Paradise Theater

231 N. Pulaski Road,
Chicago, IL 60624

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Showing 1 - 25 of 338 comments

Scott on April 3, 2014 at 12:18 pm

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 7:30 pm

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 4:24 pm

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 April 1, 2014 at 4:58 am

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 31, 2014 at 3:02 am

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 5:15 pm

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.

Tinseltoes on September 13, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Tomorrow (9/14) will mark the 85th anniversary of the grand opening of the Paradise, which is my favorite movie palace of any architectural style. God bless her, wherever her dusty remains have blown. She’s truly a Paradise Lost, and she can never be Regained except in memory and photos.

rivest266 on June 26, 2012 at 12:03 pm

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

BobbyS on June 8, 2012 at 6:22 am

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

Tinseltoes on June 2, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Here’s a full page of ads that were used for the original launching of the Paradise in 1928: archive

BobbyS on May 5, 2012 at 6:32 am

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

Brad Smith
Brad Smith on May 5, 2012 at 12:02 am

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

Tinseltoes on April 15, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Like so many other CT listings, STATUS needs to be changed from “Closed” to “Demolished.”

DonLewis on April 15, 2012 at 2:55 am

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

Scott on January 21, 2012 at 4:22 pm

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 4:12 pm

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 21, 2012 at 6:32 am

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 2, 2012 at 5:06 am

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 4:53 pm

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

BobbyS on September 13, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Hear Hear!!!! It was a beauty………

Tinseltoes on September 13, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Tomorrow (9/14) will mark the 83rd anniversary of the grand opening of B&K’s Paradise Theatre. Paramount’s silent Clara Bow starrer, “The Fleet’s In,” occupied the screen, with support from a stage show entitled “A Garden in Paradise” featuring the Ritz Brothers and a resident company with orchestra, soloists, and choristers. The Paradise’s advertising and promotion were targeted not only at residents of Chicago’s West Side, but also the “populous river cities” of Oak Park, Austin, River Forest, Elmhurst, Maywood, Villa Park, and Forest Park. Rest in peace, beloved Paradise, arguably the most awe-inspiring atmospheric theatre ever built.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 4, 2011 at 6:11 pm

To make for an ever changing site, Cinema Treasures now features as a main photograph the one with the most views. At the moment on this page, no one has posted a photograph of the actual Paradise Theatre building.

DavidZornig on July 4, 2011 at 4:16 pm

I believe the way the revamped CT site works is, the last picture posted, is the most recent profile pic. All one need do is download one of the pics buried within older comments, and re-post it above. Because your sample pic was posted within a comment, it remains within the comments only. I think CT should have set it up so that whenever a pic is posted within a comment, it would be automatically added to the Photo section. Also they should have culled all existing photos within older comments, and loaded them in that way.

Tinseltoes on July 4, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Something like this, for example:

BobbyS on July 3, 2011 at 7:22 am

ShawnS, sorry about your mom. Thanks for the photos of a time gone by. Your grandfather must have loved going to work in such an ornate building!