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 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 29 comments)

TLSLOEWS on March 30, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Always good to hear stories from people who worked the theatres.

Broan on April 21, 2011 at 3:34 pm

An exceptionally unusual artifact from Mr. Kehe:
View link

lawlerpaul on June 14, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Worked as an Usher for Mr. Kehe, in 1964 he taught me to say Yes Sir. I had a big crush on a girl named Wilma, she worked as a Candy Girl we called here Willy. The popcorn had real butter! When a Hard Days Night came out girls would scream and several passed out. We where so innocent then. After graduating from OLCHS, I was off to Nam.

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 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 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 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

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