Chicago Theatre

175 N. State Street,
Chicago, IL 60601

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Chicago Theatre - Auditorium from left of balcony

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One of the grandest movie palaces ever built, this 3,896-seat palace opened on October 26, 1921, the work of the firm of Rapp & Rapp, the favored architectural firm of the theater’s original operators, the Balaban & Katz chain.

The Chicago Theatre was restored in 1986 to its 1930’s appearance and now hosts a mix of concerts, live entertainment, and assorted special events (like the annual Glamorama fashion show sponsored by Macy’s -formerly Marshall Field’s- and the occasional movie screening for the Chicago International Film Festival).

Recent comments (view all 275 comments)

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on February 14, 2016 at 7:35 pm

A link my brother found. 1950 theatre map color coded for ownership.

http://movie-theatre.org/usa/il/chicago/maps/1950map.html

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on July 19, 2016 at 6:29 pm

6/27/75-10/16/75 photo link, “Cooley High” at the Chicago Theatre. Underside of the marquee from a distance, but still worth a share.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ceebop/27809926071/in/dateposted-public/

Jim Huffman
Jim Huffman on September 20, 2017 at 12:41 pm

Chicago Theater Movie & Stage Schedules For 1955, Compiled By Jim Huffman, Former (Part-Time) Usher 1955-56, 05/27/55 = Date I was hired. . Starting Date Movie Title Times Stage Performers Times . (S) Singer; © Comedian; (Ms) Musician; (D) Dancer; (E) Entertainer); (Mg) Magician; (I) Impersonator; (A) Acrobat; (J) Juggler; (B) Band; (sp) Spelling?; (?) Unknown. Opinions, Answers & Corrections are Welcomed. . Staff at beginning of year 1955. Aprox 50-ushers min: Chief of Service, several Captains, many Lieutenants 30-or so grunts, all part-timers High school & College students. 3-full-timers (none were officers). 4-Managers, cashiers, several elderly ticket takers, aprox 12-part time candy girls, others. Note: Full time ushers were primarily high school drop-outs that never stayed too long. Always scheduled early to supplement the part-timers.
. Fri 12/31/54 (1st & 2nd Weeks) Veracruz 9:15, 12:17, 3:19, 6:21, 8:57, 11:25 Julius LaRosa (S); Kitty Kallen (S); Phil Lawrence & Mitzi (?); Gary Morton ©; Louis Basil & Orchestra. 11:26, 2:28, 5:30, 8:06, 10:35 . Fri 01/14/10 (3rd Week) Veracruz 9:15, 12:17, 3:19, 6:21, 8:57, 11:25 Julius LaRosa (S); Lola Dee (S); Phil Lawrence & Mitzi (?); Gary Morton ©; Louis Basil & Orchestra. 11:26, 2:28, 5:30, 8:06, 10:35 . Fri 01/21/55 The Bridges of Toko-Ri 9:15, 11:54, 2:33, 5:12, 7:51, 10:29 Sarah Vaughan (S); Larry Storch ©; Don, Dick & Jimmy (S); Lewis & Van (?); Louis Basil & Orchestra. 11:03, 1:42, 4:21, 7, 9:39 . Fri 02/11/55 3 Ring Circus 9:20, 12:07, 2:54, 5:41, 8:28, 11:14 The Gaylords (S); Roy Hamilton (S); Jack Carter ©; Bud & Cece Robinson (?); Louis Basil & Orchestra. 11:16, 2:03, 4:50, 7:37, 10:24 . Fri 02/25/55 Many Rivers to Cross 9:30, 12:06, 2:42, 5:18, 7:54, 10:29 Joyce Bryant (S), Illinois Jacquet (Ms), The Roulettes (S), Al Bernie ©, Marty Gold & Orchestra. 11:16, 1:51, 4:27, 7:09, 9:39 . Fri 03/11/55 New York Confidential 10:00, 12:30, 3:00, 5:30, 8:00, 10:29 Vic Damone (S), Joan Weber (S), Don Tannen ©, Berk & Hallow (D), Louis Basil & Orchestra. 11:39, 2:09, 4:39, 7:09, 9:39 . Fri 03/25/55 The Purple Plain 9:20, 11:55, 2:30, 5:08, 7:44, 10:19 Georgia Gibbs (S), Bill Hayes (S), Johnny Maddox (Ms), Piero Bros & The Albins (?), Louis Basil & Orchestra. 11:05, 1:40, 4:15, 6:53, 9:30 . Fri 04/08/55 Untamed 9:45, 12:55, 4:07, 7:18, 10:20 Crewcuts (S), Will Jordan (I), Bobby Brandt ©, De John Sisters (S), Louis Basil & Orchestra. 11:55, 3:06, 6:17, 9:25 . Fri 04/29/55 Kiss Me Deadly 9:00, 11:40, 2:20, 5:00, 7:44, 10:24 Ella Fitzsgerald (S), Eddie Fontaine (S), The Chuckles (?), Los Gatos (?), Larry Best (E), Louis Basil & Orchestra. 10:45, 1:25, 4:05, 6:45, 9:25 . Fri 05/13/55 Marty 10:00, 12:30, 3:00, 5:30, 8:00, 10:30 The Mariners (S), Harvey Stone ©, Pat Boone (S), Hoctor & Byrd (D), Louis Basil & Orchestra. 11:39, 2:09, 4:39, 7:09, 9:39 . Fri 05/27/55
