Loop Theater

165 N. State Street,
Chicago, IL 60601

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Showing 1 - 25 of 66 comments

DavidZornig on May 23, 2014 at 4:53 pm

The Loop is seen in this Vivian Maier film at 5:41, 6:20 & 7:27.


DavidZornig on March 20, 2014 at 10:31 am

I added a number of images to the Photos Section that were either previously in dead links or newly found via Facebook or other sources. I credited the sources whenever I could.

dallasmovietheaters on March 17, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Vivian Meier’s shot of the theater can be found at http://www.vivianmaier.com/gallery/street-2/#slide-16


Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on April 2, 2013 at 1:51 am

Today, April 2, is the 35th Anniversary of the Loop Theatre putting on its last picture show.

chicagomike47 on September 17, 2012 at 1:45 pm

you are very correct in everthing you wrote, and i thank you for your input.my fondest memories when i was a young boy was to ride the illinois central to the loop, walking through MASHALL FIELD’S and attending a first run {and many times a world premeire, including I WANT TO LIVE,at the STATE LAKE, and NORTH BY NORTHWEST, at the UNITED ARTISTS,and it’s all gone now!One last thing. if you obtain a dvd of NORTH BY NORTHWEST under SPECIAL FEATURES you can actualy see ALFRED HITCHCOCK in front of the united artists theater signing autographs. THANK YOU AGAIN FOR YOUR INPUT!

CSWalczak on September 17, 2012 at 2:18 am

I do not know when you were there last, chicagomike, but there have been substantial improvements both along Hollywood Boulevard and in the surrounding area. I would not call it a slum anymore.

The Chinese, while still a revered institution, has had some challenges over the last few years. Take a look at its page here on CT and you will see what I mean.

Finally, the Egyptian really is not what I would call a first run theater; as the home of the American Cinemathéque, it shows a mix of classics, themed retropectives, documentaries, and other films not often seen in commercial theaters, Depending on the day of the week in a particular month, it might be closed.

What I long for is full restoration of the Hollywood Pacific.

chicagomike47 on September 17, 2012 at 1:19 am

probably the best example of how to run a theater properly is the grauman’s chineese theater in hollywood. even tho 90% of hollywood blvd. is a slum with mostly seedy stores, this theater is kept up in excellent condition drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors a year not only to view the footprints of the stars in front of it, but they also show first run, first rate films, which also can be said for the EL CAPITAN theater across the street, and the EGYPTIAN theater down the block.

CSWalczak on September 16, 2012 at 11:39 am

A true chicken-or-the egg question! I am sure that many, if not most of the patrons of the Loop Palaces of the time were just there to see a movie. Based on my experience (I saw quite a number of films in Loop area the late 1960’s and 70’s), the threat of violence was exaggerated, but as they say, perceptions are reality. The Loop theaters, given their proximity to CTA bus and train lines made it easier for the less affluent to have access to a movie theater, as the neighborhood theaters were disappearing in Chicago as they were in other metropolitan areas.

From the theater operators' perspective, these films were what brought people in at the time. During the period in question, parts of the Loop became very downtrodden and there was decreasing foot traffic, as many stores and restaurants were closing and the malls were proliferating in the suburbs. Under such conditions, crime tends to increase, and many Chicagoans who were Loop patrons now went to the suburban theaters both for convenience and due to perceptions of danger. But Chicago was hardly unique with regard to what happened in its central core retail and entertainment area.

In a way, it was fortunate in that in showing some kind of film – any kind of film – the result was that the owners had to do at least some basic maintenance and repair and in doing so, kept the wrecking ball away long enough so that when things got better economically, at least a few palaces were left to restore. The reason that the Oriental and the Chicago survived is at least partially due to what the then-owners did to keep the doors open.

chicagomike47 on September 16, 2012 at 7:20 am

If that’s the case, did the policy change of showing soft porn, kung-fu, horror features ect. invite that element around those theaters,driving away the general patronage, or did they change because of that element?

CSWalczak on September 16, 2012 at 1:15 am

It might be one of the reasons, but not the only or even the most important. The downtown Chicago palaces, like those in many other cities, started their decline as cinemas with the advent of television and the Paramount Consent decree.

With the exception of Michael Todd and Cinestage theaters (which at the end were the Dearborn Cinemas) and perhaps one or two others, none of the really big houses in the Loop went to anything really like soft porn.

Many did go to cheaper horror, kung-fu and exploitation features in the 1960’s and 70’s. But what lead to the demise of so theaters in the Loop was a steep decline of patronage, some of it due to fear of street crime, and a city administration at the time that tended to look at the palaces as desirable parcels of real estate for commercial redevelopment

chicagomike47 on September 16, 2012 at 12:28 am

a lot of people might disagree, but the success of the film LOLITA, which was an excellent film, but had sexual content led the theater and other first rate movie palaces to start showing low budget sexual films, and eventually led to the downfall of the theater palaces of downtown chicago!

