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Bobby, I saw the Chicago endangered list. I will be truly amazed if the Uptown is ever re-opened. I think its location really works against it.
Bobby, maybe we’ll never know whether B&K tried to buy the Marbro. That would seem to have been the sensible move, since there was no way that the area could support two giant movie palaces along with all the smaller theatres. Even in the 1920s that wouldn’t have worked; at least not from my perspective. One of those theatres was destined to be a money loser, and it turned out to be the Paradise.
Yes, here’s the story as I recall it. The Guyon family owned the land that the Paradise eventually was built on. In the early stages of the Paradise project there was a fight between Guyon and the Marks Brothers over who held the rights to name their theatre “Paradise.” Guyon won the lawsuit, which of course resulted in the Marks Brothers naming their theatre “Marbro.” Unfortunately for Guyon, however, the recent construction and opening of his hotel impeded his ability to fund the Paradise project, causing him to sell the Paradise to the Cooney Brothers. The Paradise project was also too much for the Cooney Brothers. They went bankrupt, subsequently selling the Paradise, which was only in the early stages of development, to Balaban & Katz. The bigger budget that B&K brought to the table allowed Eberson to improve his design. Obviously B&K were determined to squash the Marks Brothers, which they ultimately did. B&K purchased the Marbro around 1930 I believe. So the land the Paradise sat on went from Guyon to the Cooney Brothers to B&K, and then to the company that developed the grocery store.
“Tax dollars are supposed to be spent on projects that make taxpayer’s lives better.”
Right. And that definition provides an umbrella under which politicians justify just about anything.
Don’t know if you’re still interested, but the only way I know to find this is to look at an old newspaper at the library. The Chicago Public Library would certainly have Chicago Tribune’s on microfiche, as would a decent university library. If you can’t get to one, you could try calling and asking for the newspaper/reference section and maybe they would be willing to look it up for you. It should be easy to find if you have access to the paper.
Does anyone here know the approximate cost for a digital projector?
Bobby, I attended “A Christmas Carol” as well. I sat in the lower balcony. When it was over I walked up to the back of the balcony, which has an amazing view, of course. Starting at the foyer on the top floor I worked my way down to the main lobby. I believe there are five levels: three balcony levels, the loge, and the main floor. I guess there are six if you count the basement where the main lounges are. In any case, it’s quite a feast for the eyes. The defunct Paradise in Chicago has long been my favorite theatre, but the Fox in St. Louis is a worthy challenger. And though the Fox is not technically an atmospheric, it is about as fanciful as they come. And yes, Detroit is equally fortunate to have their Fox Theatre.
I’ve been to the Fox dozens of times over the past 25+ years, and it has never looked better than it does today. Went to a show there on 12/7/13 and walked through the entire theater, much of it with the accompaniment of an enthusiastic staff volunteer. There have been a number of excellent photos taken of the Fox over the years, but none of them do it justice. It has to be seen to be fully appreciated.
Bobby, unfortunately, even if they had somehow survived to this point, they would still be white elephants. There’s just no use for them in that location. The one neighborhood theatre that I thought could have made a go of it was the Granada. It had always been quite popular with the public. But Loyola had other ideas.
If this theatre actually operated until 1970 I would be very surprised. I was going to movies a lot in the late 1960s and I don’t recall it being open then. To my recollection, downtown had the Coronado, the State, the Times, and the Midway.
Joe, I concur. The theatre was built for vaudeville and movies, and was never intended as a presentation house. And later in the 1920s when Rockford saw the addition of the Capital and Coronado theatres, the use of its stage probably declined dramatically. As a movie house it was superb. Intimate yet ornate, and excellent acoustics.
Bobby, the Midway had a stage, but it wasn’t very deep. Not sure of the fly system as all I saw there was movies. I believe the dressing rooms were in the basement. I’m going by memory, which is sketchy as I haven’t been in the Midway since the late 1970s. It was a very cool theater and I always enjoyed going there.
