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Sorry I took so long to respond! The Ford City East shopping center (still called that, I think), which included the theaters, now has a Gertie’s Ice Cream/Lindy’s Chili restaurant and some other small businesses. It’s partially empty and looks kind of desolate (except for Gertie’s). It’s not in a very good location for businesses.
Here’s a realtor’s link with info on the property:
Yes, as of last summer, the space once occupied by the old theaters contained some stores which are part of the Ford City Mall: Marshall’s, Famous Footwear and Old Navy. This is at approximately 74th St., just east of Cicero Ave.
Mindhunter 55 is right about the health club “issue”. There had been, and still is, a health club in the same building for years along with the movie theaters, and the club is still there, but the theater itself is just closed. I live nearby and never saw anything being moved out or changed in any way, so I’ll bet it’s pretty much intact inside.
The old ones were on the east side of Cicero Avenue, set back maybe half a block. I’m pretty sure the Best Buy is on the west side of Cicero. Sorry, I don’t remember the seats – I guess it was too dark! I’m not sure I understand about the shadow box. I do remember that they were the first theaters I’d been to that didn’t have a curtain over the screen. Before the movie started, they just had blue lights illuminating the screens.
The original theaters weren’t exactly inside the mall. There were two parts to the mall – one like a normal enclosed mall, and behind it and across a large parking lot was another large structure (or structures) which was more like a large strip mall. Each business in this second, northernmost structure had to be entered from the outside. There was a bowling alley, some stores, a restaurant, and the theaters, plus some other things I can’t remember.
I also wanted to emphasize that there were originally only two screens (auditoriums) making up the original theaters. A third screen was added later, and then I lost track of how much the original theaters expanded. Ford City East theaters were opened much later, and of course they are now gone too.
The multiplex is actually separate from the mall (just south of it), and 4440 W. 77th sounds just right for the actual theater location. The old, original theaters were very close to 76th St. and Cicero Avenue, but this newer structure is actually a few blocks' distance from the old one.