Alex Theater

3828 W. Madison Street,
Chicago, IL 60624

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Showing 1 - 25 of 58 comments

frankyv on March 10, 2016 at 8:56 pm

I loved this place. I saw the movie Black Sabbath when it first premiered. It was a huge hit for mu favorite horror character Boris Karloff. Those where my days. Meet my first girlfriend there too.

davidplomin on May 29, 2015 at 8:51 pm

The Newberry and the Chestnut were two separate theaters within a block of each other on the west side of Clark St. The Newberry was torn down, the block replaced by a high rise apt. The Chestnut Station was a former post office converted to a pretty nice multiplex.

GFeret on October 30, 2013 at 2:08 pm

one can’d discuss chicago theatres that acquired substantial gay patronage without mentioning the old Newberry theatre on Clark St by the library (later metamorphosizing into the Chestnut Station). i’d also say it’s very unlikely the ALEX theatre ever acquired that audience slant

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on October 8, 2013 at 2:25 am

I think there might be a little confusion here. I really don’t believe gays ventured up to the West Side to spend the night at this legendary schlock house. I once heard from an old veteran theatre owner that the Parkway Theatre, at Clark and Diversey, was a gathering spot for gays. The Parkway was a schlock house for many years up unil 1979 when Landmark Theatres took it over and began a revival program there. I believe that would be more credible since there’s a higher gay prescence around the Parkway Theatre area. I think JAYJay got these two schlock houses mixed up, but I could be wrong.

BobbyS on October 7, 2013 at 9:51 pm

On the other hand, these theaters all had organs….Sorry I couldn’t resist.

Broan on October 7, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Well, I dunno why that guy brought it up, he doesn’t have much of a comment history. Is it more important to read comments about what monster movies someone watched 50 years ago than about the roles particular theaters played in the lives of a persecuted minority?

Trolleyguy on October 7, 2013 at 5:17 pm

If this site were about the sexual mores of urban cultures, then OK. I think there is something more prurient afoot here.

Broan on October 7, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Theatre history is social history.

Trolleyguy on October 7, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Why is this an important topic?

Broan on October 7, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Dunno about the Alex, but the Patio was the subject of a couple raids on homosexuals.

amoswald on October 7, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Hit the wrong link I didn’t mean to unsubscribe

BobbyS on October 7, 2013 at 11:42 am

I don’t remember that at all..However the Alex did show alot of “Hercules” movies which would attest to that fact.

JAYJay on October 7, 2013 at 6:55 am

The Alex
Became a hangout for gays in the late 50s

GFeret on May 20, 2013 at 11:49 am

i had no guilty conscience even slight about seeing monster movies, who would? i saved my guilt for more important, or at least expensive things.

GFeret on May 20, 2013 at 11:46 am

i don’t mind repeating myself that the old monster movies i looked up @ legion of decency were rated CONDEMNED. a slight disappoinment at my age then but also irrevelant i confess, and looking back it now it made its own kind of sense, those things could be condemned for any number of reasons by any right thinking person, which viewpoint is comfortably irrelvant.

Scott on May 15, 2013 at 9:17 am

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.

BobbyS on May 15, 2013 at 7:59 am

HI SCOTT. Kids have it made today if they wish to see a “condemned” movie. With so many screens under one roof, they can just buy a ticket into a “safe” film and just walk into the film of choice. I have never seen anyone checking. So much of it is on TV & the web, its really a farce. Morals in this counrty have been on the slide down for years. The Alex was never my first choice. Only remember it as the last resort. I had more fun at the Byrd.

Scott on May 15, 2013 at 7:14 am

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?

KenC on May 14, 2013 at 11:10 pm

Oops- that last word should be conscience. It’s late, time for bed.

KenC on May 14, 2013 at 11:03 pm

To GFeret- Growing up Catholic in the 1950s, and a big fan of monster/horror/ sci fi movies, I not only read the movie listings in the Sun Times, but also The New World. They had the Legion of Decency ratings: A1, A2, A3, B (Morally Objectionable In Part For All), and the most severe rating C (Condemned). To my knowledge, no monster movie was ever condemned. Most got an A2 or A3 rating. But a few were were rated B, and these come to mind (along with , I’m guessing, the reasons): “INVASION OF THE SAUCER MEN” (teenagers making out in lovers lane), “NIGHT OF THE BLOOD BEAST” (a pregnant man!), “THE BRIDE AND THE BEAST” (Reincarnation- can’t have little kids and teenagers questioning their faith- and a not so subtle suggestion of woman and ape mating), and “I WAS A TEENAGE FRANKENSTEIN” (more lovers lane scenes and man playing god). The C rating went to mostly foreign films- virtually all of Brigitte Bardot movies were condemned, along with a few American films. If memory serves, viewing a C rated movie was a mortal sin, but seeing a B rated film was only a venial sin(?).Anyway, that’s the way it was back then. Fun times- with only a SLIGHTLY guilty conscious!

BobbyS on May 14, 2013 at 8:39 am

The more condemned they were, the more interesting the movie was…..and the ALEX was THE place to see them.

GFeret on May 14, 2013 at 8:18 am

i checked myself back then, i wasn’t looking up anything but ‘monster movies’, they all came up Condemned. I went regardless

BobbyS on May 13, 2013 at 9:31 am

Always amazed me how the church said it was ok to see a monster attacking & eating & killing people, but a no no for Monroe to suggest something a little more tame. Especially what we know today..

amoswald on May 13, 2013 at 7:47 am

I went to most of the monsterovies. Mom checked the listings so the could not have bee B or C. Those ratings were reserved for Hotchcock, Monroe, Bardot and the like. Sex and violence combined.

GFeret on May 13, 2013 at 7:30 am

“….monster movies classified B by Catholic Legion of Decency”. actually back then the Legion of Decency typical gave those movies their CONDEMNED classification I do recall