Carnegie Theatre

1026 N. Rush Street,
Chicago, IL 60611

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Carnegie Theatre Front 1972

The Carnegie Theatre was located on Rush Street, an area once notorious for its seedy nightclubs, bars, and illicit activities, but today better known for its many eclectic, upscale eating establishments.

The Streamline Moderne-style movie house, opened December 3, 1949 in an existing structure, originally as the Telenews Theatre (another Telenews Theatre, which opened a decade earlier, was located on State Street next door to the Chicago Theatre, and was later known as the Loop Theatre). Just over a month after it opened, the Telenews Theatre dropped its newsreel policy and was renamed the Carnegie Theatre.

The Carnegie Theatre hosted the first Chicago International Film Festival, in 1965, with directors King Vidor and Stanley Kubrick and screen legend Bette Davis on hand to receive awards. In 1966, it suffered damage from a fire which spread from an adjacent restaurant. The building was rebuilt and reopened 18 months later. In its last years, the Carnegie Theatre was screening a mix of both art and commercial movies. “A Man and A Woman” ran for sixty-three weeks and also the Carnegie Theatre had exclusive Chicago premiere runs of “Young Frankenstein” and “Silent Movie”.

The theatre was closed in fall of 1986. A restaurant has since been opened on the site.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 55 comments)

radbid on July 26, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Forty years ago in 1971, my wife and I were dating. We would go to the Carnegie and see newly re-released Charlie Chaplin movies that hadn’t been seen in years. After the movie, we crossed the street for beers and Italian beef sandwiches at Jay’s bar. It’s sad they both are gone, but we still have those great memories.

DavidZornig on July 26, 2011 at 12:37 pm

We likely crossed paths radbid. I was 11, and went to every one of those Chaplin movies. If you’d like, I can send you a jpeg of my original picture of the Carnegie marquee with the Chaplin festival posted above in the Photo section. It’d make a nice anniversary card for your wife. Drop me an e-mail, and I’ll forward you the pic.

Broan on July 12, 2013 at 11:19 am A photo of the original Canegie post-fire

mo4040 on July 16, 2014 at 7:12 pm

Saw ‘Purple Rain’ at the Carnegie when it came out in 1984. Good Times!

DavidZornig on October 11, 2014 at 4:30 am

Article and photo source for 1965 marquee pic.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on February 9, 2015 at 12:02 pm

‘…also the Carnegie Theatre had exclusive Chicago premiere runs of “Young Frankenstein” and “Silent Movie”.’

And as I vaguely recall, “Monty Pyhton & The Holy Grail” made its Chicago debut here.

DavidZornig on May 3, 2015 at 12:07 pm

1963 image added copyright Dexter Press Inc. From their 1964 post card published by Cameo Greeting Cards Inc. Good example of the original Carnegie marquee. Before the 1966 fire.

rivest266 on November 11, 2016 at 3:21 pm

December 3rd, 1949 grand opening ad as Carnegie in the photo section.

MSC77 on December 22, 2017 at 1:55 pm

“The Graduate” opened here fifty years ago today. The film went on to play six months (day-and-date with the Loop). And here’s a new retrospective article which includes some exhibition history (and other) details to commemorate the classic film’s golden anniversary.

DavidZornig on May 9, 2018 at 7:48 am

November 21,1979 photo added courtesy of Joe Lynn via Craig Locaciato‎. Steve Dahl & Gary Meier during a live broadcast of The Coho Breakfast Club at the Carnegie Theatre. Steve is breaking a copy of the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack over his head.

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