Old Orchard Theater

9400 Skokie Boulevard,
Skokie, IL 60077

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Showing 1 - 25 of 34 comments

DavidZornig on October 5, 2013 at 9:28 pm

RSH1967, the B.F. Goodrich building bnehind the Shell in your photo is still standing too. But it is a Goodyear dealer today.

Broan on October 5, 2013 at 7:44 pm

Original screen measured 60x25

RSH1967 on August 10, 2012 at 11:35 am

In the pic posted here a few years ago by Catherine, I believe the Shell station is the only building still standing. View link

rivest266 on June 23, 2012 at 7:14 pm

This opened on September 2nd, 1960. I uploaded an photo and grand opening ad here.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 2, 2011 at 7:19 am

Here is a fresh link to the Boxoffice article about the Old Orchard Theatre. The text begins on the following page, and a third page of text and photos follows two subsequent pages of advertising. An additional photo appears on the cover of that same issue.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 11, 2010 at 2:21 am

Boxoffice devoted three pages to an article about the Old Orchard Theatre in the issue of January 9, 1967. The original single-screen theater seated 1,700. It was designed by the Chicago architectural firm of Sidney H. Morris & Associates.

Morris’s firm would later design at least two other projects for M&R Amusements: the Evergreen Theatre in Evergreen Park, and the M&R Twin Drive-In (later called the Wheeling Twin Drive-In) at Wheeling, Illinois.

DavidZornig on April 15, 2009 at 1:07 am

Reactivate Notification Status.

DavidZornig on November 30, 2008 at 9:19 pm

I saw “North Dallas Forty” at Old Orchard. We had also gone there to see “Animal House” when it opened, but all the later shows were sold out.
I think we drove to Golf Mill after that and got in.
Also saw “More American Graffiti” here in 1979.

The bowling alley was called Fair Lanes in 1978. I was on our league that Winter for Holiday Texaco in Evanston.
That 78-79 Winter was brutal at both.

Vogue Tyre had a showroom & garage on the S/W corner of Golf & Skokie Blvd.

KingBiscuits on April 16, 2008 at 6:55 am

This theatre is mentioned in “Tiny Toons Adventures: How I Spent My Summer Vacation” as being the film’s only theatrical screening. Was it really screened or was it a well-researched gag?

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on December 6, 2007 at 7:56 am

Oops, CDiM, I think you mean the upper left corner of the photo.

When M&R sold out (and yes I mean “sold out”) to Loews, I believe that Loews was operating under the name “Sony Theaters”. Alternately, I heard that they also operated under “Sony/Loews”.

I also heard elsewhere on this site (I believe) that M&R still exists as a corporation.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on December 4, 2007 at 5:31 pm

You’ve got it Catherine. That was the Old Orchard Theatre. Interesting thing is that the foreground of this image hasn’t changed all that much.

CatherineDiMartino on December 4, 2007 at 5:25 pm

A photo of Gross Point Road & Skokie Boulevard can be seen here View link

This was the nearest major intersection to the theatre. The entrance to the theatre itself is most likely the structure in the upper left corner of the building.

kencmcintyre on September 11, 2007 at 8:19 pm

M&R Amusement Companies was headquartered in Chicago in the late sixties. Co-owners were Raymond J. Marks and Martin G. Rosenfield. M&R also ran the Sunset Drive-In in Skokie as well as theaters in several other Illinois towns.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 7, 2007 at 11:02 pm

Yep. Still there. Now Turtle.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on June 17, 2007 at 7:41 pm

I believe that there was a car wash next to this theatre, which was also run by M&R.

GFeret on April 24, 2007 at 2:16 pm

In the mid-70s they had a re-release of SOUND OF MUSIC with the strongest (clear and resonant) magnetic (penthouse) soundtrack I’ve ever enjoyed and on a 1st class musical, with uniformly sharp 70mm picture throughout! From then on this installation couldn’t be beat for cinema quality (with one unfortunate sour note, later), proven to me again bringing my young sons on the opening of TITANIC there in more recent times.

On a Friday night late in August of 1981, having just seen CONDORMAN, while walking back to my car in the theatre parking lot off Skokie Blvd there I had my closest encounter ever with lightning.
A blinding ball struck in the middle of the parking lane between me and the theatre, during a thunderstorm of course. I was alone so every once and awhile I have to tell others about it, simply to remind myself.

The sour note was in their final years when I saw MISSION TO MARS (2000?) there, and the magnificent stereo sound system was now little more than an articulate buzz.

DimitriusStrong on December 17, 2006 at 1:41 pm

Yes, I too also grew up going to this theater seeing films like “E.T.”, “Lost in Space”, “Star Trek Generations and First COntact”, the sneak previews of “Batman Forever” and “Independance Day”; I believe the last two films I saw there were “Chicken Run” and “X-Men” before it closed for good. Nothing beat their main auditorium on opening night with a packed audiance for sheer movie-going excitement and ambiance. Thats just something you don’t much of these days in cramped multiplex auditoriums. Also, thanks again BW for posting pics, great memories of this place.

Broan on November 5, 2006 at 6:44 pm

Russell Phillips Photo:


Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on December 16, 2005 at 11:41 am

This theatre had one drawback—it was not located in the Old Orchard Shopping Center proper. Once Cineplex-Odeon constructed theatres in the shopping center, attendance at this place went down. M&R owned the Old Orchard and when both chains ended up in the Loews-Cineplex camp, it didn’t make sense to retain both of them. As Life’s Too Short says above, it was an obvious choice for Loews to unload this one to Meridian.

Check out www.cinematour.com for pictures of the Old Orchard after closure. Someone really went nuts TPing the place!

kattman on December 15, 2005 at 2:13 pm

I spent after school hours around this theater, at the bowling alley next door, the Arbys in front of the bowling alley, Jordys (1 blk north), Turnstyle/Venture across the street, Polk Bros (1 blk south), The Skatium (3 blks South), etc.. I crawled through the theater’s parking lot atop the snow drifts in the blizzard of 79.
The first movie I saw at this theater was The Front Page in 74, and later I saw Grease, Tommy, Halloween, Friday the 13th, The Warriors, Raiders of the Lost Ark, etc…

It felt spacious inside, always clean and comfortable. A magic piece of old Skokie!

ncasper87 on October 1, 2005 at 12:06 am

This was one of my favorite theaters, I hate that they demolished it. I saw so many movies there, including X-Men and Star Wars re-release.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on August 14, 2005 at 5:59 pm

Yeah…that’s what I heard as well.

TRAINPHOTOS on June 19, 2005 at 4:56 pm

Per Life’s Too Short’s comment: I beleive Meridian Theatres went into bankruptcy due to failure to pay city & county amusement taxes.