Pickwick Theatre

5 S. Prospect Avenue,
Park Ridge, IL 60068

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Pickwick Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

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 51 comments)

rivest266 on June 23, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Grand opening ad posted in the photo section for this theatre.

Broan on July 10, 2012 at 9:34 pm

I uploaded a few early photographs. You can clearly see at least three shades of gray, and no white whatsoever (comparing to the white of the changeable letters.) So if there’s white, it can’t be the original scheme. It would have been simple to do some sampling and map the colors using these B&W photos, but that opportunity is now gone.

On the exterior, Iannelli did the marquee (just look at the faces) and the art glass window, and likely worked closely with Zook & McCaughey throughout the process. Not sure if he did the starburst fan additions to the marquee.

Broan on July 10, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Added a photo of the detail in primer coat. The detail is much, much more legible now, but again it should be the correct colors. The primer coat illustrates well that this is meant to be a darker color, not white.

clark7811 on July 29, 2012 at 9:31 pm

BROAN; Tell me more about the original seats. When were they replaced? Was it the 1948 reference? Where can I find more information and pictures? This was my childhood theater…

Broan on August 12, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Added a picture of the original seats. Yes I believe they were replaced in 1948.

Here is a 1949 picture featuring the original teaser curtain.

clark7811 on August 14, 2012 at 1:55 am

To: BROAN, where do I find the photo of the seats?

Broan on August 14, 2012 at 1:57 am

The photos tab – http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/302/photos/52019

Mister_Comics on January 14, 2013 at 4:04 pm

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

Broan on August 27, 2017 at 8:48 pm

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

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