Calo Theatre

5404 N. Clark Street,
Chicago, IL 60640

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Showing 1 - 25 of 53 comments

DavidZornig on December 7, 2015 at 4:40 am

Recent Edgeville Buzz article about the Calo Theatre. Mentions building designer George H. Borst again, who coincidentally was also involved in building The Elms hotel on Elm near State Parkway. Which housed many of the stage crews for the downtown live theaters in the 70's &80’s. The crews were always late night regulars when in town, at my late friend’s nearby tavern, the Hotsie Totsie Yacht Club & Bait Shop on Division. I got too meet many stars back then as a result. Yul Brynner, Sammy Davis Jr. etc. As the crew would sneak them in late at night.

Broan on October 18, 2015 at 2:26 pm

Opened November 20, 1915

CrustyB on January 9, 2014 at 9:06 am

The Calo was where cop-killer Gus Amadeo was watching his last movie before being ambushed & killed by Det. Frank Pape back in the 50s. You can read about it here:

Broan on July 12, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Here is a nice photo of the Calo as a bowling alley.

mbss on March 10, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Teddy’s comment above is almost correct. Reflections Theater, founded by Michael Ryczek, was in the Calo for several years (80s/90s). I was on the advisory board, did the graphics for the programs and marketing, ran a children’s theater program there for a time, and ran lighting too—as well as anything else that no one else had time to do. We were a happy group, but not terribly business-minded sadly. The theatre’s triumph was probably a fine production of Lanford Wilson’s Talley Trilogy.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 2, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Front looks so small.

TLSLOEWS on March 2, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Great interior photos posted by supercharger96.

0123456789 on July 22, 2010 at 11:17 am

They should do something about that plaster so that no on e gets hurt.

Bing00 on February 28, 2010 at 4:20 pm

So, WHY don’t they refurbish all those lights???

gmcalpin on August 13, 2009 at 12:00 pm

This is not exactly a photo, but the Calo Theatre recently made a cameo appearance in my webcomic, Multiplex:

(The next strip, #377, shows a bit of the interior, as well.)

teddy666 on June 16, 2009 at 1:33 pm

Maybe I missed it somewhere on these postings, but what was ‘Reflections Theater’ when it inhabited the Calo? Was it an adult theater at some point?

DavidZornig on April 14, 2009 at 10:25 pm

Thanks for posting that BW. It’s nice to know that even in it’s current thrift store use, they returned the entrance area to a little more as/like original.

Jackbruchert on March 25, 2009 at 4:54 pm

Hi everyone! I forgot to mention that the Calo has a sister
theatre “The Portage Park” that was opened by the Ascher Brothers
in 1920. The Portage is larger, but is simuler to the Calo.
Thanks, Jack, the “mechanic”

Jackbruchert on March 20, 2009 at 9:53 am

Hi everyone! I worked at the Calo Theatre from 1954 to 1957. I was
a young teenager. I was there when they installed the Cinemascope
screen. It was reopened by Ray Geraci and Harry Goldsmith. The
Motiograph projectors were rebuilt at this time. The theatre was opened in 1915 as a vauldville house. There was still a full size
stage and a dressing room underneath it when I worked there. They
would have adult and and kid raffles. The stores in the area would
donate the prizes. I would get stuck running the raffle. You could
speak in a normal voice and everyone would hear you. In a room next
to the projection booth is where the organ pipes were.Pipes were
long gone when I was there. The wall was covered by a cheesecloth
type material for the sound to pass through.The admission prices
were Early Bird $.50, $.75 at show time, and $.25 for kids.
I learned how to run the projectors there. I joined the Air Force
1n 1957. I had a part time job running the projectors at the base
thestre. I also worked at the Patio Theatre in Chicago as a part
time projectionst for 5 years till it closed in 2001. So sad!
I am open to any questions you may have about the Calo or Patio.
Thanks, Jack, the “mechanic”

kencmcintyre on January 29, 2009 at 9:36 am

Try Google news. You have to pay for the full articles, though.

caitroselin on January 29, 2009 at 9:11 am

Grand Mogul,

Can I ask where you are accessing these Daily News articles from the 50’s? I’m not finding any in the library databases I have access to.

kencmcintyre on November 30, 2008 at 10:45 am

Here is part of a Tribune article dated 2/10/25;

Bert Schreiber, Chicago real estate operator and more lately identified with the Florida realty boom, yesterday sold the Calo theater property, at the northwest corner of Clark and Baimoral, 185x125, to Otto C. Kraemer, for an indicated $350,000.

SPearce on November 20, 2008 at 6:46 am

It appears to be pleading for consideration and renovation.

SPearce on September 11, 2008 at 7:30 pm

Thank you, David; your description helps me to recall the interior of the Calo now. It seems I walked through it once out of curiosity but it would have been no later than 1970, or maybe on a trip back but no later than early late ‘70s-early '80s at the latest, and I don’t think it was a theater then.

Broan on September 11, 2008 at 4:14 pm

The Essex is listed as the Guild.

DavidZornig on September 11, 2008 at 3:47 pm

Today I finally made it into the former Calo Theatre, now the Brown Elephant resale shop.
Truly a unique space with a haunting kind of quality, once you make it back into the old auditorium. Helped along by the eclectic choices of music by the shop’s employees.
The modern yet oddly welcome ceiling lighting, casts an eerie industrial shadow & feel to the room. Like some place the “Clockwork Orange” druges or “Mad Max” drivers might venture into leisurely.
The majestic wall sconces are still visible, but aged & war torn as is what’s left
of the plaster walls & exposed brick. All visible in the previously posted pics to Cinema Treasures.

I’m curious if anyone knows any history of the Essex Theatre listed as being at Sheridan Road & Lake Shore Drive, and re-opening with the Calo and 2 other theatres in 1954?

It’s not listed among the other Essex Theatres on Cinema Treasures. But I’m guessing it may have once been incorporated into the building where Westbound Sheridan Rd. from LSD, meets at Halsted/Broadway between Grace & Irving Park by Clarendon. On the S/E corner (Starbucks), is a building that has a white terra cotta facade & parapit wall across the top, which is reminiscent of other old theater buildings.

Maybe Baliwick Theatre shares some of the old space??

kencmcintyre on June 11, 2008 at 7:58 pm

Looking at the photos from 10/20/07, I’m reminded of the Westlake Theater in Los Angeles. Lots of stuff worth preserving if you can dispose of the tacky retail.