Tinseltoes on July 30, 2012 at 10:17 am

Congratulated in this 1971 trade article: Boxoffice

Broan on July 27, 2011 at 8:42 pm

Here is a 1949 view

Tinseltoes on December 16, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Fifty years ago today, Columbia’s “The 3 Worlds of Gulliver,” in Super Dynamation and Eastman Color, made its Chicago debut at the Loop Theatre. Doors opened at 8:45am for what was described as “Nothing Less Than a Miracle in Motion Pictures!”.

DavidZornig on July 28, 2010 at 9:55 am

Strange coincidence. In ken mc’s 1966 photo posted on 4/25/09, the film playing at the Loop is “Dear John”.

KenC on July 28, 2010 at 1:01 am

From the Sun Times movie directory dated Friday,May 7. 1971: The Stewardesses 3D OPEN LETTER TO LOOP THEATRE MANAGER Dear Sir, We saw ‘THE STEWARDESSES’ at the Loop Theatre. WOW! Are all stewardesses like the ones in the movie? (signed) John and Mary Dear John and Mary, I don’t know. I haven’t met every stewardess. Max Milstein, Mgr. Loop Theatre. (Mr. Milstein was a real person-real name. He worked for Balaban & Katz for years; I remember him from the United Artists theatre in the mid 60s. A short guy with glasses and a dry- sometimes wicked- sense of humour. As managers go, a nice guy.)

JRS40 on July 23, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Mike – you’re welcome.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 22, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Great story KenC.

KenC on July 21, 2010 at 12:53 am

Re: the newspaper ads for “VIXEN”– on Fridays, for many weeks during the run, the advice columnist Ann Landers (sister of Dear Abby) was spoofed. One example (not the funniest, but the only one I have): from the Sun Times dated Friday, July 11, 1969- OPEN LETTER TO JANE ANDERS Dear Jane: I run a gas station. I’ve been going steady with the same gal for 20 years, but can’t get up the nerve to propose. Last week she suggested my taking her to see “RUSS MEYER’S VIXEN,” but I turned her down. What do you think? (signed) BASHFUL. Dear Bashful: There is no Fuel like an Old Fuel. —JANE. About a month or two before VIXEN started its run, I remember reading that quite a few guys would buy a ticket and time it so they would enter the theatre JUST to see the trailer for VIXEN- and then leave. If memory serves- admission price of $3.00 for perhaps a two and a half minute trailer? No wonder it was a smash hit.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 20, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Thanks for listing all those movies.

0123456789 on July 20, 2010 at 8:11 pm

This beautiful theatre shouldnt have been torn down.

JRS40 on November 18, 2009 at 1:03 pm

tim – I have seen the ads for THE STEWARDESSES and he actually used that same ad base for Russ Meyer’s VIXEN which played for almost a year there. Sadly I never got to enter the Loop, Carnegie or Cinema though I saw them all from the outside once or twice.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on November 17, 2009 at 3:18 am

JRS40, You’re absolutely right about not everyone being a fan of Mr. Brotman. Even Tom Brueggemanna acknowleged that Brotman was difficult. I worked at the Cinema Theatre for 6 months in 1981. I never got to know Brotman. I only saw him at the Cinema on it’s last day (September 13, 1981). It’s just if you look at the movie ads in the 1960s and 1970s, you will see that Brotman was a true showman. One of my favorite ads was back in October, 1976 when APE opened at the Loop. It had this big splashy full-page ad, boasting about the movie being in 3-D and all the exciting stuff in the movie. The movie was horrible, but it was another example of Brotman’s style. If you ever get a chance, try to get copies of newspaper ads for THE STEWARDESSES in 3-D. These ads are priceless.

JRS40 on November 16, 2009 at 1:10 pm

In my collection of reviews and such that I saved as a kid I have an interview Gene Siskel did with and about Oscar Brotman. Others interviewed were not fans of Brotman’s but admired what he did with the Loop Theater having to compete with the palances all around it. From 1969-71 the Loop was the most profitable of ALL the downtown theaters (an AMAZING feat) and the theater was nicknamed “The Little Giant.”

Tim – the story you tell is included in the article. It also talks about how he had a dolphin in a large fish tank on State Street during the run of FLIPPER and had an usher dressed as a gorilla when they ran the horrible film EQUINOX. For the movie BUCK AND THE PREACHER Brotman created place mats for restaurants all over the city. The studio refused to pay for even part of this so Brotman paid for it himself and the Loop had the highest grosses for BUCK AND THE PREACHER in the entire country. Then the studio came back and begged him to create this mats for other markets and not only paid for it all but reimbursed Brotman for the original batch.