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I was accepted at Loyola and almost went there right after high school. After they tore down the Granada I was glad I had decided not to attend.
The lack of respect Loyola had for the Granada was both shameful and puzzling. The Ambassador in St. Louis met the same fate for similar reasons. I am a strong believer in the capitalist system, which was responsible for theaters such as the Granada and the Ambassador being as grand as they were, but tearing these buildings down because they’re not the flavor of the week is short-sided and tragic. Sometimes the economics for saving a theater just don’t work, but I think it could have for the Granada. It had everything going for it, except the right ownership.
I happened to walk by the Granada in 1987 (I think). It was a Saturday afternoon, and there was a large drain hose coming out the front doors dumping a fairly light stream of water into the street. I peered in the door opening and didn’t see anyone, so I walked in and looked around. The interior still looked majestic, considering there was a big hole in the main archway window. It didn’t occur to me that it might be near its end. Very sad, for it was a truly stunning building, both inside and outside. Just as I remember its near twin, the Marbro, from my early teen years.
Of all the major theaters that have been razed in Chicago, the loss of the Granada might be the most unfortunate. The theater would have needed restoration to become a first class performance space, but it was in very good condition at the time of closing in 1986. And the Rogers Park neighborhood was, and is, fairly solid, certainly when compared to the other Chicago neighborhoods that have lost deluxe movie houses. It was a great building in a good location, which would have made it a solid candidate for restoration. So to me, its demise is the saddest of all the destroyed Chicago movie palaces since it could have worked as a restored theater.
I’m sure your question is rhetorical, but it is the Chicago just prior to opening.
It would be interesting to know what other movies played there, if any. Regardless, I agree that the evidence is sufficient to list this as a Cinema Treasure.
If we could find that projector it would likely validate the Blackstone being listed on this site. Maybe it’s still in the theatre somewhere.
Comfortably Cool – okay, it showed one movie. I don’t see the calamity with listing this theatre here. It’s certainly more of a treasure than most mall cinemas. Also, I’ve never been in the place but I’m wondering if it has, or had, a projection room? Not sure how that would have been handled back in 1910, or 1919 when the one movie was shown. I guess if just one movie was shown they must have set up a temporary projector somehow.
And yet, if this entry is deleted, all that great research you did will go to waste. And future wannabe theatre connoisseurs perusing this site will never know that the Blackstone did indeed show at least a few movies over its long life.
Howard, you got me. Wrong composer. I meant the Chopin Theatre. The memory isn’t what it used to be.
Chicago has a few grand old theatres still showing movies but none, to my knowledge, that have done so continuously since opening. Some that are showing movies are the Logan, Patio, Portage, Music Box, and Davis. The Biograph also presents film occasionally, though that is no longer its principle function. Plus, its interior has been gutted so it doesn’t really meet your criteria. And all these theatres have been closed for various periods over the last 20-30 years or so. There are others that have the capability to show movies but seldom do so, such as the Copernicus Center (Gateway) and the Chicago Theatre. There are a couple others that are showing movies now but did not do so for many years, either because they were closed or were being used for other purposes, such as the Mozart and the Mercury.
I don’t believe this is of the Orpheum in Springfield. It looks nothing like it. Nice theatre though.
I would think that the people driving north on the bridge at the left of the picture would have had a great view of the movie screen.
Thanks for the link Mark. That’s what I was looking for. I’m getting the feeling that they will cover over what is missing, and not replace the loge and missing balcony areas. Hope I’m wrong, but getting a bad feeling. At least it will be a theatre again.
No doubt they can restore it, but I was just curious if they’ve provided detail on the project, particularly the auditorium, or any renderings, etc. I’m not just assuming this will be a Kings-like restoration, though I sure hope it is.
I haven’t seen much in the way of specifics on the planned renovation. Have any of the announcements touched on whether they plan to restore the balcony, loge and other areas of the auditorium that were lost when it was converted to a gymnasium? Obviously, a lot of the original plasterwork is gone, so replacing it would be a significant task.
Yeah, not exactly the Marcus Loew philosophy.
On March 30, 2017 it was announced that the Granada has been sold to the owners of the Watseka Theatre in Watseka, IL. Their plan is to restore it and present the same type of shows they do at the Watseka. See link below for story from The Dalles Chronicle.
Apparently it was on Rosecrans Avenue. Good thing there isn’t a Rosecrans CA with a Paramount Theatre. It might get confusing.
Bobby, I don’t remember the robot, unfortunately. But for some reason I remember buying a camera there for 75 cents, and it took great pictures! Lots of wonderful toys there. I’m glad there was no Amazon back then. As for the Paradise, I think we’re lucky it hung around as long as it did. My understanding is that it had been losing money for many years.
Right. It’s the Goldblatt’s site, not the store, which is long gone. I loved that place, especially the candy counter and the toy department.
There wasn’t any plan that included the return of the Keith’s to some sort of theater use, correct? The best case was that the lobby would be retained in the new development. At least that’s my recollection.
The first picture is the Tennessee Theatre (still open) in Knoxville, TN. The third picture shows the Fisher Theatre in Detroit, prior to its “renovation” in 1961.
Agreed. Looks like a real gem. Wish there was more information and photos. The auditorium, what we can see of it, is stunning! Can’t believe they let this one get away.
So do any remnants of this theatre still exist? In particular, is the auditorium still there?