Mercury Theater

7210 W. North Avenue,
Elmwood Park, IL 60707

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Mercury theatre

The Mercury Theater opened in the late-1940’s. By the late-1950’s, it was acquired by the Balaban & Katz chain. In the 1970’s, the Mercury Theater was part of the Plitt Theatres chain. In the early-1980’s, the Mercury Theater was twinned.

In 1988, the Mercury Theater was closed by Cineplex-Odeon, and was demolished. One of its last bookings was the Michael Douglas thriller “Fatal Attraction”. The nearby Midwest Bank had the words “Goodbye Mercury” displayed on its signage at the time of the theater’s demolition.

A strip mall now sits on the site of the Mercury Theater.

Contributed by James Piscitelli

Recent comments (view all 36 comments)

BT on November 16, 2011 at 10:16 pm

What a trip down memory lane! Fond memories… I worked for/at THIS Theatre from 1981 to 1984, if I recall the dates right. I’ll have to go check my annual SS income statements, I’ll know as this was my FIRST ‘real’ job, started as an usher one summer in high school, stayed on into some College, and went on to be one of the managers of this location. I remember so much about this battle-ship! I started working there when it was still a single-screen, 1200 seat theatre. A bit of trivia,,, it was actually 1198 seats. Not sure if 2 were actually broken and removed or the layout required the 2 les seats to satisfy minimum fire code rules for exit aisle width – we used to debate that one all the time… but the official count was 1198. I was there thru the ‘split’ conversion too. It was for some time the “Plitt – Mercury Theatre” before Cineoplex Odeon took over.

The cat walk in the ceilings, the spooky, vacant apartment upstairs that had become the ‘storage room’ for the cups and supplies. I HATED coming to work on a day or shift when that darn soda truck pulled up and we had to unload and haul down, sometimes 50-60 of these stainless steel cylinders of the soda syrup. Back and hand breaking work, it was such a haul for the lobby down 3 zigzag flights of stairs to the basement. Really cool cement shelter tho-. Met a lot of great friends while working there. Lived through some interesting times there too, one a small explosion & resulting fire from the old, massive furnace; hated getting up on a rickety old ladder to change the old hook-on, red marquee letters when the stick/pole didn’t work – finally got one of those scissor-life things to help with that task; the basement was extended under the store front on both the east & west, as those business were actually ‘tenants’ to the Mercury building, one a hair/nail shop, the other the jewelry store. Once someone broke into the theatre to try to go thru the adjoining wall into the jewelry store to avoid tripping the alarm next door- they never made it. Despite one comment on this site, we actually DID pop our own corn. We would, however, be ‘required’ to save the previous night’s popped corn in those huge plastic bags, then we’d pop fresh and inter-mix, cost-cutting even back then!

I remember my ‘second’ movie I ever worked there for, Sophie’s Choice, but cannot recall my first?!

I was sad years later for the demo… I remember seeing them just bang the old place down, dumping crap right into the old seat pits, I wish I could have grabbed some seats, but it was too busy a day. I did get a few bricks for myself and some old friends I used to work with there…

I could go & on… but I’m probably boring ya.

JPK on March 21, 2013 at 12:28 am

The manager’s office had a private bathroom with a shower. There was, also, a fair size apartment upstairs
next to the projection booth. When I was there it was used as storage. It no private entrance. The story I had was that the original owner lived there for a while after he built the theatre. Imagine that today…

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on June 29, 2013 at 12:54 am

My aunt got married and had her wedding reception at the Casanova Restaurant in Elwood Park. The Mercury Theater was being built right next door to the East. All that had been done on that date was that the foundations had been put in, it was June 5, 1949.

danhere on December 1, 2014 at 3:28 am

I remember seeing the like BJ dirty dragon show back when I was young kid at this theater still have the dirty dragon banner signed by BJ

Jay Harvey
Jay Harvey on December 2, 2014 at 12:14 am

such a grand & majestic looking theatre. why must they be demolished for “progress?”

paulnelson on February 5, 2015 at 1:39 am

An art deco masterpiece and great marquee too. Major waste of a handsome theatre.

Jimz on July 19, 2015 at 8:16 am

I work there from 1985 to 1988 I was an usher it was a great place to work in high school interesting people wasn’t the greatest paying job at the time 3 35 an hour but it was fun got a chance to see a lot of movies and dated some of the girls behind the counter. It was pretty sad when I watched them tear it down, lot of history went with it.

NicoToscani on December 24, 2015 at 5:22 am

Saw my first movies ever here. Disney stuff. I recall a Herbie movie and The Rescuers. Saw Star Wars here with my dad in 77. It was awful when they split it into 2 screens. The floors and screens were totally lopsided as a result and I remember almost falling over in the aisles after a few pre show beers when I was in HS.

Realtorac on April 23, 2017 at 1:35 pm

My stepfather was a policeman in Elmwood park in the 50’s one night there was a burglar who broke in and when they went there they couldn’t find him. My dad heard a noise and found him hiding in the ceiling and arrested him. After that the manager gave our entire family fee admission for life. We saw every movie they showed every week. I even used to sit in the screening room with the engineer. It was so cool watching him change reals and the rod that would burn the light. Good memories.

DavidZornig on February 25, 2018 at 2:27 am

Summer 1968 photo & copy added credit John LeQuesne‎.

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