Commodore Theatre

3105 W. Irving Park Road,
Chicago, IL 60618

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Commodore Theatre

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The Commodore Theatre was built for the Gumbiner Brothers circuit in 1921 on Chicago’s North Side. It stood on Irving Park Road at Albany Avenue. This 966-seat theater served as a popular neighborhood movie house until closing in 1981. It re-opened for a while as the Cine' Olympia.

It fell into disrepair, and began to be used for illegal activities. For years, the residents of the surrounding neighborhood appealed to the city of Chicago to have the dangerous former movie house razed but it wasn’t until late-1990 that the Commodore Theatre was finally demolished and afterward, a strip mall built on the site.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 20 comments)

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on January 4, 2007 at 9:06 am

Call the Theatre Historical Society, on York Road in Elmhurst. They have quite a few photos from different eras of the Commodore’s life.

Cam
Cam on January 29, 2007 at 9:00 pm

Hi Brebel —

I have just a couple photos of the Commodore, taken when demolition was just starting. They’re in Set #5, at http://www.mekong.net/random/theatres.htm

GFeret
GFeret on December 26, 2007 at 12:43 pm

SUPERMAN 2(1980) probably was the very last feature THE COMMODORE played, I venture to say. This because the poster for that film remained tacked-up to the doors for no less than a couple yrs after the theatre closed and abandoned.

Features I actually saw here I recall are TIDAL WAVE, DEADLY WEAPONS (w/Chesty Morgan), and THE EXORCIST.

hagglund
hagglund on August 3, 2008 at 1:36 am

I used to go to the Commodore every Saturday morning with my friends, in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. I remember seeing “Gorgo” (kind of a giant lizard Godzilla ripoff) and a film that absolutely terrified me, “Black Sabbath”, aka “I Tre volti della paura”, a trilogy of really scary stories with Boris Karloff—which I believe was the inspiration for naming Ozzy Osbourne’s band. I think the balcony was still open at that time—you HAD to sit up there, because if you sat downstairs the kids in the balcony would throw jujubees in your hair or pour soda pop down on you. Saturdays, you could see a double-feature plus a string of old serials from the 1930’s (“The Claw”), a bunch of cartoons and get a box of popcorn all for a handful of change. We’d spend the whole morning there.

BrianCB
BrianCB on February 22, 2009 at 3:24 pm

In 1977, my father, brother and I saw a fanciful World War I action drama at the Commodore called SHOUT AT THE DEVIL, starring Lee Marvin and Roger Moore. At the time, the theater was showing Bollywood films late in the evening after the mainstream releases. I remember the crowd for the south Asian feature was much larger than the group who saw SHOUT AT THE DEVIL.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on April 22, 2009 at 9:24 pm

Here is the theater in 1982, when it was the Cine Olympia:
http://tinyurl.com/dhjppw

Cam
Cam on January 25, 2010 at 7:23 am

If you want an example of how the Internet is making the world a smaller place, here you go: a photo of the Commodore appears on cover of a CD by a Croation band, released on a Brazilian label. There’s a short review at: View link

Not sure whether or not it’s their official site, but there’s a page for the band (Florence Foster Fan Club) at http://www.myspace.com/florencefosterfanclub

rso1000
rso1000 on November 13, 2011 at 3:55 am

I knew I had this ticket somewhere…. and finally found it…

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/522/commodoretheatreticket.jpg/

MikeZ
MikeZ on May 8, 2012 at 3:40 pm

I am SO excited to have found this page !!! From 1968-1972, I spent the equivalent of probably, months inside the Commodore. $1.00 got me in ALL day on Saturdays,and it’s where I first saw Easy Rider,Bonnie And Clyde,The St.Valentine’s Day Massacre,Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, and so many more.

KevinKillion
KevinKillion on June 14, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Just posted this picture at WhatWasWhere. Go to this link, click Street View, and then use the slider to fade between this old view and what’s there now. I miss the Commodore, 15 cartoons and a feature on Saturday morning! http://www.whatwasthere.com/browse.aspx#!/ll/41.953983,-87.706035/id/55584/info/sv/zoom/14/

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