Golf Mill 1-2-3

9210 N. Milwaukee Avenue,
Niles, IL 60714

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Showing 1 - 25 of 95 comments

Broan
Broan on October 5, 2013 at 5:58 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.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 23, 2012 at 9:58 am

looks like a most impressive theatre in its day.

rivest266
rivest266 on June 23, 2012 at 7:18 am

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

Midwaydrivein
Midwaydrivein on February 12, 2012 at 10:29 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.

Broan
Broan on October 26, 2011 at 10:15 am

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

scorseseisgod
scorseseisgod on November 10, 2010 at 12:30 pm

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

Mike1997
Mike1997 on May 11, 2010 at 11:52 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.

billymac72
billymac72 on May 11, 2010 at 9:59 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 9:39 am

I’m fairly positive (but could be wrong) that I saw MAD MAX with my friends in theatre III at the Golf Mill and it was shortly (2 to 3 months) after seeing THE ROAD WARRIOR there. I saw BLACK STALLION RETURNS and HIGH ROAD TO CHINA when they played at the Golf Mill, too. I know this because I never saw MM when it was released in ‘80 and when I saw they had it at the Mill, I rallied my friends to see it there, because we all loved THE ROAD WARRIOR.

Anyway, that’s about all the time I want to spend on when these movies were released. My point was to talk about how great the Golf Mill was in its heyday and how many classic movies I saw there when I lived nearby. The place meant a lot to me, my family and my friends for over 17 years.

billymac72
billymac72 on May 11, 2010 at 9:22 am

Hey Mike, I checked on that too. Looks like “Mad Max” did play pretty extensively in the Chicagoland area in 1980, but not at Golf Mill. It was indeed re-released on April 8, 1983 to capitalize on the new popularity of Mel Gibson after “The Year of Living Dangerously” and “The Road Warrior.” The re-release poster’s tagline was “now you can see what made Max so mad.” Also playing at the time was “Gandhi”, “The High Road to China”, “Black Stallion Returns” and “Man, Woman and Child” (whatever that last one was…don’t remember it). I know Golf Mill only had three screens, but they ran matinees on the weekends.

Mike1997
Mike1997 on May 11, 2010 at 8:47 am

I believe you, Billymac. I saw THE ROAD WARRIOR at the Golf Mill in August of ‘82. I’m pretty positive I saw MAD MAX at the Golf Mill, a month or two after RW premiered in '82. Someone above says they saw MAD MAX at the McClurg in spring of '83, but that time frame doesn’t match the one I have in my head for when I saw it at the Mill. I remember it was the fall.

billymac72
billymac72 on May 11, 2010 at 6:56 am

I just checked the Chicago Tribune Historical Archive and can confirm the opening date at Golf Mill for “The Road Warrior” on August 20, 1982. Feel free to email me for the scan.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on May 10, 2010 at 6:11 pm

MAD MAX was intially released in the United States in 1980. Orion re-released MAD MAX in the spring of 1983. I saw it at the McClurg Court Theatre.

Coate
Coate on May 8, 2010 at 4:21 pm

The IMDb’s April ‘82 date for “The Road Warrior” is correct but fails to point out that it was only for a film festival screening in New York. The earliest commercial engagements in the U.S., that I’m aware of, began May 21, 1982 and its release from that point was staggered.

“The Road Warrior” opened in Chicago on August 20, 1982.

Mike1997
Mike1997 on May 8, 2010 at 1:43 pm

ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK was a low budget movie, so it was probably shown in 35mm. I saw it at the Golf Mill opening day-summer ‘81 in theater II.

I remember seeing THE ROAD WARRIOR at the Golf Mill on its opening weekend and it played in theater I, I’m pretty sure in 70mm. I’ve always had a very good memory for when and where I saw those films. I always remember ‘81 as the year and either July or August as the months. If it wasn’t actually released in '81 then it was the summer of '82 (as IMDB claims it was). Here’s the thing, IMDB states that the film was released in Austrailia in '81 and started playing the U.S. in April of '82. The fact is, RW was released regionally and kind of toured the country, city to city. I have a friend who says he saw the film before everyone here on the mainland, when he lived in Honolulu. Then about 6 months later his family moved to Boston and it had just opened there. I’m positive it opened in Chicago in the summer and I remember its popularity prompted a re-release of MAD MAX a month or two later and I saw that for the first time at the Golf Mill. IMDB lists the U.S. re-release of MAD MAX as 1983, which is totally incorrect. My point is: if IMDB is incorrect about MAD MAX’s re-release date, maybe they’ve got the ROAD WARRIOR U.S. release date wrong, too. IMDB has tons of inaccuracies. I’m pretty sure it was August '81 for the ROAD WARRIOR at the Golf Mill and September for the MAD MAX re-release, but I wouldn’t bet my life on the year. It was either '81 or '82. Anyone out there know for sure or remember what year and month it played the Golf Mill?

