Today Theater

62 W. Madison Street,
Chicago, IL 60602

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Today Theater

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The 327-seat Today Theater, which opened in 1941 on Madison Street near Dearborn Street, was the second theater in the Loop that featured a mostly newsreel format. The first Loop theater to do this was the Loop Theater, originally called the Telenews.

During the Today Theater’s last years, it showed adult films. Visitors to the Today Theater often went to the Forum Cafeteria — a two-level Streamline Moderne delight that was next door and was razed in the early-1980’s at the same time as the Today Theater. The site of the theater is now 3 First National Plaza.

Contributed by John Keating, Ray Martinez

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

BenCybulski
BenCybulski on March 11, 2004 at 8:38 pm

The Forum –“Serving the Best in Foods” (motto)

Broan
Broan on May 4, 2005 at 4:08 am

The book “Chicago’s Loop” claims that the Castle theatre on State was the first newsreel theatre in chicago, beginning in 1932

KenC
KenC on August 11, 2006 at 2:04 am

In the book “THEN & NOW”-CHICAGO’S LOOP" by Janice A. Knox, there is a nice shot of the Today theatre- circa 1960- on page 69. ONE HOUR PROGRAM LATE NEWS on the marquee. Just west of the theatre is the great Forum Cafeteria, which was wildly popular. On page 94, there is a shot of Madison and Dearborn -circa 1960- looking west.There is another picture (very small) of the Today.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 12, 2009 at 2:40 am

Here is a June 1973 article in the Harrisonburg (VA) Daily News Record:

Some adult movie houses and book stores closed their doors Friday or planned to change their fare in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling apparently giving police more leeway to get tough with pornography peddlers. “Closed due to uncertainty of court decision. Open when situation more stable,” read a sign on the door of the Adult Movie Arcade in downtown Louisville, Ky.

Don’s Playland a block away decided on a closeout sale. “Due to the most recent ruling by the Supreme Court, we are liquidating all stock — 50 per cent off.“ Owner Don Marsh prophesied the ruling would drive pornography back underground. He called the decision a "rape of the Constitution.” Other newsstands and bookstores displayed signs saying closed “for inventory.”

Most pornography peddlers agreed the industry was in trouble and some film houses planned to change their tastes as a result. “The law is the law. We have to abide by what they say,” said Paul Jones, manager of Today, an X-rated theater in Chicago. “We’ll just have to go to something else. We’ll go to the films with less sex and black films.”

Joseph Boardman, advertising manager of the underground newspaper, the Los Angeles Free Press, said he alerted his sales staff that “there’s a good chance we’ll be changing our advertising policy drastically in light of the Supreme Court ruling.” “If they (the police) start hasseling us …we’ll take the nudies out…”

vicboda
vicboda on October 5, 2009 at 5:53 pm

I kind of discovered this theater by chance. They never ran ads in the newspapers.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on June 26, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Here’s a 1941 trade article on the grand opening of the Today Newsreel Theatre: boxofficemagazine

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on June 26, 2012 at 4:10 pm

The compact auditorium was also featured in this 1941 trade ad: boxofficemagazine

dtrigubetz
dtrigubetz on September 17, 2012 at 5:44 am

Around 1969 a friend and I saw a couple of soft-core movies at the TODAY. The posted minimum age was 17 or 18 and my friend, an ex-Navy veteran of 28, could not believe he was carded!

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on May 23, 2014 at 9:57 pm

The Today is seen at 3:38 in this Vivian Maier film.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXASDjCwxsE&feature=youtu.be

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