Strand Theatre

2111 W. Division Street,
Chicago, IL 60622

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roadside57
roadside57 on June 22, 2011 at 1:33 am

Watched many movies at the Strand from 1950-57, including the Esther Williams version of Pagan Love Song in 1952, where I got to see my brother on film in an uncredited bit part. Sometime in the mid-50’s, the Strand began to stage amateur talent shows on Saturday afternoons, and I saw quite of few of them.

Most movies shown here were second or third run, but I can recall my mom taking me to some first-run Disney classics in the early 50’s, and the whole family watching High Society on New Year’s Eve in ‘56, not long after the film was released.

Some fourth-run classics that I saw here in the mid-50’s were Kiss Me Deadly, and a 1955 Christmas night double bill of Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo and A Guy Named Joe. My family moved away from the west side in ‘57, but I came back to visit occasionally, and I believe movies were still being shown here until 1959.

The Strand stood empty for a couple of years after that, before being converted into a muebleria. I don’t know when it was demolished, but I’ll post a photo I took in 1987 of the tile floor outside the front entrance with the word “Strand” visible as a result of my scraping away some of the dirt that covered it.

Even when it was lit up, the Strand was a spare, dark, and in some ways grim environment, but it served to introduce me to the movies, and I have only good thoughts about the place.

I’ll never forget the aftermath of a “Dish Night Giveaway” Riot at the Strand when I was four or five years old – just looking through the front doors of the locked theater at what must have been hundreds of pieces of smashed tableware. This was one tough neighborhood!

KenC
KenC on January 5, 2007 at 1:39 pm

The Strand theatre was open at least through February 1959. From the Chicago Sun Times movie listings, Friday Feb. 13, 1959: STRAND 2111 Division Op. 6:00- “BOMBERS B-52” “FIEND WITHOUT A FACE” “GORILLA AT LARGE” 3 Hits. The star () in front of STRAND also appears in front of the Lane Ct. theatre (aka Park West) at Armitage and Clark streets. I guess the same person- or company- owned the theatres at least for a time.

GFeret
GFeret on January 4, 2007 at 1:26 pm

For a couple years into the early ‘60s I remember seeing the old (neon) sign on this bldg as NEW STRAND, though obviously closed then.

BarbaraZDick
BarbaraZDick on January 24, 2005 at 3:17 am

The Strand Theater was operating as a movie theater for at least part of the 1950s. I lived two blocks away from it and went to the Biltmore and the Strand Theaters depending on what was showing. The Biltmore was clearly the bigger and more decorated of the two but the Strand was also and option and was within walking distance.