Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental Theatre

24 W. Randolph Street,
Chicago, IL 60601

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Showing 1 - 25 of 185 comments

DavidZornig on June 7, 2017 at 8:38 pm

5/15/64 -6/04/64 photo added credit Saul Smaizys.

sam siklas
sam siklas on March 8, 2017 at 10:54 pm

There are elements in this theater’s auditorium design which are suggestive of the sadly demolished Ambassador Theater in St. Louis. One key difference between the two was the Ambassador’s unique use of silver leaf instead of gold. There are good photos here in Cinema Treasures' page on the Ambassador for comparison.

DavidZornig on November 12, 2016 at 8:39 pm

1955 photo added courtesy of Jim Jasiota‎. Giant Marilyn Monroe image on the marquee, for “The Seven Year Itch”.

RickB on August 9, 2016 at 6:01 pm

This 1980 story says that Kohlberg was the operator that was evicted to effect the 1981 closing. The owners of the building had plans to convert the two lower floors to retail and build a 1600-seat theater above them; obviously that never happened.

From my memory M&R was running the Oriental when I got to Chicago in 1976.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on August 9, 2016 at 2:24 pm

I think the last chain to run the Oriental was M&R, rather than Kohlberg. But I wouldn’t swear to it.

RickB on April 30, 2016 at 11:19 am

Upper floors of the theater building set to become a 198-room hotel, opening in September 2017. DNAInfo story here.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on January 10, 2016 at 12:52 pm

I believe the actual closing date was Sunday, January 4, 1981.

DavidZornig on January 4, 2016 at 10:38 pm

To CT Admins. The closing date in the Overview should be changed to January 3, 1981 from 1980. Below is a January 2nd 1981 Tribune link, with it’s final film appearing in the ads. Information courtesy of Tim O'Neill.

DavidZornig on September 11, 2015 at 6:10 pm

Two 1950 photos added, photo source Chicago-Photographic Images of Change Collection-University of Illinois at Chicago.

DavidZornig on August 19, 2015 at 5:03 pm

11/21/69-12/04/69 photo added courtesy of Darla Zailskas. The X rated “Fanny Hill” ran until Christmas Eve `69, and had been raided at the end of November. Tribune story below. Copy and paste to view.

DavidZornig on July 15, 2015 at 7:57 pm

February 1943 photo added via Kenneth McIntyre.

DavidZornig on May 23, 2014 at 4:56 pm

The Oriental is seen at 4:51 in this Vivian Maier film.

rivest266 on March 5, 2014 at 7:56 pm

May 8th, 1926 grand opening ad in photo section.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on June 4, 2013 at 6:18 am

Today (June 4) marks the 35th Anniversary of the fire that broke out in the lobby area of the balcony. So ironic that a fire would break out nearly 75 years after the Iroquois Theatre disaster happened at the same location.

Broan on October 3, 2012 at 7:16 pm

When I clicked it, it didn’t work, but displayed after I refreshed it.

DavidZornig on October 3, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Hmmm. I’m still getting “Image cannot be displayed because it contains errors” in faint lettering at the top.

CSWalczak on October 3, 2012 at 6:41 pm

It works when I clicked upon it.

DavidZornig on October 3, 2012 at 6:08 pm

btkreft, there is no photo on that link. Just a grey background.

chicagomike47 on September 10, 2012 at 12:19 am

i saw the world premeire of ‘PARIS HOLIDAY’ in 1958 and saw BOB HOPE IN PERSON at the oriental theater

DAL on May 8, 2012 at 9:59 am

Longtime Oriental Theatre manager Mickey Gold, who ran the place for the last 30+ years as a movie theatre, shared great stories about his work lunches with some of the stage performers (big band leaders and The Three Stooges, for example).

justinterested on December 18, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I can recall seeing one of the last combination stage/movie performances at the Oriental. Can’t remember the year but i do remember the star singing on the stage was a man named Don Cherry.

Broan on August 6, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Here is a nice overall view of the building

Broan on August 6, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Here is a view of the ornament.

Broan on July 27, 2011 at 8:24 pm 1964 view

DavidZornig on July 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Thanks for posting that picture btkrefft. My father worked as a musician at the Sherman House Hotel in the background, right around this same time after WWII. First as a trombone player, then on upright bass after big band faded out. He played in the Del Rainy Trio, and once played with Stan Kenton. He met my mom in 1954. She was a showgirl at the Silver Frolics at Kinzie & Wabash. He later went on to compose the Miller High Life theme, which got his foot in the door of Chicago industrial film.