Coral Theatre

4710 W. 95th Street,
Oak Lawn, IL 60453

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Circa 1980 photo courtesy of the Chicago's Extinct Businesses Facebook page.

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The Coral Theatre opened in 1942 for the Lucas Theaters Corporation on 95th Street at S. Cicero Avenue in Oak Lawn. In 1963, the theater was totally remodeled both inside and out.

The Coral Theatre closed in 1984, and was razed that same year, for the construction of the Coral Plaza shopping center.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 32 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 22, 2012 at 4:59 pm

The Coral Theatre and its sister house the Arlington were the subject of this article in Boxoffice of April 25, 1942. The scan of the magazine is a bit blurry, but two photos of the Coral show the original appearance of the facade and the auditorium. Judging from the 1983 photo linked in Lost Memory’s comment of May 16, 2009, the building was later expanded (as was the Arlington, in 1962.) Originally, both houses had almost identical exteriors.

The Boxoffice article identifies the architect of the Coral Theatre as Frederick Stanton, and says that theater consultant David N. Sandine was the supervisor of the design on both projects. Both houses were decorated by the Hanns Teichert Studio.

When the Coral Theatre was remodeled and expanded in 1963, the architect for the project was Donald Thomas Smith, of the Chicago firm Smith & Neubek. The Coral is listed among Smith’s designs in his entry in the 1970 edition of the AIA’s American Architects Directory.

knadles
knadles on January 23, 2014 at 3:03 pm

I loved the Coral. Saw many films there as a kid and teenager. It didn’t look like much from the outside, but I recall a lobby with a red leather couch and chairs and a fireplace, an attached courtyard/garden where you could walk around while waiting for the movie to start, and huge murals of Polynesian scenes (people building canoes, etc.) painted on the interior side walls of the auditorium. It was a great building, so of course it had to go. The strip mall that replaced it is half empty.

If anyone has interior photos of the Coral, I’d love to see them.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 23, 2014 at 3:38 pm

knadles: The second page of the Boxoffice article I linked to in my previous comment has a black and white photo of the Coral’s auditorium (here) though it is small and the scan is rather blurry.

KurtisT
KurtisT on June 24, 2014 at 7:19 pm

Yes, Smith & Neubek was the architecture firm, but the Coral Theater was designed by Frank Neubek, who designed many landmarks in the Chicago area. Mr. Neubek has retired from practice and lives in Naples, Florida.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 24, 2014 at 10:47 pm

Smith & Neubek also handled the remodeling of the Arlington Theatre in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on March 30, 2015 at 10:20 pm

Circa 1980 photo added courtesy of the Chicago’s Extinct Businesses Facebook page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 31, 2015 at 3:35 pm

Here are fresh links the the April 25, 1942, Boxoffice article about the Coral and Arlington Theatres (illustrations are on the first two pages, with text only on pages three and four):

Page one

Page two

Page three

Page four

Lawrence A. Pagliaro
Lawrence A. Pagliaro on January 16, 2017 at 11:28 am

I have been casually searching for the name of the Ice Cream stand on the corner of 95th and Cicero near the Coral theater for a number of years. My wife and I grew up in Oak Lawn and our earliest dates were at the Coral and ended at this Ice Cream shop. In searching recent Oak Lawn Library photo history I found photos of two sisters (Wettergren children) sitting on a bear and the photo identifies the location as Harold’s Custard Stand located on the Northeast corner of Cicero Ave and 95th St, near the Coral Theater. The photo is from 1950 and a bit before our time there but this is the closest that I have come to finding hard evidence of the Ice Cream stands name.

DAL
DAL on January 18, 2017 at 3:30 pm

The Coral Theatre was not operated by Cineplex Odeon. C-O didn’t enter the Chicago market until December, 1986. They did take over operation of the Chicago Ridge Mall Theatres nearby.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on March 30, 2017 at 10:06 am

Cineplex-Odeon came to the Chicago market in the Fall of 1985.

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