Carnegie Theatre

1026 N. Rush Street,
Chicago, IL 60611

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Carnegie Theatre Front 1972

Viewing: Photo | Street View

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 in 1949 in an existing structure, originally as the Telenews Theatre (another Telenews, which opened a decade earlier, was located on State Street next door to the Chicago Theatre, and was later known as the Loop). Just over a month after it opened, the Telenews 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 50 comments)

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on February 2, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Just another reminder to CT Admins, the year of the fire in the opening bio of the Carnegie needs to be changed from 1996 to 1966.

Also when it finally closed as a theater in 1986, it became Hamburger Hamlet first. It then opened as Hugo’s Frog Bar in 1996.
The former Mister Kelly’s site next door was Sweetwater up until 1989, when it reopened as Gibson’s.

Down the street, the 2 story former Norge Village Laundromat(60's-70’s), later Rubus Jungle (Ice Cream & Miniature Golf- late`70’s), then Guaduala-Harrys, thenu El Torito became Carmines in 1995.

captain54
captain54 on April 1, 2010 at 4:55 am

In the picture posted by Ken Mc, does anyone know what the establishment with the B/G sign at the SE corner of Rush and Oak was?

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on April 1, 2010 at 1:50 pm

B&G was a 24 hour diner type restaurant. It had multiple booths that looked out of windows facing the Oak Street Side, and one that faced the Rush Street side. It later became The Oak Tree restaurant. Both served the Rush St. night life crowd on a continual basis.
There was one regular, rather surly waitress that worked at B&G. Notorious for just throwing your plates on the table.

captain54
captain54 on April 21, 2010 at 6:34 pm

thanks David….very interesting….

do you have any info on “Isbell’s” .. closing? opening? I know the owner/founder was instrumental in the Ramada Inn chain… I see that marquee in many vintage pix of Rush St.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on December 16, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Sorry captain54, didn’t see your question until today. I’ll have to ask around about Isbells. It appears from ken mc’s 04/18/09 photo to be in the building that housed The Athenian Room in the late 60's, and later Faces in the70’s. It’s now the “new” Barney’s of New York who vacated the old Oak Tree spot across the street.

To ken mc, the Singapore Room was indeed a restaurant. I posted previously about the colorful, animated neon monkeys that adorned that very marquee. A sign that was also seen in the opening montage of WGN’s old Night Beat news program with Jack Taylor, and later Marty McNeely. Good old Carl Greyson hosted a few times as well.

radbid
radbid on July 26, 2011 at 8:28 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
DavidZornig on July 26, 2011 at 8:37 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
Broan on July 12, 2013 at 7:19 pm

http://chuckmanchicagonostalgia.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/photo-chicago-rush-oak-and-state-aerial-mr-kellys-nightclub-center-1966.jpg A photo of the original Canegie post-fire

mo4040
mo4040 on July 17, 2014 at 3:12 am

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

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