Chicago Theatre

175 N. State Street,
Chicago, IL 60601

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Chicago Theatre - Auditorium from left of balcony

Viewing: Photo | Street View

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 277 comments)

robboehm
robboehm on February 11, 2014 at 10:09 am

Shirley Temple made her Mark(er) in June 1934. See photo section.

Redwards1
Redwards1 on March 18, 2014 at 4:31 pm

San Francisco does have one remaining movie palace, or close to it: the Castro, which is not downtown but, like Chicago’s Patio, a neighborhood theatre. The Castro shows continual movie repertory & is home to the San Francisco International Silent Film Festival, which features newly restored prints & live music. The only thing missing is an adequate lobby & restrooms. The auditorium is large rather than huge & in good condition, with restoration of much original décor.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on March 19, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Hello-

thanks for your reply. the Castro is indeed alive and well but doesn’t qualify since like many grand old movie theaters built 1914-1941 was built from the get go as a 2nd/3rd run neighborhood theater. I am specifically looking for theaters built 1914- 1941 that were built from the get go as 1st run venues and have continued to operate as such since the day they opened. the only one I have come across is Grauman’s Chinese in Hollywood.

also while I’ve been to San Francisco I’ve never
been in the Castro Theater. what’s inadequate about
the restrooms?

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on March 23, 2015 at 7:39 am

This link has photos of a dual premiere at both the Chicago and State-Lake Theatres in 1940. Copy & paste to view.

http://www.vintag.es/2015/01/old-photos-of-chicagos-first-hollywood.html

dickneeds111
dickneeds111 on July 20, 2015 at 8:37 am

Here in Boston we still have several OLD theatres that werebuilt many years ago and have been completely refurbished. They are no longer considered movie houses but performing arts palaces. The Citiwang center(Metropolitan), The Opera House(RKO Keiths Memorial) and the Loews Orpheum( Orpheum-Aquarius- Orpheum). I don’t know if they meet BigJoe’s quals but all 3 are still standing, Rebuilt and prosperous. We have others thathave been gutted and remodeled to new specifications. They are the Modern and the Paramount. Both are not at all like the original except for the outside marquees and stone work.

dickneeds111
dickneeds111 on July 20, 2015 at 8:37 am

Here in Boston we still have several OLD theatres that werebuilt many years ago and have been completely refurbished. They are no longer considered movie houses but performing arts palaces. The Citiwang center(Metropolitan), The Opera House(RKO Keiths Memorial) and the Loews Orpheum( Orpheum-Aquarius- Orpheum). I don’t know if they meet BigJoe’s quals but all 3 are still standing, Rebuilt and prosperous. We have others thathave been gutted and remodeled to new specifications. They are the Modern and the Paramount. Both are not at all like the original except for the outside marquees and stone work.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on October 13, 2015 at 6:54 pm

I’ve added a few more photos to the Photos Section.

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

hdtv267
hdtv267 on July 13, 2016 at 4:53 am

Visiting Chicago or a resident of the Windy City and surrounding region?

I can’t emphasize how entertaining that the tour of this amazing venue is. I had the great pleasure to take it yesterday (July 11, 2016) – you learn about the history, and guided on a tour throughout the palace learning of it’s great history, architecture – even great story about the organ.

It was a treat to be able to get on stage at the end of the tour, then visit the dressing rooms. The walls leading up are worth the price of admission alone as the performers who played there signed them.

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/

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