Cadillac Palace Theatre

151 West Randolph Street,
Chicago, IL 60601

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Palace Theatre Back Wall/Ghots Sign. Photo credit: Steve Kraus

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened in October of 1926, as the New Palace Theatre (there was already a Palace Music Hall located at Clark Street and Randolph Street which was later renamed the Erlanger Theatre), and was designed by Rapp & Rapp. Its interior design is similar in vein to the Los Angeles Theater – a French Renaissance style beauty inspired by Versailles. The New Palace Theatre was originally opened as the flagship of the Orpheum vaudeville circuit (the State Lake Theatre, also in the Loop, was another one of the Orpheum circuit’s vaudeville palaces in Chicago). After showcasing dozens of big-name stars during the late-1920’s, the theatre was converted into a movie palace in 1931 as the RKO Palace Theatre.

In the 1950’s, attendance began to wane, at what was by then called Eitel’s Palace Theatre and live shows were re-introduced to the repertoire. During the late-1950’s, the Palace was altered to show Cinerama films. The neighboring Bismarck Hotel purchased the theater in the 1970’s and the auditorium was converted into a banquet hall by removing the seats on the orchestra level. In 1984, the theatre, now renamed the Bismarck Theatre, was converted into a concert venue.

Barely used during the 1990’s, the former New Palace Theatre was finally restored and renovated during 1999, and renamed the Cadillac Palace Theatre thanks to a large donation by the company towards the theater’s spectacular restoration. The renovated theatre was reopened during the fall of 1999, with the premier of Elton John and Tim Rice’s “Aida”. The renovation has made true the name of the ‘Palace’.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 86 comments)

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on December 8, 2009 at 1:21 pm

I’m looking at a June 3rd, 1965 Chicago Daily News that lists it’s name as only the “Palace Theatre, Randolph at LaSalle”. “My Fair Lady” is the film.So maybe “Palace” should be added as one of it’s former names.

nyindieguy
nyindieguy on September 19, 2010 at 4:58 pm

I recall seeing “How the West Was Won” in Cinerama at this theater,and I believe the name of the theater was McVicker’s Cinerama at the time. Am I imagining this?

Broan
Broan on September 19, 2010 at 5:55 pm

The McVickers was a different theatre that did show Cinerama, including How The West Was Won

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on September 19, 2010 at 7:16 pm

Michael Coate has done a lot of research on CINERAMA theaters and CINERAMA films. Here are his results on Eitel’s Palace. Thanks Michael.

PLEASE NOTICE HOW MANY WEEKS THESE CINERAMA FILMS PLAYED!

THIS IS CINERAMA, July 29, 1953, 98 Weeks, 3-Strip CINERAMA

CINERAMA HOLIDAY, June 15, 1955, 78 Weeks, 3-Strip CINERAMA

SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD, December 12, 1956, 70 Weeks, 3-Strip CINERAMA

SEARCH FOR PARADISE, April 16, 1958, 22 Weeks, 3-Strip CINERAMA

SOUTH SEAS ADVENTURE, September 18, 1958, 59 Weeks, 3-Strip CINERAMA

THIS IS CINERAMA, (Return Engagement) June 28, 1961, 14 Weeks, 3-Strip CINERAMA

SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD, (Return Engagement) October 4, 1961, 15 Weeks, 3-Strip CINERAMA

CINERAMA HOLIDAY, (Return Engagement) January 17, 1962, 11 Weeks, 3-Strip CINERAMA

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on September 28, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Just caught an old matchbook cover of the Bismarck on Craigslist. The Swiss Chalet was the restaurant just East & connected to the lobby of the the theater/building. It appeared their own sign was mounted on the East end of the Bismarck overhang.

LouisRugani
LouisRugani on October 10, 2010 at 9:59 am

Boy Kisses Girl, Then Kills Her

‘Sealed Lips’ on Screen As Youth Chooses Theater for Shooting

CHICAGO. Feb 25, 1942 â€"APâ€" A 17- year-old former high school student was seized in surburban Berwyn today and confessed, Coroner A. L. Brodie announced, that he kissed pretty Dorothy Broz, his 16-year-old companion, and then shot her to death while they sat in the downtown Palace Theater.
The youth, Clarence McDonald, a railroad employee, was seized on information supplied by the victim’s friend, Miss Elaine Mastney, 17, a senior in the Morton High School.
She told authorities that Dorothy said Clarence was inordinately
jealous, and had said: “If I can’t have you, nobody else will.”

‘IT JUST HAPPENED’

Some 12 hours after the shooting late yesterday in the theater balcony where “Hellzapoppin” and “Sealed Lips” were being shown,
the youth made a statement to the attorney Leslie Curtis. “I don’t know — it just happened,“ he was quoted as saying. "Was there any conversation before you shot her?” the boy was asked. “No,” he replied, “I was kissing her.”

GOING TOGETHER

Young McDonald said he had been going with Dorothy for about two years, that they had talked of marriage, but later decided “to wait four years “until she was a little older.“ He admitted the officials said, that on a former occasion he had drawn a pistol on the girl while they were in an ice cream parlor, but that he was just "fooling."
Prior to making the statement, the youth told the coroner that he and his victim had quarreled about trivial things — baseball, football and school affairs.
The clue was obtained shortly after the identification of Dorothy's
body in the morgue where it had lain among the unknown dead for almost 11 hours after the shooting.
Identification was made by an uncle who said Dorothy, also of Berwyn,
was the daughter of a real estate man and that she had finished high school this month.
Police had obtained only a vague description of the youth who stepped across Dorothy’s bleeding body, sprinted up an aisle and escaped in the dark and confusion of the theater.
Noisy with pistol shots and girlish screams, “Hellzapoppin' had finished and a companion picture, "Sealed Lips.” had started building its mystery plot.
In the nearly empty balcony, Dorothy was sitting with a young man. Suddenly she cried “Help, oh help me! He’s got a gun!” Those nearby heard her but associated her cry with the antics in the picture just ended. A scene in the crime feature, a fight in a prison mess hall, had the sound of amplified roaring as a perfect cover for the shot that followed by a few seconds. “Oh, get that man! I’m shot, I’m shot!” Dorothy screamed, then collapsed in an aisle, a bullet beneath her heart.

Brad Smith
Brad Smith on February 19, 2011 at 11:46 am

Here’s a photograph of the Palace Theatre taken in 1936 and another photograph taken in 1937 by George Mann of the comedy dance team, Barto and Mann.

JudithK
JudithK on February 16, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Never visited the Palace Theatre until it reopened as the Cadillac Palace Theatre for the show “The Producers”. Wonderful place!

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