Pickwick Theatre

5 S. Prospect Avenue,
Park Ridge, IL 60068

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As seen in The American Architect, December 1929

Designed by the firm of Zook & McCaughey, the 1,500-seat, Pickwick Theatre began life in 1928 as a vaudeville and movie house.

In 1975, the theatre was named to the National Register of Historic Places, insuring its preservation as a cinema treasure. But it did not reach true acclaim until the theatre’s facade was used as the backdrop for the opening sequence of Siskel and Ebert’s “At the Movies” in the 1980’s.

In 1990, three smaller screens were added to the rear of the Pickwick Theatre, enhancing the theatre’s commercial prospects without endangering the original auditorium.

During 2007, the Bog Theatre company, which was formerly housed in the Masonic Temple building in downtown Des Plaines, presented live theatrical productions at the Pickwick Theatre. The Pickwick Theatre also hosts other occasional live entertainment and special events.

In 2012, the marquee was repainted in black & white, with some red, to return it to its original colors. Further renovations were completed in October 2012 which returned the original auditorium it to its Art Deco style splendour. The main auditorium now has a reduced capacity of 1,000, with wider new seats. Seating capacities in the three smaller additional auditoriums are now 160, 96 and 220. In 2017 a fifth screen was added.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 58 comments)

Mister_Comics
Mister_Comics on January 14, 2013 at 8:04 am

Is that a blimp mooring on top of the building? It sure looks like one.

Broan
Broan on August 27, 2017 at 12:48 pm

Now 5 screens. http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/park-ridge/news/ct-prh-pickwick-new-theater-tl-0831-20170825-story.html

Khnemu
Khnemu on February 26, 2018 at 12:21 pm

A new “mega screen” and laser projection are being considered by the Vlahakis family which owns the Pickwick for the main/original auditorium as part of the theater’s 90th anniversary this year, according to this article from the Journal:

https://www.journal-topics.com/articles/changes-planned-for-pickwicks-anniversary-year/

Khnemu
Khnemu on February 26, 2018 at 1:18 pm

Dino Vlahakis, the owner, mentions in the same article copied above, that the current seating for the main auditorium is 915. With the other four screens, including the new 39 seat auditorium added a few months back, the total seating for the Pickwick is 1430.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on February 27, 2018 at 7:46 am

In a Facebook thread about the same article, it was noted that 6 other Illinois theatres already have laser projection.

BobbyS
BobbyS on May 3, 2018 at 12:02 pm

My favorite place to see a film. Matt’s classic film series once a month is a must for movie lovers. His comments about the movie are a must and adds to the knowledge of the movie. Jay Warren’s prelude on the pipe organ before the film is a wonderful touch!!! Bravo Pickwick!!

Khnemu
Khnemu on September 21, 2018 at 4:41 pm

The marquee of the Pickwick has been repainted once again, this time to supposedly come closer to the original color scheme by Alfonso Ianelli.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/park-ridge/news/ct-prh-pickwick-marquee-painted-tl-0816-story.html

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on September 21, 2018 at 6:58 pm

the marquee pictured in the linked article looks beautiful!

Khnemu
Khnemu on September 22, 2018 at 10:24 am

I think so too, it looks way better than the generic white with red trim I remember it mostly looking like growing up in Park Ridge in the 80s and 90s.

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