Avaloe Theater

2811 W. Diversey Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60647

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yaakovm on May 15, 2016 at 6:06 pm

Just found this website and am excited by RicoNance’s comment at the top. Born in 1944, I grew up near Schubert and Rockwell, now buried under the highway. With friends I remember going to the Avaloe in the late ‘40’s, early '50’s with a quarter. It cost 17 cents to get in, 6 cents for a Holloway sucker, and 2 cents for peanuts. Perfect! And I knew the Brotmans as Harris Brotman, who I believe was the son of the owner, was a good friend of mine. We went to YMCA camp together the summer of 1956. If you read this, Harris, or if any of you know what happened to him, please let me know. I’m Jordan Epstein in Portland, Oregon and I’m in the phone book. Great memories.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 10, 2014 at 2:37 pm

The “Chicago” column of the October 7, 1927, issue of Motion Picture News had this brief item about the Maplewood Theatre. The impending name change was not mentioned:

“I. Brotman plans to reopen the Maplewood Theatre, 2811 Diversey on November 1st. This house has been practically rebuilt, and offers the neighborhood a de luxe, up-to-date theatre of thirteen hundred seats. Mr. Brotman also owns and operates the Clybourn Theatre.”
There might have been some delay in completing the project, or the name might have been changed to the Avaloe some time after the house had reopened, as the opening of the Avaloe Theatre was mentioned in the March 23, 1928, issue of The Film Daily.

RiisPark on March 12, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Anyone have a photo of the Avaloe?

JimandBobJohnsen on December 26, 2010 at 7:35 am

My fondest memories were having the bus pick up my brother and I every Saturday in the projects(Diversey and Damen) to go to the movies. My mother made us popcorn and the westerns were our favorite movie.
posted by jimandbob on December 26, 2010

karenwjacobsen on July 22, 2010 at 11:42 am

Am just about to list on ebay approximately 30 promotional cards for the Avaloe Theater. They must have been printed up weekly to announce the movies of the week and other promotionals and give-aways. Anyone around interested in them before?

LouisRugani on April 27, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Minor Terrorism Worried Chicago Police Wednesday
CHICAGO, Sept. 30 1931.â€"(IP)â€"An outburst of minor terrorism, marked
by three bombings, a stench bomb in a theatre, and the smashing of windows in five stores, gave police additional mysteries to clear up today.
The bombs exploded at Erhardt & Sons Paint shop, Arthur M. Gelden’s painting and decorating shop, and an Oak Park apartment building where George J. Erhardt Jr., one of the owners of the Erhardt & Sons shop, resides.
The stench bomb was set off in the Avaloe movie theatre, while the window smashings were at five Consumers' Sanitary Coffee and Butter stores. The bombs caused considerable damage.

GFeret on March 2, 2010 at 7:33 am

not much of an entry here I know….

the AVALOE for me gets lumped together in my memory with others of its kind—the SYMPHONY on Chicago, the CROWN on Division, the BELL on Armitage, the MARS on Milwaukee. All are theatres in my part of town that I never actually attended, but in my youth can recall them still standing in shuttered state, marquees near collapsing usually, waiting for the demolition ball to put them out of their misery. These waits curiously lasted several years and saddened me, my young eyes and mind longing for the possibility and asking my Mom or Dad “when will they be showing films again there?”, as we’d drive by on some visit or shopping trip. I kept zealous watch of the Sun-Times theatre listings, and all the neighborhood theatres who changed their bill at least twice weekly and I wanted more. More open theatres meant more opportunities to catch the grade-Z sub-run double & triple features, mainly science-fiction & horror, that I ate up.

Now driving on Diversey myself at California stands a Walgreens and its parking lot, on the old AVALOE site, as may’ve been mentioned above already.

rso1000 on January 20, 2010 at 12:21 pm

btw – big thanks to BWCHICAGO for assisting me in telling me how to post these tickets and share them with all of you.

rso1000 on January 20, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Well.. it took me a year and a half, but I found them.



RicoNance on December 4, 2009 at 9:40 am

Excuse me; Oscar’s daughter was Roberta, not Barbara (confused her with another childhood flame).

RicoNance on December 4, 2009 at 8:28 am

Oscar Brotman was the owner of the Avaloe in the 40’s and 50’s; I went to Brentano School with his daughter Barbara from 1945 thru 1952. They always impressed me as a nice Jewish family with all the latest material benefits and treated me as one of the family (at least in comparison with the non-Jewish second-generation white immigrant families of the neighborhood). I used to get a kick out of Oscar’s father, an old guy with a Yiddish accent who took tickets at the door. If I bought popcorn inside the theatre he did not say anything, but if I brought in a bag of that really delicious butter popcorn from the store next door he would always say, “Don’t get any on the floor.” Those were the days before the expressway when Fairfield went all the way to Diversey. I also remember that the Avaloe was one of the first businesses around that had a big “Air Conditioned” sign on it with icicles in the summer. My love of movies, especially Westerns, was solidified by the incessant movies they showed: a double-feature with brand-new movies plus newsreel and cartoons every Saturday plus brand-new fare on Sunday. They played over and over so if you came in during one feature you could stay for the next run. Good way to get rid of your kids for the weekend too. Those were the days.

kencmcintyre on March 7, 2009 at 10:52 pm

This site mentions that the Avaloe had a Barton organ.

rso1000 on September 25, 2008 at 2:17 pm

As of this posting— The Gas station has been leveled and the site is vacant except for the old Mobile sign thats still standing. Theres also another sign on the ground announcing – comming soon — WALGREENS

RiisPark99 on July 13, 2008 at 1:47 pm

I think the Avaloe was smashed in the early 60’s. I know I was by there often in ‘64 and it was gone.

rso1000 on July 12, 2008 at 2:35 pm

The Avaloe was demolished in the mid 60’s and now the gas station that was built in it’s place has also been demolished. Once I find them, I’ll post a photo of Avaloe tickets found during demolition.

LouisRugani on February 16, 2007 at 2:49 am

The Avaloe’s manager or owner used to send out a special bus to pick up local kids (or anyone, really) in the neighborhoods and take them to matinees and back. Is that creative, or what?

RiisPark99 on February 15, 2007 at 10:54 am

Thanks for updating the information. It would be nice to see a photo of the Avaloe.

There is a tavern located on the same block where the theater stood and it is called the Avaloe.

Broan on February 14, 2007 at 3:55 pm

Really this should be considered two seperate theaters. They weren’t really the same building or anything.

Broan on February 14, 2007 at 3:15 pm

It was initially a 299 seat theater that was partially demolished and replaced in 1927 by a larger theater.

RiisPark99 on February 14, 2007 at 2:56 pm

I remember going to the Avaloe as a very young kid in the 1950’s and I can assure you it held more than 299 seats. The site now houses a gas station.

Broan on April 11, 2006 at 10:01 pm

There are references to a theater here as early as 1912, as the Maplewood; architects were named as Grossman & Proskauer; and it seems very unlikely that a 299 seat cinema would open in 1927.