a dancing teacher, and my dad became the manager of a motion picture theater in Lake Forest, Illinois. It was called the Deerpath Theater — a lot of deer used to go past there down to Lake Michigan. We would go to movies at my dad’s theater on Friday nights, Shirley Temple was on the screen and, whoops, all of a sudden I wanted to do “On the Good Ship Lollipop” [laughs]! My first job was as a cashier in his theater. My mom would never let me wear slacks, but I made $13 my first week as a cashier and of course the first thing I did was buy a pair of beautiful wool slacks for $13. I earned that money, so I could go buy myself what I wanted!”
Q: What did it feel like to be 20 years old and sixth-billed in your first movie?
Felt good [laughs]. It felt really good! Of course, going from stage to movies, you have to [modify your acting]. The same way that boiling water has to be covered with a lid, you’ve got to keep things in; you don’t throw things to the back of the house, so to speak, as an actress on the stage would. I had to learn how to kinda hold things in a little bit. That was hard, coming from the stage. The world premiere was in Topeka, Kansas; I remember going there on a train, playing cards with Dale. At that premiere, there was a parade and there was the mayor and duh-dah duh-dah duh-dah [laughs], because there was Randolph Scott and also Dale Robertson, who became a star after that picture. Again, it was great. Then I went on into Chicago and was met by the newspaper people, and pictures in the newspaper, and all of the Hollywood stuff.
Q: Back in your own home state.
Yes! Then we went into Lake Forest and we had a “premiere” at my dad’s theater—with, of course, pictures of me putting my own name up on my dad’s marquee. “Home Town Girl Makes Good”!