Gorilla Tango Skokie Theatre

7924 Lincoln Avenue,
Skokie, IL 60077

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Showing 1 - 25 of 39 comments

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on April 16, 2013 at 3:41 pm

And now Gorilla Tango might be selling the theater

http://skokie.patch.com/articles/is-skokie-s-gorilla-tango-theater-for-sale?ncid=newsltuspatc00000001

Broan
Broan on December 30, 2011 at 11:33 am

I doubt there was room for projectors when it was done. The place is just too small and narrow – only 10 seats wide. As much as I love old theaters, this should have been turned into a store, they could have built a better theater in almost any building and fit more than 148 people in it. How difficult can it be to have “perfect acoustics” in such a tiny space? 1.5 million could have gone a lot farther elsewhere.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on December 29, 2011 at 6:49 pm

I’m sorry to see it close. Al Curtis & his crew did a great job trying to keep it versatile. I don’t know why the bank/owners would think it will look more viable to potential buyers, if it’s completely inactive. Defies logic really. Sell the sizzle, not the steak.

Since they knew they were keeping theater style seating, I think the renovation should have kept the old or newer projectors in place. So it could moonlight an an art house and run films on off nights. Like the old Varsity & Parkway used to.

Once they knew that they weren’t keeping them, the seating design should have been changed to one with tables or standing room by the stage like at Martyrs on Lincoln in the city. And removed the inclined floor. Strictly theater seating limited themselves and the venue to attracting younger acts and their followings. Or older tribute acts with crowds that could move about inside. Martyrs or the Vic is the best examples I can think of.

With a capacity of only 148 people, even at $25 a ticket for sell-outs, there’s not enough left to pay for bigger name talent. Add in virtually zero foot traffic, and you have an even bigger struggle.

I wish them all the best of luck.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on December 28, 2011 at 8:24 pm

The Skokie Theater is closing as of December 31, 2011 and the theater is for sale:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/chi-skokie-theatre-closed-20111228,0,7040078.story

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on May 3, 2009 at 7:31 pm

Greetings ken mc. Neither link seems to work.
I tried accessing them from a couple different servers, to no avail.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on April 14, 2009 at 10:02 pm

Reactivate Notification Status.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on February 8, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Just to further confirm, the Skokie Theatre does have provisions to show films. Though I don’t know the projection or screen specifics, the silent film “Nosferatu” is scheduled there for 8PM on February 27th.

It is advertised along with the rest of Skokie’s full stage, comedy & music schedule for Feb. & Mar., in Street Level. A free local newspaper serving Nortside Chicago, Evanston & Skokie.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on August 24, 2008 at 9:06 pm

The Skokie Theatre has had a virtually non-stop schedule in recent months. Singers, musicians & even plays such as Hizzoner.

Within the last year, The Village of Skokie has been working towards a plan to build a new CTA/Skokie Swift platform at Oakton Street & Skokie Blvd. Basically on the site where the was one originally. They were last trying to appropiate the land of an existing truck rental firm, to clear and create enough room for a Kiss & Ride stop as part of the new platform. In addition to helping the revitalization of downtown Skokie, this should help the Skokie Theatre as well.

Last year I believe they ran Charlie Chaplin films at the Skokie Theatre as part of the village’s Backlot Bash.

So some provisions must exist for it to again be able to show movies.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on September 26, 2006 at 4:03 pm

You are talking about fine cinematic standards. I am talking about having a good time there when I was a little kid. I thought the 7-9 was cool too. So we certainly live in different worlds. Never went to the 3 Penny. But it did look like a pit. I will give you that.

I am happy that they renovated the Skokie for new use, and I understand that actions of this nature require change. But I still don’t see why they couldn’t have saved a little more of the decor for old time’s sake.

scorseseisgod
scorseseisgod on September 25, 2006 at 7:39 pm

A hellhole! A long, narrow uncomfortable shoebox masquerading as a theater. Third in line behind the 3 Penny (a converted garage that was later cut in two) and the Lincoln Vallage 7 & 9 as Chicagoland’s worst theater. It was impossible to properly show an anamorphic film at the Skokie. I remember seeing “MASH” there. The opening title read “AS” on their fixed 1.85:1 screen. The only reason the place lasted as long as it has is because it’s cheap. You get what you pay for. A nightmare for purists.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on September 20, 2006 at 5:18 am

Correction, that’s a typo. It should be “vacant land!!”

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on September 20, 2006 at 5:15 am

A 1951 aerial view of the Skokie Theatre’s neighborhood can be seen here: View link

Skokie was originally called Niles Center. Per my above post, it was originally platted out in the circa 1910-1920. Although the real estate lots had been sold and the streets planned and named, the Depression of the 1930s killed this idea. World War II further delayed the development of Niles Center, which by that time was re-named Skokie. Even in the 1951 photo above, you can still observe a lot of vacabt kabd.

