Willow Creek Theatre

360 S. Creekside Drive,
Palatine, IL 60067

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Willow Creek Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This was a fairly generic theater on the outside that was constructed in 1970 in Palatine. A single screen house that featured first-run films primarily released by United Artists.

The inside of the Willow Creek Theater was simplistic yet elegant with a large lobby and curtains surrounding the entire auditorium.

The real feature was the incredible screen. It was large, curved and the correct aspect ratio was always presented. The sound wasn’t the greatest, as surround sound was never installed. But that great big, bright screen was terrific! First run classics included “Rocky”, “Taxi Driver”, “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “Little Big Man”.

Another feature was the fact that a large picture window allowed the audience to see the entire projection booth. It was a bit of a show watching the oprator loop the film into the two huge projectors. This was before platters and single projection systems.

Later on, the M & R chain bought the theater and split that great auditorium into two generic flat screens. This didn’t last long as the Willow Creek soon closed around 1980. The building now houses a banquet facility.

On Sundays, a small church began worshiping in the auditorium calling itself the Willow Creek Community Church. They have now grown into one of the largest megachurches in the country, located in South Barrington, IL. They still call their church Willow Creek.

Contributed by Tim McGlynn

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 4, 2007 at 7:22 am

There was a small photo of the theater in the Daily Herald on 8/31/81:
http://tinyurl.com/2l9kqo

KenC
KenC on March 17, 2010 at 3:36 am

The Willow Creek opened on Wednesday, October 14, 1970. “BORSALINO” starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Alain Delon, was the premiere attraction.

Broan
Broan on August 2, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Dates must be wrong, Willow Creek was split into 2 screens in December 1982

rivest266
rivest266 on June 23, 2012 at 11:03 pm

October 16th, 1970 grand opening ad posted here.

Broan
Broan on October 14, 2013 at 5:25 am

This was a Lubliner theater originally.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on October 14, 2013 at 6:58 am

The M&R Willow Creek Theatres was indeed open much later than 1980. I saw TENDER MERCIES there in 1983.

Broan
Broan on October 14, 2013 at 11:03 pm

Robert Babbin was architect.

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