Luna Theatre

4743 W. Belmont Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60641

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Showing 1 - 25 of 29 comments

CrustyB
CrustyB on September 13, 2013 at 3:11 am

This is where I saw my first live-action movie when I was 5 years old, “2001: A Space Odyssey.” It was a re-release. My dad yelled at the staff when they started cleaning the popcorn machine during the movie, which made a racket. Then at the end, before Bowman finished his trip through deep space, the film broke and they couldn’t fix it! Never saw the end of this movie until 10 years later.

darrenparlett
darrenparlett on August 30, 2013 at 5:29 am

I wish my dad took me see those types of flicks..dammit

macmanmk
macmanmk on August 30, 2013 at 4:25 am

I remember my late dad taking my brother and I here in 1980 to see a double feature of Silent Scream and The Octagon…I was 10 and my brother was 9. Lol…thanks, dad!

RiisPark
RiisPark on March 13, 2013 at 12:35 am

I went to the Luna many times in my youth. I remember seeing West Side Story there.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 29, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Paul: This never made it to C-O. I’ve heard the Will Rogers was closed in favor of their new Brickyard Cinema. In hindsight, considering the ghetto reputation of the Brickyard, they might have been better off with the Will. I think it did OK business and there was no crime problem that I am aware of.

rso1000
rso1000 on July 1, 2011 at 2:48 am

As mentioned above, the alley east of Cicero at one time ran all the way to Belmont until Walgreens was built. The west wall of the theatre bordered the alley.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on March 3, 2011 at 8:09 pm

So this theatre never made it into the Cineplex-Odeon chain? It’s counterpart up the street, the Will Rogers, was briefly in the C-O chain.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on November 30, 2010 at 6:22 pm

Amazing photos of the Luna. I lived not too far from there, but I’d never been to the Luna. My friends and I did go to the Will Rogers though (The Willy as we called it). I don’t believe I’d ever even seen the Luna.

GFeret
GFeret on August 11, 2010 at 4:04 pm

mikey2:
no the senior home parking lot is not the right place

the exact LUNA theatre bldg site was in fact where the walgreens building is now. mind you i said walgreens building, not walgreens parking lot. the building per se is at the southwest corner of belmont and keating, and that’s just where the luna once stood

p.s.: the alleyway behind cicero used to go fully to belmont (between the luna theatre and the luna lounge mentioned above) but when walgreens opened and built their parking lot they gobbled up that end of the alley, unfair to their neighbors and the public in general

mikey2
mikey2 on May 12, 2010 at 7:03 pm

I saw the double-bill “Last house on the left” and “Don’t look in the basement” here sometime in the mid-70’s because I was in early HS at the time. The theatre was NOT on the corner of Belmont and Cicero where Walgreens is now, as someone said earlier, because that was the Luna Lounge, a very interesting dive that had much better days. That was closed then demolished not long ago, less than 10 years ago. The theatre was down the block a little ways from the bar, I think it’s now the parking lot next to the senior home.

KenC
KenC on April 23, 2010 at 4:05 am

And- THE POM-POM GIRLS, MANIAC, MOTHER’S DAY,a number of FRIDAY THE 13TH flicks and- as mark h noted, a few John Carradine titles (FRANKENSTEIN ISLAND), one of the most ridiculous movies ever. By the way, does anyone recall one of the managers of the Luna? If memory serves, he looked much like director John Waters…tall, lean, thinning hair, and a little moustache. This would have been around 1981.

DonsGrillHumburger
DonsGrillHumburger on April 22, 2010 at 11:14 am

great photos! life’s too short and ken mc! caveman,blood beach,superfuzz,zombie,motel hell,revenge of the bushido blade,private lessons,my tutor,doctor butcher m.d {medical deviate}kung foo triple features. followed by Small cheese and a can of r.c at johnnys pizza next door. PAC man fever! that was a great area to grow up around. 20th century bowling alley,golden tiara bingo. please post more photos of that area. brings back great memories F-LORDS!

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on April 14, 2009 at 8:10 pm

The Luna, looking very much like a neighborhood theatre, not long before it closed for good:

View link

View link

JonPutnam
JonPutnam on December 20, 2007 at 10:02 pm

CHICAGO TRIBUNE (November 17, 1986)

“The Luna: Sticky Floors, Sticky Seats and 3 Years of Ben Hur”

by Joseph Marconi


You might say that the package that arrived with the Wednesday morning mail hit me like a brick.

Actually it didn’t hit me at all. It was a real brick, however, like the ones houses are made of. It was gift-wrapped.

Having spent several weeks immersed in research for a book on the Mafia, I looked for the symbolism. Alas, there was none. But there was a note from my childhood friend Richard informing me that enclosed was the last of it: The Luna Theater was now officially dust.

