Paradise Theater

231 N. Pulaski Road,
Chicago, IL 60624

Unfavorite 39 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 336 comments

Scott on January 26, 2015 at 3:01 pm

I notice that the main entrance to the strip mall at the SE corner of Pulaski and Madison has the word “PARADISE” in large letters above the doors.

BobbyS on December 1, 2014 at 10:07 pm

A “For Sale” sign now sits on the site of the Paradise. If you google earth, I believe you will see as I do the lobby marble glazed floors among the grass that has grown with it. The grocery store used the tiles I believe. Enlarge the photo. I recently visited the Avalon Theater in Chicago during an “Open House Chicago” and walked on the floor of the lobby. It did remind me of the Paradise in many ways. It was a great feeling and brought sadness that the Paradise was gone forever. I wonder if the lower lobby is still there intact since the floor remains. Sorta like the Titanic.

Scott on July 11, 2014 at 9:24 am

Bobby, thanks for posting that. Interesting that they went with orange lighting. Would loved to have seen the original marquee in color.

BobbyS on July 9, 2014 at 9:48 pm

I did it Scott. Posted photo at night. Would have liked to made it larger. Wish someone had a night view of the Marbro..

BobbyS on July 4, 2014 at 8:40 am


Scott on July 3, 2014 at 11:19 am

Bobby, I was really excited about this photo since it’s the first one I’ve seen that really shows the box office in any detail. I suspect that the original, and larger, marquee cast a shadow that made the box office hard to see. In addition, this photo appears to have been taken a little closer to the building. Incidentally, that was me who theorized that the Crawford Theatre photo is from 1947. And you are correct, the original Paradise vertical is visible in the Crawford photo, so it was replaced sometime between 1947 and 1956. Probably closer to 1947, but I really don’t know. The later vertical is the only one I remember seeing as a youth. I wondered about the “free parking” as well. I know there were some surface lots in the area, but I’m not sure which one the sign refers to. The bit about the “2 BIG HITS ON EVERY PROGRAM” was there for a while, as I’ve seen it in a photo taken a year or two before the one I uploaded was taken. Since by this time the Marbro had become the theater of choice in the neighborhood, B&K probably booked lesser quality features at the Paradise. I also think that the lettering right under the marquee that says “IT’S SHOW TIME WITH THE PICK OF THE PICTURES“ remained there for some time as well.

I hope you can post your photo. Would certainly like to see it.

BobbyS on July 2, 2014 at 10:19 pm

Wonderful pictures Scott !!!! I forgot how detailed the box office was. You would think somebody would have saved it for their home or back yard instead of the wrecking ball. I have a few questions. If the recent marquee is pictured and is from 1941, the original vertical from 1929 is still there. What year did the last vertical appear? In the Crawford theater posting, someone thought the year was 1947. If that is true, the Paradise had the original vertical still being used in that year. Means the newer block lettering only lived about 9 years. Is that possible? The Marbro got the new signage also in 1941, but both signs. Where was the free parking lot? I have almost the same photo in color at night. I will try and scan & post it if I can. I wonder how long “2 BIG HITS” remained on the marquee. Was this a cost-cutting measure or maybe the films were not that interesting.

Scott on June 21, 2014 at 4:28 pm

I have also added two close ups. One of the box office and one of the box office with a poster case. I lightened up the contrast on the box office to make it more visible. It’s the only good image I’ve seen of it.

Scott on June 21, 2014 at 4:14 pm

I have uploaded an interesting photo of the Paradise from 1941. Shows the exterior with a good view of the box office. If you enlarge it you’ll see pretty good detail.

Scott on April 3, 2014 at 4:18 am

Bobby, I saw the Chicago endangered list. I will be truly amazed if the Uptown is ever re-opened. I think its location really works against it.

BobbyS on April 2, 2014 at 11:30 am

Scott,negotiations must have occurred between the two parties both businessmen with plenty of capital behind them and probably egos got in the way. Having the most beautiful movie palace with all the dimes & nickels rolling in was hard to pass up..It is still amazing to me with all the business savvy around no one could see the Great Depression around the corner. The endangered list I gave was Illinois. Just annouhnced yesterday the Chicago endangered top ten came out and the Uptown theatre is back on it…It stated the crumpling condition and the lack of potential investors. Sad..

