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It never occurred to me before but I suppose there are a number of similarities between the Avalon (New Regal) and the Paradise. I’m sure the same could be said about the now-defunct Capitol, also on Chicago’s south side. Since the New Regal is the only remaining Eberson theatre in Chicago it would be very sad if it is torn down at some point. Hopefully they can make it work.
Thanks Patsy. I read the Observer article but it didn’t come across to me whether they were going to attempt to replicate the original lobby. Hopefully they will at least adhere to it in style. I didn’t realize the facade was saved. That was a good bit of foresight.
Since the lobby and entrance were both demolished, has the Foundation announced its plan with respect to those spaces? That is, are they going to build a lobby based on the original design, or are they going with an entirely new design?
JamesD, you stated that theaters in much worse shape than the Keith’s have been restored. I’m not trying to start an argument, but I’m curious which theaters you have in mind?
Bobby, thanks for posting that. Interesting that they went with orange lighting. Would loved to have seen the original marquee in color.
Bobby, I was really excited about this photo since it’s the first one I’ve seen that really shows the box office in any detail. I suspect that the original, and larger, marquee cast a shadow that made the box office hard to see. In addition, this photo appears to have been taken a little closer to the building. Incidentally, that was me who theorized that the Crawford Theatre photo is from 1947. And you are correct, the original Paradise vertical is visible in the Crawford photo, so it was replaced sometime between 1947 and 1956. Probably closer to 1947, but I really don’t know. The later vertical is the only one I remember seeing as a youth. I wondered about the “free parking” as well. I know there were some surface lots in the area, but I’m not sure which one the sign refers to. The bit about the “2 BIG HITS ON EVERY PROGRAM” was there for a while, as I’ve seen it in a photo taken a year or two before the one I uploaded was taken. Since by this time the Marbro had become the theater of choice in the neighborhood, B&K probably booked lesser quality features at the Paradise. I also think that the lettering right under the marquee that says “IT’S SHOW TIME WITH THE PICK OF THE PICTURES“ remained there for some time as well.
I hope you can post your photo. Would certainly like to see it.
I have also added two close ups. One of the box office and one of the box office with a poster case. I lightened up the contrast on the box office to make it more visible. It’s the only good image I’ve seen of it.
I have uploaded an interesting photo of the Paradise from 1941. Shows the exterior with a good view of the box office. If you enlarge it you’ll see pretty good detail.
I have uploaded a 1940 postcard view of the Will Rogers Theatre to the photo section.
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.