Interesting. It’s nice to hear a little about what’s happening in Garfield Park. I looked up St. James church but don’t really remember it. Sad that it’s gone. It appears to have been a beautiful building, which I guess makes it a target in Chicago. Not sure of the exact location of the Garfield Park pool. I can probably figure it out from an old aerial map. Is that gone, too?
I don’t recall the St. James church, at least not by name. I’m sure I would recognize it though. I’ll have to Google that. I didn’t know the Brachs factory was still there. That had to have been empty for a very long time. I’d be surprised if the Guyon building ever comes to life again. A high density building in what is now a very low density neighborhood doesn’t make sense. Then again, it has hung on this long so who knows.
Yes, the picture makes it look like the “GUYON” sign is across from, or even north of, the Paradise. But it was a good block or more south of the Paradise. So how does the Guyon Hotel look these days? I haven’t driven through the area in well over 20 years.
p.s. My thanks to Lou Rugani for posting the photo. I went to the Crawford a few times in the late 1950s but have never been able to locate a picture of it. I couldn’t recall what it looked like. I still have no memory of the inside. I’m sure it was rather plain, but it would be great to see it again.
I believe the photo is from the late 1940s, probably 1947. The marquee of the Crawford is advertising “Boom Town” which was originally released in 1940. However, the automobiles are later than that, so it’s probably 1947, which would coincide with the time “Boom Town” was re-released. The vertical sign on the left in the distance reads “Guyon”, which was the name of the hotel it was attached to. That building still stands, and is actually a little south of the Paradise Theatre in the photo. The Paradise Ballroom was indeed operating at the time, and was just a little north of the Guyon, almost directly across the street from the Paradise Theatre. I don’t see a sign for the ballroom in the photo.
I remember seeing “The Buddy Holly Story” here in 1978. It was a fun show and it was well attended. Had no idea at the time that drive ins were winding down.
Yes, the article is misleading. This is a redevelopment more than a renovation. At least it hasn’t been completely effaced. And it didn’t become a parking garage or a CVS. In any case, I suppose the impending renewal of the Kings Theatre obviates the need for another large movie palace in Brooklyn.
Nothing I’ve read about the conversion explains which areas of the theatre were restored and which were destroyed. Can someone elaborate on this? I’m guessing the auditorium was leveled, or gutted. Were some of the lobby and foyer spaces saved and restored? I see that the main facade was preserved.
Hi Bobby. Yes, we’ve sunk pretty low morally and I don’t see us turning back anytime soon. The commercials I see during a televised baseball game today would have been rated “condemned” when we were kids. It’s all out there in the open now. I do remember the Byrd Theatre – vaguely. It seems most of my memories from the 50s are vague now. The Paradise made a much bigger impression on me, despite the poor acoustics that supposedly did it in.
I was a Lutheran so I didn’t have this problem. But then, my mom had her own Legion Of Decency system that she enforced rather strictly. I grew up not far from the Alex but only recall going there 2 or 3 times. I spent more time at the bowling that was a block or so from there – Cascade Lanes was the name I think?
This is very sad news. His “American Picture Palaces” book was the impetus for my interest in the study of American movie palaces. It really opened my eyes to the magic of America’s grand theaters. As Ken noted, his other books were excellent as well. May he rest in peace.
The closing and demolition of American movie palaces was well under way by 1963. Prior to this, the Chicago Paradise razing began in 1956, the Philadelphia Mastbaum was razed in 1958, and the NYC Roxy was destroyed in 1961, among others. Those 3 would have to be on anyone’s top 10 list of all-time greatest movie palaces. There were hundreds of closings precipitated by the introduction of TV, and most of those theatres were eventually demolished. Also in 1963, Chicago’s Marbro closed (razed 1964) and the San Francisco Fox was demolished. And there were others. So I guess you could say the Tivoli went down in the early stage of the decline, but it was by no means one of the first. The Tivoli was dealing with dwindling numbers due to TV and a rapidly changing neighborhood. Which was the case for most of Chicago’s large neighborhood theatres.
Interesting photo. Obviously taken from the marquee of the State-Lake Theatre across the street.