Showing 1 - 25 of 144 comments found
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.
Her connection to the Kings is nothing more than the fact she saw movies there, correct? She shot down the myth that she was an usher, if I recall.
I still don’t understand the snails pace at which things move these days. It probably took less time for George and C.W. Rapp to design the entire building back in 1928 than it’s taking to figure out the renovation today. And I’ll bet it took only around 10-14 months to build the Kings. But, I will shut up and just be patient.
Surely ACE would have known about all this red tape when they estimated completion by 2014. Hopefully you are correct that the bureaucracy involved is the culprit. I’m sure it takes a long time to line up public funding; however, if there is no progress within the next few months I think we can assume that the project is at least on hold.
I’ve never seen a picture of this theatre. I barely remember it from my youth, and I would love to see a picture to remind me of what it looked like.
Bobby, yes one would think that the restoration would have started by now. Though people say otherwise, I suspect ACE is having second thoughts about the magnitude of the investment required.
Your photos are excellent. I wish there was a close-up of the projection booth, which I’ve never seen a really good view of.
Bobby, that’s good news about the Uptown. I guess we’ll see how it plays out.
Bobby, I remain doubtful about the Uptown, but would love to eat my words someday. Hopefully your “source” is correct. The Kings seems like a much more viable project to me since it’s not located in a neighborhood, as is the Uptown. And I believe the Kings has parking issues that are easier to deal with.
This is like a repeat of the Uptown situation in Chicago, though I suspect ACE is holding back for different reasons than JAM. I don’t know how ACE funds its projects, but one would think this would be a good time to move since the cost of money is so low.
Nice view of the canopy, which was used on many of the B&K theatres to protect against the tough Chicago winter.
Trivia note: for those of you who have seen “The Public Enemy” with James Cagney, Beryl Mercer was the actress who played Cagney’s mother.
The film displayed on the marquee dates this photo to sometime in the Spring of 1929, since that is when “Weary River” was released. Supposedly the talkie version of this was released in February and the silent version in April. Though the marquee indicates it’s a talkie, the vegetation present pretty much rules out February in Chicago, so my quess is that it’s probably April or May 1929. There’s also a lower sign under the marquee that shows Mary Pickford in “Coquette”, which was released on March 30, 1929. But then again, who knows when these movies would have made it out to the neighborhoods.
Great photo! Thanks for sharing it.
There’s nothing left to restore. I don’t understand why there would be any sort of organized effort to save this theatre. And the fact it’s located in Gary makes it even more pointless.
You said it Bobby. A 1920s movie palace doesn’t get much better than this. In fact, I can’t think of a facade more elaborate than the Marbro’s. Even the SF Fox didn’t top this.
I have added a photo of the Marbro, which is actually a postcard view of the theatre from 1929. It shows a little more of West Madison Street than most of the other early pictures I’ve seen.
Bobby, this is what I did. I scanned the photo and saved it to my hard drive. Then I just uploaded the file to CT by clicking on the “Add a New Photo” button on the photos page. When there, click on the “Browse” button and you would point it to the file on your hard drive. That’s all there is to it. If you don’t have access to a scanner, you could go to a photo store or a Kinko’s and they could scan it for you. Where I live there’s a place that will put a picture on a CD for $4. There are probably other ways to do this, but that would require advise from someone smarter than me.
Bobby, I seem to remember you had a photo of the Paradise you were thinking about posting.
Bobby, yes it is hard to believe that this theatre once sat on the site. I wish there were more pictures of the area available today.
Thanks Bobby. I don’t have any of the Marbro, but I have seen photos taken at the closing and during demolition. Incidentally, I used to post under the name “Scott” but it was changed to Paradise when CT did its redesign. I just haven’t bothered to change it back.
A number of theories have been advanced as to why the marquee and vertical were replaced, but the most likely reason to me was cost. I’m not sure that Crawford/Pulaski was widened, but perhaps you’re correct. By the way, looking at the original photo, it gives you a better perspective on both the size and detail. The photo was taken for an article published in the Chicago Daily News about the impending closure and demolition of the theatre.