Scott on April 2, 2014 at 8:24 am

Bobby, maybe we’ll never know whether B&K tried to buy the Marbro. That would seem to have been the sensible move, since there was no way that the area could support two giant movie palaces along with all the smaller theatres. Even in the 1920s that wouldn’t have worked; at least not from my perspective. One of those theatres was destined to be a money loser, and it turned out to be the Paradise.

BobbyS on March 31, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Thanks Scott, All this in only 26 years. WOW ! Didn’t anyone realize that the habits of the paying public would change? Didn’t anyone see how a new machine called television could change profits forever? It was a frenzy to see who could build a bigger more ornate movie palace. You would think B&K would have tried to buy out the Marks Bros. before they spent a dime or in this case millions to build the Paradise. I am glad they didn’t for I enjoyed both of them very very much and miss them both.

Scott on March 30, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Yes, here’s the story as I recall it. The Guyon family owned the land that the Paradise eventually was built on. In the early stages of the Paradise project there was a fight between Guyon and the Marks Brothers over who held the rights to name their theatre “Paradise.” Guyon won the lawsuit, which of course resulted in the Marks Brothers naming their theatre “Marbro.” Unfortunately for Guyon, however, the recent construction and opening of his hotel impeded his ability to fund the Paradise project, causing him to sell the Paradise to the Cooney Brothers. The Paradise project was also too much for the Cooney Brothers. They went bankrupt, subsequently selling the Paradise, which was only in the early stages of development, to Balaban & Katz. The bigger budget that B&K brought to the table allowed Eberson to improve his design. Obviously B&K were determined to squash the Marks Brothers, which they ultimately did. B&K purchased the Marbro around 1930 I believe. So the land the Paradise sat on went from Guyon to the Cooney Brothers to B&K, and then to the company that developed the grocery store.

BobbyS on March 13, 2014 at 10:15 am

A few days ago the Chicago Tribune announced the 5 buildings that were endangered. It included the Jeffery theatre and the Guyon hotel. It stated the owner also owned the Paradise Ballroom. I bet he also owned the land that the Paradise Theatre was built on. Wasn’t B&K the third group that built the Paradise? They must have eventually bought the land because they sold it or maybe leased it to the ill-fated grocery store that replaced the beautiful building.

rivest266 on June 26, 2012 at 4:03 am

Grand opening ad from September 14th, 1928 uploaded in the photo section.

BobbyS on June 7, 2012 at 10:22 pm

Thanks Tinseltoes for the ads..Very very interesting to read.

BobbyS on May 4, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Thanks Brad. Beautiful picture of the Paradise signage. Also wonderful photos of many forgotten theaters.

Brad Smith
Brad Smith on May 4, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Click here for an exterior view of the Paradise Theatre in 1930.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on April 14, 2012 at 6:55 pm

From 1929 a photo postcard image of the Paradise Theater in Chicago.

Scott on January 21, 2012 at 8:22 am

Bobby, yes it is hard to believe that this theatre once sat on the site. I wish there were more pictures of the area available today.

BobbyS on January 21, 2012 at 8:12 am

Paradise, Wonderful view of the Paradise. Seems unreal a plain lot sits there today. This building looks like it belongs in Europe.

Scott on January 20, 2012 at 10:32 pm

I have uploaded a rarely seen photo of the Paradise, probably taken during the last month of its operation, which was May, 1956. The marquee shows George Gobel and Mitzi Gaynor starring in “The Birds and the Bees.” Though the exterior was now blackened by the coal dust from a nearby railyard, the interior was still virtually pristine.

JohnMLauter on January 1, 2012 at 9:06 pm

The resident orchestra of any movie palace was just that, they had no civic affiliation, it was a work-a-day job, and a good paying one at that.

ShawnS on September 14, 2011 at 8:53 am

My grandfather was also a concert violinist and his primary business with the music shop was concert level music lessons, at the time the Paradise was finished and he moved his shop from Elmhurst (was called McGovern music studio before the theater was finished) his health was declining from serving in battle with the army band in WWI and being exposed to mustard gas, I don’t believe he was playing at this point anymore himself but he also was the owner/director of the Civic Philharmonic Orchestra, while I don’t have any proof of at this point but I highly suspect they were the resident orchestra for the theater