Ferdy
Ferdy on June 20, 2006 at 5:50 am

I think the new theatre is fabulous. Nostalgia for the old Skokie Theatre is misplaced. It had become an unpleasant place to view movies—uncomfortable, badly managed, dirty. It opened and closed several times in the last 5 years and might have been demolished altogether if not for the Cavalcade of Music Foundation. Instead, we have a beautiful, comfortable theatre in which to hear great music (I saw the Diane Delin Quartet on Friday) and a close-to-original marquee and facade to preserve some of the charm that is rapidly vanishing in downtown Skokie.

andnic
andnic on May 16, 2006 at 6:21 pm

Hey guys,
The Skokie theatre was renovated by my mother, Ann Clark, who is an architect. She and my father are the principals of Nicholas Clark Architects, www.nicholasclarkarch.com The reason that the sign wasn’t restored how it was before renovation began is because the old sign had vinyl siding on the sides of it, it barely lit up, there was no “Skokie” lettering on top and the curve in the front of the signage was non-existent. Just so you know (Brian Wolf), it is completely in proportion with the building, you probably just aren’t used to the new curve on the sign. The sign has not been simplified; it is extremely close to how it originally looked (click the link to see the original marquee) View link Something had to be done with the theatre, now it has superb lighting and sound equipment and has been re-structured so that the space is acoustically correct. Come and see a show there some day, you will hear and see the difference. This project has benefited the Skokie theatre because now we know that it will not get knocked down for a long time.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on April 27, 2006 at 6:01 pm

I grudgingly must admit that it is a nice-looking auditorium.

Broan
Broan on April 25, 2006 at 7:27 pm

It’s open now.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on March 13, 2006 at 6:15 pm

Again, I can see your point. I’m not sure why they had to tear the old one apart, unless it had structural issues. But I happened by there at night last week, and the neon was lit up. It was cool.

Broan
Broan on March 1, 2006 at 9:09 am

Well, this marquee IS plainer than the one they took down. They probably could have replicated the old one just as easily and added the lettering there. Also, notice they did not put back the long-missing neon on the facade on either side of the marquee. And the poster cases look different, too. See this photo. At least it wasn’t demolished, I guess, even if none of the 1913 building really survives. I’ll try to get a photo of the new marquee up shortly.

http://www.skokienet.org/centenn/ch4sec2.htm Has some background info on the early Essanay Westerns and the theater’s relationship.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on March 1, 2006 at 8:34 am

I see your point. But I actually like it better than the last one. The theatre name makes a big difference. I always disliked the last one because it was so plain.

I am more annoyed with the fact that they practically gutted the place and I still don’t understand (given the project’s stated purpose) why it had too happen. Whatever the case is, they seem to be making good progress.

Broan
Broan on February 23, 2006 at 3:42 pm

Yeah, but they didn’t even replicate that accurately. It’s simplified from the old design, the proportions are off, and the neon on the sides is missing. You’d think that having the original it could have been replicated easily…

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on February 20, 2006 at 5:47 pm

The rebuilt marquee is pretty cool. The “SKOKIE” letters have been replaced on either side above the attraction boards.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on February 16, 2006 at 8:09 am

The rapid transit station nearest to the Skokie/Niles Center Theatre was Oakton Street. To get a better idea of what the theatre’s nieghborhood looked like in the 1930s, click on the link below. This view of the only “population center” better illustrates my above point. By the 1930s, many of Chicago’s other “close-in” suburbs had been developed, yet Niles Center/Skokie was still sparse.

http://www.chicago-l.org/stations/oakton.html

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on February 16, 2006 at 7:14 am

It is altogether conceivable that westerns and other movies could have been shot right outside the Skokie Theatre/Niles Center Theatre. I have a booklet, written by Graham Garfield, on the re-opening of the former Skokie/Dempster railway station. In it, Garfield says that Niles Center was originally plotted (sp?) in the early 1900s and that in the 1920s, the Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee RR built a new route thru Skokie Valley. Service between Dempster Street and Howard Street was to be provided by the Chicago Rapid Transit Co, a predecessor to the Chicago Transit Authority.

The idea was for the CNSM to have a bypass around its original route and to start development in the area. Although the real estate lots had been sold and the streets planned and named, the Depression of the 1930s killed this idea. World War II further delayed the development of Niles Center, which by that time was re-named Skokie. The CTA took over from the CRT in 1947 and abandoned the rapid transit route in 1948 because of low ridership (the CNSM RR hung on until 1963). Development of the area began in earnest in the 1950s and 1960s and in 1964, the CTA revived the rapid transit route.

What little development there was in Niles Center/Skokie at the time was centered around Oakton Street, not far from the theatre. Again, it is possible that the area could have been used as a movie lot. To get a good view of what Niles Center/Skokie looked like in the 1920s, click on the following link and then scroll 2/3rds the way down:

http://www.chicago-l.org/stations/crawford.html

Broan
Broan on February 16, 2006 at 4:44 am

Yes, an earlier press release from Cavalcade of Music said “The cinema, once known as the Niles Center Theater, was built around 1915 and showed silent films, some of which were shot less than 100 yards away. Chicago’s Essanay Films used Lincoln Avenue as a location in many early Western movies.” So this was probably misinterpreted by the article writer. Some of the other photos on DigitalPast note that the theater was owned by a grocer two doors down from the theater.