“Oh, no!” I shouted.

As is the custom in Chicago these days, my shouts went unnoticed. I quickly phoned Richard for the details of the demise of the movie palace of my youth on Belmont Avenue, a few buildings east of Cicero.

“That’s it,” he said matter-of-factly. “The whole block’s flat. Nothing’s left of the old Luna except the brick. I sent it to you because I know you’re sentimental about those kind of things.”

Sentimental indeed, I thought, reflecting on a time well past when I, then much younger than my children are now, would join the line at the Luna for… .

But wait!

As I think about it, there never was a line at the Luna. Not even for the big blockbuster movies that played there about a year after everyone in town had seen them.

And I guess it wasn’t really a palace either, being kind of seedy, as I recall. It was a very small theater by almost any standard. It didn’t even have a real lobby, just a curtain behind the last row of seats.

Anyway, I remembered the Luna. I think “Ben Hur” played there for about three years. Tickets were cheaper than at nearby rivals, the Portage and Will Rogers theaters, but that didn’t help.

The Luna, like the barely lamented DiGeorgio’s Pizzeria next door to it, is gone. Today’s audiences want cushy seats in multi-screen movie houses with parking lots and Dolby sound. I guess they want franchised generic pizza places, too.

Who shall eulogize or mourn the Luna, that place where little children were taken to see their first cartoons on a big screen and where we neighborhood kids would walk with our dates when we were too young to drive? Who will recall the confusion we experienced when the intermission elves sang “Let’s go out to the lobby … ” and we had nowhere to go? The memories of the sticky floors, the sticky seats, gone now … forever.

I hadn’t been to the Luna in about 20 years. So what? I haven’t watched “American Bandstand” for 20 years, but I liked knowing it was still there.

If you remember the Luna, please join me in a moment of silence. If you don’t remember the Luna, but if you ever went to a neighborhood movie house in your youth, feel free to join in. And be glad, at least, that we still have Dick Clark.

GFeret
GFeret on December 19, 2006 at 5:46 pm

LUNA was able to thrive years longer than other small neighberhood theatres because of the economics when the projectionist/operator also is the owner (or so the popular story went then). One funky aspect was only a heavy black (fabric) curtain separated the lobby/ entrance from the auditorium! The dates given in the heading for closure/demolition are accurate ‘cause I went there till the end, and yes in their final years seemed to specialize in the gorier product. To their credit they were the only ones here to run (1969?) POOR COW w/Terence Stamp ('Genl. Zod’).

Senorsock
Senorsock on October 3, 2006 at 7:35 pm

The newspaper account was accurate. I don’t know when you lived there, paigevan, but when I lived there in the 1960’s the Luna played many family films on Saturday mornings. I believe they were sponsered by Craigin Savings. The Will Rogers was THE house to see the latest in Disney releases, but the Luna showed its share back then as well.

Paigevan
Paigevan on January 10, 2006 at 3:21 am

The site is currently occupied by a Walgreen’s Drug Store- it was on the SW corner of Kilpatrick & Belmont- I remember that one of the papers ran something about childrens' shows and obviously did no fact-checking- they listed the Luna as a place that frequently showed family movies- during the time I lived nearby that was the one thing they NEVER showed- the Daily News was obviously talking about the Will Rogers.

Broan
Broan on December 6, 2005 at 10:06 pm

This must have been one of the very last new theaters Rapp & Rapp built.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on October 31, 2005 at 3:06 pm

Does anybody know what went in here after the theatre was demolished?

RobertR
RobertR on July 13, 2005 at 10:23 am

That’s the first time I EVER heard of a theatre playing 3D, squeezing people for more money for the glasses.

reiermann
reiermann on July 12, 2005 at 5:06 pm

My father took me here once in the late 60’s or early 70’s to see a revival of House of Wax in 3D. It was the first time I had seen a movie in this process. I thought it was pretty neat. I remember that there was a “special admission” for the movie and my father thought it outrageous! And, to add insult to injury, you had to pay extra for the glasses. He asked the box office what happened if you didn’t buy the glasses and he was told it would look blurry but we were welcome to see it without the glasses. He, obviously, relented. It’s funny to think back on this since we are probably talking no more than about .50 for the glasses.

dankapel
dankapel on January 24, 2005 at 6:30 pm

The only theatre which I know that existed on Belmont between Austin and Central was the Will Rogers, which was at the corner of Belmont and Parkside.

The Will Rogers was the theatre which would have shown the Laurel and Hardy films. It always mostly Disney films, but from time to time would show moves by people like Chaplin and Laural and Hardy.

JohnSanchez
JohnSanchez on September 20, 2004 at 6:07 pm

I don’t believe this is the same theater. This theater was famous for it’s action and horror double features. Perhaps you are thinking of either the Music Box or 3 Penny.