Coate
Coate on May 8, 2010 at 12:27 pm

<<< I just remembered that in the summer of ‘81, I saw RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK in June, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK in July, and THE ROAD WARRIOR came out in August. If memory serves, RAIDERS and ESCAPE both played on screen 2 and ROAD WARRIOR was in the center auditorium. All of them were in 70mm on those huge screens in six track Dolby! >>>

“Escape From New York” was in 35mm. “The Road Warrior” was released (in the U.S.) in 1982.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on May 8, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Mike this theatre is used for video shots,the whole complex is owned now by a company called Scene Three,so it is in use just do not show movies anymore.They torn down the bowling alley to build a new upscale resturant but this has not happened yet.The pool hall in the basement is still open.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 8, 2010 at 5:25 am

MELROSE has moved to my top favorites.That theatre should in operation. Great night shot of “Officer and a Gentleman”. Nashville what are you thinking.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 8, 2010 at 5:17 am

TLSLOEWS. you mean the theatre is still standing after going dark in 1985? You would think someone in that city might try to reopen it unless it is in a bad part of town,and I bet it is in our “south augusta”.that explains it.I know you have taken pictures,Have you been tempted to venture in if an old exit door was ajar? Nick and me got in the University in Charlotte that way.I know it is tresspassing.You might have told me the about the MELROSE still standing.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on May 7, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Nice story C.Mike I too worked at the LOEWS MELROSE in Nashville,Tennessee and we had a bowling alley at the other end of the shopping center that opened in the early 40,s and a pool hall basement in the center too.It was a great place to work and hang out,most of thecomplex is still there but the theatre has not shown a movie since about 1983 or 1984 latest.

Mike1997
Mike1997 on May 7, 2010 at 4:16 pm

I just remembered that in the summer of ‘81, I saw RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK in June, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK in July, and THE ROAD WARRIOR came out in August. If memory serves, RAIDERS and ESCAPE both played on screen 2 and ROAD WARRIOR was in the center auditorium. All of them were in 70mm on those huge screens in six track Dolby! Wow, that place was amazing! The 50s era bowling alley was great, too.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on May 7, 2010 at 2:56 pm

O.K. Chicago Mike!

Mike1997
Mike1997 on May 7, 2010 at 1:04 pm

I grew up a short distance from the original Golf Mill theatre during the 70s and 80s. It was my favorite place to watch movies and I still remember it very vividly. The first film I saw there was JAWS at age 7 and I remember thinking the Golf Mill was like a palace. The two main auditoriums were incredible. Huge screens, great sound, a really cool lobby and spacious seating with big balconies. Even the third smaller screen was big in comparison to today. I saw at least 4 movies a month there for over 17 years of my life. I saw ROCKY, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, SUPERMAN, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, RETURN OF THE JEDI, APOCALYPSE NOW, FLASH GORDON, GREMLINS, GHOSTBUSTERS, THE GOONIES, FRIDAY THE 13TH, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, RED DAWN, ALIENS, TERMINATOR 1 & 2 and countless other classics, in their initial first run at the Golf Mill. I stopped going as frequently when I moved to the city in ‘92. The last movie I saw there before I moved to California was COPLAND in August of '97. I hadn’t been there in about six years and the place really looked rundown. We sat in the center auditorium and the seats were in really bad shape. The once great 60 foot screen was torn and stained in a lot of places. It was sad. In its heyday, it was the coolest and classiest place to see films and there will never be anything like it again.

I noticed several inaccuracies in the above description of the Golf Mill. The third screen was added in the summer of 1974, not 1984 (as it’s listed above). Also, it was always (as long as I can remember) a 3 screen theatre. It incorrectly states above that the Golf Mill was a quad and that the fourth screen was added in the late 80s, which was not the case. I also saw a lot of movies at the nearby Golf Glen, too.

balabankatz
balabankatz on October 23, 2009 at 9:35 pm

Another 70’s – 80’s movie bliss killed off by the Cineplex Odeon buy everything and go bankrupt plan.