Mercury Theater

7210 W. North Avenue,
Elmwood Park, IL 60707

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DavidZornig on February 24, 2018 at 6:27 pm

Summer 1968 photo & copy added credit John LeQuesne‎.

Realtorac on April 23, 2017 at 5:35 am

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.

NicoToscani on December 23, 2015 at 9:22 pm

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.

Jimz on July 19, 2015 at 12:16 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.

paulnelson on February 4, 2015 at 5:39 pm

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

Jay Harvey
Jay Harvey on December 1, 2014 at 4:14 pm

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

danhere on November 30, 2014 at 7:28 pm

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

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on June 28, 2013 at 4:54 pm

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.

JPK on March 20, 2013 at 5:28 pm

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…

BT on November 16, 2011 at 2:16 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.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on February 11, 2011 at 6:55 am

“Empire Strikes Back” must have been a rerelease as it was made in 1979 or 1980.

I believe the only movie I ever saw here was “Goodbye Girl.”

TLSLOEWS on February 5, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Nice 1982 photos.

dsadowski on January 7, 2010 at 9:21 am

“Our thanks to Sears for the use of their parking lot, when ours is filled.”

dsadowski on January 7, 2010 at 9:18 am

There’s an excellent pic of the Mercury, circa 1974, on a Facebook group called Elmwood Park-Memories-of Places Gone Bye.

View link

Bobjl on May 18, 2007 at 4:19 pm

I am so glad I found this site. I am proud to say that I worked the final year of the Mercury in 1988 as an usher. That theatre was built so well. Like a fortress. It took a long time to demolish. Somewhere I have demolition pictures. I will share them with you when I find them. I also have 3 seats. They were just throwing them out in a huge dumpster. So sad. My first place of employment. I miss it very much.

GFeret on January 3, 2007 at 7:55 am

Last MERCURY pic I caught was SUPERMAN 4 QUEST FOR PEACE (which was my first son’s first theatre trip). Before that TRON when the air-conditioning failed and I had to walk out. And yes David S. the Sonny & Cher film was GOOD TIMES, director William Friedkin’s first effort.

jimpiscitelli on October 19, 2006 at 4:52 pm

Another update to Cineplex Odeon proposal:

Renvoation of the Esquire – closed, soon to be demolished

dsadowski on September 30, 2006 at 5:47 pm

I grew up in this neighborhood… when I was about 10 or so I actually won some sort of Saturday morning dance contest at the Mercury.

In 1967, Sonny and Cher made a personal appearance at the theater to promote a film they were in (was it Good Times?).

ggates on August 3, 2006 at 10:13 am

Thank you for the link to a fine photo of the theatre. I believe there was a palm tree decor inside the lobby.

Broan on August 3, 2006 at 7:41 am

Here is a haargis profile on the mercury, including a picture

luchtg on March 7, 2006 at 8:20 am

This is to the 50’s Moviegoer: You are right about Mr. Beck owning the Merc. B & K bought it in 1957 and Mr. Calamarie managed it. My dad was the janitor there and we lived in the apartment upstairs from 1957-1962. My dad worked there until about ‘67. I’ve seen just about all the movies that played there in those years, including the kids Saturday morning shows. I even got to learn how to operate the old carbon-fired projectors. On good movies, it was standing room only and the inner lobby had a glass wall and the ushers would raise the curtains so the people could watch. Back then adults were $.50 and kids were $.25. Plain popcorn was $.15 and buttered was $.25. I’m Greg Lucht.

jimpiscitelli on February 9, 2006 at 4:36 pm

To CinemarkFan: That would be a great investment, especially my suggestion of turning the Oakbrook 1-4 into an art-house theater. We need one desperately in the Chicago western suburbs and to purchase Village Theaters.

CinemarkFan on February 9, 2006 at 1:04 pm

Was Chestnut Station demolished?

If I can get my theatre corp off the ground by 2007-2008, I’d like to turn McClurg Court and Oakbrook Center into art houses. And in the future, I’d like to buy Village Theatres.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on February 9, 2006 at 12:42 pm

Update to the above update:

  1. Golf Glen—closed
jimpiscitelli on January 26, 2006 at 7:20 am

Update to Cineplex Odeon proposal:

  1. Burnham Plaza – closed
  2. Rivertree Court – operated by Kerasotes Theaters
  3. Orland Square – closed
  4. Lincolnwood (now Lincoln Village 1-6) – operated by Village
  5. Ridge Cinemas – closed
  6. Grove Cinemas – demolished
  7. Oakbrook Center Cinemas – 1-4 closed; 5-7 demolished
  8. One Schaumburg Place – Became Streets Of Woodfield – operated by AMC Theaters
  9. Old Orchard (now Gardens Cinemas at Old Orchard) – operated by AMC Theaters
  10. Renovation Of The McClurg Court – closed
  11. Renovation Of The Chestnut Station – closed
  12. Renovation Of The Golf Glen – operated by Village Theaters
  13. Renovation Of The Esquire – operated by AMC Theaters
  14. Renovation Of The Town & Country – demolished
  15. Replacement Of The Mercury – never done
  16. Bricktown Square – closed