Golf Mill 1-2-3

9210 N. Milwaukee Avenue,
Niles, IL 60714

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Golf Mill 1-2-3

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The Golf Mill Theater opened in 1961, two years after the adjacent shopping center of the same name opened. Originally a single screen theater, seating over 1,800, the first film to play the Golf Mill was Jerry Lewis' "The Errand Boy".

Costing nearly $2 million to construct, the Golf Mill Theater was Kennedy-era modern but still had elegant touches, like a long, airy lobby complete with sunken lounge areas with sofas and large metal fireplaces.

In 1969, the large auditorium with its vast 50 by 22 foot screen was twinned and the theater became the Golf Mill I & II.

In 1973, the theater was triplexed, becoming the Golf Mill 1-2-3.

With both declining attendence due to larger and more modern theaters sprouting up nearby, as well as the declining shape of the Golf Mill in general, Cineplex Odeon, which operated the theater in its last few years, closed the nearly four-decade old movie house in 2000.

In early-2003, the Golf Mill was completely gutted and converted into a fitness center.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 96 comments)

billymac72
billymac72 on May 11, 2010 at 6:59 am

Yeah, me too. I definitely miss it. My favorite memory is waiting in line to see “The Empire Strikes Back” on opening day. A close second was doing the same for “Rocky III”. At the time, I thought that movie was the greatest thing I’d ever seen. I called my mother on the lobby payphone to tell her that we were staying to watch it a second time. And you know what? Rocky III still kicks butt!

I also saw there: Star Wars, Hooper, Return of the Pink Panther, Flash Gordon, The Blues Brothers, Hangar 18, Smokey and the Bandit 2, The Great Muppet Caper, Return of the Jedi, Octopussy, Never Say Never Again, Firefox, Buckaroo Bonzai, Easy Money, Tootsie, Grease 2, The Toy, The Right Stuff, Lone Wolf McQuade, Twilight Zone, Red Dawn, The Ice Pirates, Nightmare on Elm Street 2, Pulp Fiction…..oh my, I could go on & on. The last few I went to there was Boogie Night, and Men in Black

Mike1997
Mike1997 on May 11, 2010 at 8:52 am

Ditto for me on everything you saw on your list. I also remember seeing THE MUPPET MOVIE, BACK TO SCHOOL, SOLAR BABIES, CLASS, ANIMAL HOUSE, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, EXPLORERS, INNER SPACE, COMING TO AMERICA, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 1, 3 & 4, BAD DREAMS, MOTEL HELL, DEAD AND BURIED, NEAR DARK, EDDIE AND THE CRUISERS, RISKY BUSINESS, ALL THE RIGHT MOVES, TIME BANDITS, JAWS 2, THE PINK PANTHER STRIKES AGAIN, DREAMSCAPE, MR.MOM, WILLOW, DUNE, etc.

I must have seen THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK at least 10 times that summer. RAIDERS was about 10 times too. I saw RETURN OF THE JEDI on opening day with my friends. We took off school that day and sat through the first two totally packed shows. My dad took me to ROCKY 1, 2 & 3 at the Mill. It was THE place to see movies in the northern suburbs during the 70s and 80s.

I now live in Los Angeles and there are a lot of great movie theaters here, but I still hold them all up to the old Golf Mill as a comparison. The Cinerama Dome in Hollywood reminds me of the Mill and the Edens. It was built in the 60s and has a huge balcony, just like the Golf Mill I & II had. The screen is enormous and curved, just like the Edens was. It was remodeled around 2000-01, but is still exactly the same. They made improvements to the seats and the sound and it is state of the art now, including 3-D. I wish they had done that with the Golf Mill. It was really an amazing place to see movies.

scorseseisgod
scorseseisgod on November 10, 2010 at 10:30 am

There are a few errors in the information section that will hopefully be updated. The Golf Mill had 3 screens, not four. The big house accomodated 1,500. Theater 3 opened in 1973.

Here are a few memories I have of the theater and its crusty owner/manager.

http://tinyurl.com/2u7csr3

Broan
Broan on October 26, 2011 at 7:15 am

http://tribune-files.imagefortress.com/attachment1s/1140614/medium_wm/AIE-757-CT_F.JPG?1295179220

Midwaydrivein
Midwaydrivein on February 12, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Answers for a few of the questions below;

The person who would speak to Wally Philips on WGN Radio 720 AM was the Golf Mill manager Bene Stein, who also booked the films and had quite a bit of clout in the industry. Bene Stein was an “Old school” manager, when a theater manager had respect and power in the industry.

Esseness Theaters became involved with Golf Mill and the Finks in May of 1981. The Finks (the owners of the Golf Mill and F & F Management) signed a five year agreement with Esseness and were basically partners with Esseness on the Golf Mill and Golf Glen Theaters. I believe the Finks Morton Grove Theater was not included in this agreement.

Bene Stein and F & F Management still ran the Golf Mill theater from 1981-1986, but the relations between F & F and Esseness was often rocky. Esseness was a very budget oriented company and the Golf Mill as run by Bene Stein was more oriented to showmanship on a grand scale.

F & F gave into some of Esseness’s suggestions for cost cutting measures; such as remodeling the lobby to allow for a larger concession stand (in the fall of 1981) which faced the customers as they entered. Prior to this, the concession stand divided theaters 1 & 2 and made cross-overs between the theaters nearly impossible.

Another Esseness suggestion was to to eliminate the dedicated cashier and concession staff in #3 during non-peak business. They would sell the tickets at the box in #1 & 2 and have the #3 customers walk through the lobby to #3 past #1 (which made crossing over very easy).

Another cost cutting measure Esseness suggested was the elimination of the Brinks cash pick-up service. The Finks allowed that cut, so the managers took the cash to the bank every night then.

When the five year agreement was up in May of 1986, the Finks allowed the Golf Mill and the Golf Glen to be included in the Esseness sale to Cineplex-Odeon. Their Morton Grove Theater remained with Morton Fink’s son, Bobbie Fink, who later started up Value Theaters.

rivest266
rivest266 on June 23, 2012 at 4:18 am

I uploaded the grand opening ad from December 28th, 1961 in the photo section for this theatre. You may notice it was “Transistorized”

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 23, 2012 at 6:58 am

looks like a most impressive theatre in its day.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 18, 2012 at 9:31 am

Idealized sketch of the soon-to-open Golf Mill Theatre: Boxoffice

emiljeong
emiljeong on April 8, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Yeah to Xsport.

Broan
Broan on October 5, 2013 at 2:58 pm

As of 1973 when screen 3 was added, Golf Mill had the most seats outside of the largest palaces like the Chicago, Oriental, Granada, and Uptown, with 3200 seats.

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