Run For Cover 9:15, 12:00, 2:45, 5:30, 8:15, 10:55 Gary Crosby (S), Louis Armstrong (E), Delores Hawkins (S), Excess Baggage (?), Honey Girls (?), Louis Basil & Orchestra. 11:00, 1:44, 4:29, 7:14, 9:55 . Fri 06/10/55 Sea Chase 9:15, 12:00, 2:50, 5:40, 8:30, 11:20 McGuire Sisters (S), Mickey Sharp (?), The Langs (?), Frankie Lester (S), Louis Basil & Orchestra. 11:10, 2:00, 4:50, 7:40, 10:25 . Fri 06/24/55 The Seven Little Foys 9:15, 12:00, 2:35, 5:10, 7:55, 10:40 Dorothy Collins (S), Four Lads (S), Georgie Kaye ©, The Shyrettos (A), Carl Sands & Orchestra. 11:00, 1:45, 4:20, 6:55, 9:40 Bob Hope in person on the 24th at the 11:00, 6:55, 9:40 Shows . Fri 07/08/55 We’re No Angels 9:15, 11:55, 2:35, 5:15, 7:55, 10:35 Bill Haley & Comets (S), Peggy King (S), Bobby Sargent (?), Rudy Cardenas (J), Carl Sands & Orchestra. 11:05, 1:45, 4:25, 7:05, 9:45 . Fri 07/22/55 The Kentuckian 9:15, 11:50, 2:30, 5:10, 7:50, 10:25 Four Aces (S), Stan Fisher (?), Bob McFadden (E), Ernie Richman & The Mannequins (?), Carl Sands & Orchestra. 11:00, 1:40, 4:20, 7:00, 9:35 . Fri 08/05/55 Pete Kelly’s Blues 8:30, 11:00, 1:30, 4:00, 6:30, 9:05, 11:35 Eydie Gorme (S), Somethin Smith & The Redheads (S), Elsa & Waldo ©, Art Mooney & Orchestra. 10:00, 12:40, 3:10, 5:40, 8:15, 10:45 . Fri 08/19/55 You’re Never Too Young 9:15, 12:00, 2:45, 5:30, 8:15, 10:55 Howard Miller (E), Pat Boone (S), Felicia Sanders (S), Lenny Dee (Mu), Yonely (E), Hi-Lo’s (S), Della Reese (S), Louis Basil & Orchestra. 11:05, 1:50, 4:35, 7:20, 10:05 (The entertainers for this date will be rechecked for accuracy, seems to be too many) . Fri 09/02/55 Female On The Beach 9:30, 12:10, 2:50, 5:30, 8:10, 10:45 Patti Page (S), Jay Lawrence (E), Boyd Bennett & His Rockets (B), Nicki & Noel (D), Louis Basil & Orchestra. 11:15, 1:55, 4:35, 7:15, 10:00 Rudy Noel Clavijo . Fri 09/16/55 McConnell Story 9:15, 12:05, 2:55, 5:50, 8:40, 11:30 Nat King Cole (S), Lillian Briggs (S), Gary Morton ©, Clark Bros (?), Carl Sands & Orchestra. 11:10, 2:05, 4:55, 7:50, 10:40 . Fri 09/30/55 Blood Alley 9:30, 12:40, 3:55, 7:05, 10:20 Julius LaRosa (S), Connee Boswell’s Paulette Sisters (S), Artie Dann ©, Phil Lawrence & Mitzi (?), Carl Sands & Orchestra. 11:50, 3:05, 6:15, 9:30 . Fri 10/14/55 My Sister Elleen 9:00, 11:45, 2:35, 5:20, 8:10, 11:00 Joni James (S), Florian Zabach (Ms), Sonny Till & His Orioles (S), Guy Marks ©, Rich Gibson (Mu), Louis Basil & Orchestra. 10:45, 1:35, 4:20, 7:10, 10:00 . Fri 10/28/55 Sincerely Yours (Liberace, big movie crowd on opening day) 7:45, 10:26, 1:07, 3:48, 6:29, 9:10, 11:50 The Hilltoppers & Jimmy Sacca (?), Nick Noble (?), The Lassies (?), Lenny Culyer ©, Art Van Damme Quintet (S), Louis Basil & Orchestra. 9:35, 12:16, 2:57, 5:38, 8:19, 11:00 Last Stage Show . Fri 11/11/55 Guys & Dolls Gala Premiere @ 8 PM, Marlon Brando & Gene Simmons Attended, Huge Crowd Outside For Marlon. Opening Day: 10:00, 12:43, 3:26, 6:09, 9:02, 11:45 Other Days: 9:00, 11:42, 2:24, 5:06: 7:48, 10:30 No Stage Show. Movie Played Until January 1956. Usher Staff & Patronage greatly reduced thereafter. . Next Movie: The Benny Goodman Story My last movie as an Usher in Jan 56. . End of 1955 year: Usher staff reduced to aprox 6-per shift, 2-shifts per day. Full-timers day time, part-timers evenings & weekends, Total about 20-ushers. Aprox 6-officers (Chief, Captains & Lieutenants, all part-timers). Less of other staff. . Compiled from the Chicago Public Library microfilm newspaper (Sun-Times) archives by JPH. I am working on earlier dates.

