Loop Theater

165 N. State Street,
Chicago, IL 60601

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DavidZornig on October 4, 2017 at 2:07 pm

Flickr link with a 1964 postcard. (April `63 image) “Mondo Cane” at the Loop.


GintGotham on February 9, 2017 at 9:17 pm

My mother took me to the Telenews prior to the Chicago or the Oriental when I was 5 years old. (They didn’t send me to kindergarten.) That’s where I saw my first teletype machine; and my first tv set (although there was nothing on at the time). That’s where I saw the Empire State Building crash; where I learned how to stand during the National Anthem; and where I got to see FDR declaring war. When I was at Northwestern, I went there (The Loop Theatre) and saw After Mein Kampf. It was a nudie documentary. And then in 1967, I took my new wife there to see the Graduate, with Dustin Hoffman. That theatre—inside a taxpayer—was one, classy place.

rivest266 on November 11, 2016 at 12:10 am

December 23rd, 1939 grand opening ad as Telenews and April 8th, 1950 ad as Loop can be found in the photo section.

DavidZornig on April 26, 2016 at 6:46 am

May 1965 photo added.

DavidZornig on March 3, 2016 at 5:45 pm

History of the Telenews via WTTW.


Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on January 8, 2016 at 5:47 pm

STRAIGHT TIME is on TCM tonight. 12:30 a.m. central time. 1:30 a.m. eastern time.

DavidZornig on January 8, 2016 at 5:40 pm

Photo added to Photos Section. Photo credit John P. Keating Jr. The final film to ever play the Loop Theater. “Straight Time” opened 03/17/78 and closed as did the theater on 04/02/78.

LouRugani on October 16, 2015 at 2:19 pm

It was exactly sixty years ago this afternoon that Anton Schuessler, Jr., John Schuessler and Robert Peterson saw “The African Lion” at the LOOP Theatre.

okcray on June 10, 2015 at 11:50 pm

I remember they brought the “Open Letter to Jane Anders” ad campaign back when the adult CINDERELLA appeared at the Loop during the summer of 1977. If I remember correctly, one of the “letters” was from a woman who was unhappy with her banker husband because he spent too much time wrapped up in work and would not take her to the Loop Theater to see CINDERELLA. Jane Anders' response: “Tell him to leave you a loan.”

DavidZornig on March 23, 2015 at 7:47 am

Below link has photos from a 1940 dual premiere at the Chicago and State-Lake Theatres. One photo of the TeleNews, which I added to the Loop’s Photos Section. I added the link to the Chicago and State-Lake CT pages too. Copy & paste to view.


Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 23, 2015 at 1:13 am

Here are a few paragraphs about the Telenews Theatre from the January 5, 1940, issue of The Film Daily:


“Chicago — Latest advances in motion picture theater equipment are incorporated in the new Telenews Theater recently opened here by its owners and operators, Midwest News Reel Theaters, of which Herbert Scheftel of New York City is president.

“House has RCA sound, Simplex projectors, and American Seating Co.’s Bodiform chairs. Approximately 400 of the latter are installed on the main floor of the auditorium, and 200 in the balcony.

“A Westinghouse air conditioning system is used, Perey turnstiles, and Stanley Bigelow carpets supplied by Marshall Field Co.

“The theater has a unique front and marquee, White Way Co. lighting, plus clear cut screen effect and excellent acoustics.

“Marshall Field supplied the furnishings for the rest rooms. Equipment contract was executed by National theater Supply.

“Shaw, Naess and Murphy were architects.”

The first Telenews Theatre opened in San Francisco on September 1, 1939, just in time to show newsreels of the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany. The timing helped make the theater a tremendous success, and the company rapidly expanded to other cities. Not surprisingly newsreel theaters flourished during the war and early post-war years, but went into decline with the arrival of television, which could bring breaking news into people’s homes. Still, a handful of newsreel houses hung on into the 1960s, usually by pairing newsreels with feature-length documentaries.

Charles F. Murphy, who had no formal training in architecture, founded the firm of Shaw, Naess & Murphy with architects Alfred P. Shaw and Sigurd Naess in 1937. Murphy had previously been personal secretary to architect Ernest Graham, of the firm of Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, successors to D. H. Burnham & Company. Shaw and Naess had also been with the firm, Shaw having been a junior partner since 1929.

DavidZornig on May 23, 2014 at 1:53 pm

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


DavidZornig on March 20, 2014 at 7:31 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 10:06 am

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 1, 2013 at 10:51 pm

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

chicagomike47 on September 17, 2012 at 10:45 am

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 16, 2012 at 11:18 pm

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 16, 2012 at 10:19 pm

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 8:39 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 4:20 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 15, 2012 at 10:15 pm

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 15, 2012 at 9:28 pm

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!

Broan on July 27, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Here is a 1949 view

DavidZornig on July 28, 2010 at 6:55 am

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