Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental Theatre

24 West Randolph Street,
Chicago, IL 60601

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Showing 1 - 25 of 177 comments

DavidZornig on September 11, 2015 at 3:10 pm

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

DavidZornig on August 19, 2015 at 2:03 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 4:57 pm

February 1943 photo added via Kenneth McIntyre.

DavidZornig on May 23, 2014 at 1:56 pm

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

rivest266 on March 5, 2014 at 4:56 pm

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

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on June 4, 2013 at 3:18 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 4:16 pm

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

DavidZornig on October 3, 2012 at 3:44 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 3:41 pm

It works when I clicked upon it.

DavidZornig on October 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm

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

chicagomike47 on September 9, 2012 at 9:19 pm

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 6:59 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 3:58 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 2:41 pm

Here is a nice overall view of the building

Broan on August 6, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Here is a view of the ornament.

Broan on July 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm 1964 view

DavidZornig on July 7, 2011 at 3:01 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.

jwballer on February 9, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Heres a photo of the organ
View link

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on January 11, 2011 at 2:06 pm

I wonder if some of those old kung-fu movies are on DVD. I’ve always been curious about them.

JudithK on January 8, 2011 at 7:14 am

I hope so, too (ghosts not invited – ha!).

DavidZornig on January 8, 2011 at 7:06 am

Well this must be a first.
This February The Oriental will be hosting the upcoming Chicago mayoral debates and telecasting them live on ABC Channel 7.

It will be interesting to see if they do any exterior or interior panoramic shots to showcase the theatre.
Someone needs to snap a pic of the marquee advertising this event if they do so.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on January 3, 2011 at 10:26 pm

The Oriental presented its final kung-fu triple on this date, 30 years ago, and closed its doors. The theatre finally re-opened in 1998 as a live stage venue.

JudithK on December 24, 2010 at 11:47 am

Yes, that must be it. I have never been at the Limelight/Excalibur either for the same reason.

DavidZornig on December 24, 2010 at 8:03 am

There is a local group that offers Haunted Chicago tours of some sort. Might even be called that.
I know that the former Iroquois site & the original Chicago Historical Society (later Limelight/now Excalibur), is on their tour. The latter being where bodies were brought after the Eastland disaster.

JudithK on December 23, 2010 at 8:38 pm

When the open house was held after the rehab in the 1990s attendees were not allowed backstage or in the orchestra pit (we were allowed in most of the public areas), so I can’t add anything about it.

Concerning hauntings, or “hauntings” at the Oriental Theatre/Ford Center for the Performing Arts, usually a news piece or radio spot will pop up about the alleyway in back of the Theatre being the spot of ghostly activity over the years (they usually are broadcast or written about around Halloween). You may wish to check the archives of the Chicago Tribune or Chicago Sun-Times on that story.

The stories are good enough for me – I stay out of that alleyway just in case.