Jim Huffman
Jim Huffman on September 20, 2017 at 12:44 pm

Sorry that this was printed as one ran-together piece, had it all separated paragraphs. I will send a decent list to anyone who wants one via email.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on September 21, 2017 at 11:49 am

Hello From NYC-

the era of building grand ornate movie theaters was approx. 1914-1941. now many still exist in prime condition. for instance the Castro in San Francisco has been in continual operation since it opened Sept. of 1922 but its was built from the get go as a 2nd/3rd run neighborhood which is where my question comes in. I am looking for grand ornate movie theaters built from the get go as 1st run venues and have continued to operate as such since the day they opened. NYC nor San Francisco have any left. does Chicago?

Scott
Scott on September 21, 2017 at 2:51 pm

Chicago has a few grand old theatres still showing movies but none, to my knowledge, that have done so continuously since opening. Some that are showing movies are the Logan, Patio, Portage, Music Box, and Davis. The Biograph also presents film occasionally, though that is no longer its principle function. Plus, its interior has been gutted so it doesn’t really meet your criteria. And all these theatres have been closed for various periods over the last 20-30 years or so. There are others that have the capability to show movies but seldom do so, such as the Copernicus Center (Gateway) and the Chicago Theatre. There are a couple others that are showing movies now but did not do so for many years, either because they were closed or were being used for other purposes, such as the Mozart and the Mercury.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on September 21, 2017 at 3:17 pm

Scott, what do you mean by the “Mozart”? I can’t find that as a historic theater, by googling. Please provide a link or better, a link to this website’s page.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on September 21, 2017 at 3:52 pm

Hello-

I thank Scott for his reply. in terms of the grand ornate movie theaters build between 1914-1941 the only one which opened from the get go as a 1st run venue and has continued to operate as such is the Chinese in Hollywood. out of all 50 states that’s kind of sad.

Scott
Scott on September 22, 2017 at 11:03 am

Howard, you got me. Wrong composer. I meant the Chopin Theatre. The memory isn’t what it used to be.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on October 4, 2017 at 2:06 pm

Flickr link with a 1964 postcard (April `63 image).

https://www.flickr.com/photos/hollywoodplace/20354207116/in/dateposted-public/

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