Chicago Theatre

175 N. State Street,
Chicago, IL 60601

Unfavorite 88 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 269 comments

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.

bigjoe59 on March 19, 2014 at 1:18 pm


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?

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 d├ęcor.

robboehm on February 11, 2014 at 10:09 am

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

LouRugani on February 18, 2013 at 7:34 pm

(Chicago Tribune, September 27, 1996)

Sign Of The Times

State Street Is Losing Its Brightest Light, But Only For A Short While.

Chicago Theatre Getting A Brand-new Old Look

By Sabrina L. Miller, Tribune Staff Writer.

Aging stars don’t burn out—they get replaced. After 75 illuminating years, the towering Chicago Theatre sign, State Street’s brightest star and one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks, is coming down this week. The 76-foot-high steel sign, with 2,534 lights screaming “Chicago” for all to see, is corroded beyond repair and must be removed, said Chicago Theatre Executive Director Wendy Heimann-Nunes.

“We are ensuring that the sign will look as it did when it was first put up,” he said.

Theater officials discovered the sign’s deterioration during a routine inspection last March, after the Civic Preservation Foundation assumed management of the theater. The sign appeared fine on the outside, but 75 years of Chicago’s harsh weather had taken its toll on the inside.

“It had to be close to falling, the steel was so rusted,” said Steve Kieffer, owner of Kieffer & Co., the Sheboygan, Wis., firm that is manufacturing the replica for $500,000.

“If it was at all possible to keep the original, we would have done it,” said Heimann-Nunes. “But it would have cost us two to three times as much to repair than to replace.”

So, how does one go about replicating a national landmark? Painstakingly, said Kieffer. Everything must be identical, from the seams between the metal pieces and obsolete maintenance ladders inside the top of the sign to intricate scrollwork.

The entire project will take about 860 hours of work, he said. The sign will be made in Sheboygan, then shipped to the Kieffer firm’s Buffalo Grove office, where an installation team will take it to Chicago.

The replica will be constructed from aluminum, which weighs about one-third less than the current steel sign and will ease stress on the building, Kieffer said. There will be a modern wiring system and “chaser” lights around the perimeter will be reconnected.

“We’ve gone to the nth degree to replicate it,” Heimann-Nunes said. “I don’t think anybody will know the difference.”

KenC on January 18, 2013 at 11:49 am

In the 1957 movie “BEGINNING OF THE END”, you can see the Chicago and Loop theatres at exactly 1 hour and 23 seconds into the film. On the Chicago marquee “MOBY DICK” ; the Loop is showing “MEET ME IN LAS VEGAS”. Can be seen- for free- at YouTube.

Broan on November 4, 2012 at 7:44 am

Here is a great picture showing the wonderful detail of the second marquee.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on October 29, 2012 at 11:29 am

This photo was not taken across the street on the State-Lake marquee. The State-Lake was directly across the street from the Chicago. This photo may have been taken from the L station platform.

Scott on October 29, 2012 at 11:24 am

Interesting photo. Obviously taken from the marquee of the State-Lake Theatre across the street.

RickB on September 3, 2012 at 11:39 am

So who are Chad and Francois? They have their names on the Chicago’s marquee at the 16-second mark of this AT&T spot.

Broan on June 26, 2012 at 4:27 pm

nope. closest is the patio.

bigjoe59 on June 26, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Hello From NYC-

if i am not mistaken the big building period for grand old movie theaters or palaces to use the popular term was 1913-1941? this is where my question comes in.

none of the theaters built in Manhattan to be exclusive first run engagement theaters survive as such. for instance Radio City Music Hall is now a multi-purpose venue and hasn’t been a 1st run theater since 1979. so i was wondering if any of the grand old movie theaters/palaces built in Chicago in the period mentioned above have continued to operate in more or less their original condition as exclusive 1st rum theaters since the day they opened? Washington,D.C has the Uptown and L.A. has Grauman’s Chinese
among a few but Manhattan comes up zippo as does San Francisco.

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on June 19, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Not that I like Conan O'Brien’s TV show, but I suffered through last week’s from the magnificent Chicago Theatre… I druled at the opulence of the cavernous auditorium and the camera angles of that panoramic sized stage. Shame for no opening curtain. Next year hopefully?… it’s what showbiz is all about!

Brad Smith
Brad Smith on May 5, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Click here for an exterior view of the Chicago Theatre in 1930.

Broan on April 19, 2012 at 6:38 am

Most, but not all, of this section of stud lighting works. The part around the marquee does not. The upper part does not. It’s rarely turned on.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on April 19, 2012 at 6:18 am

CSWalczak, that must be an old photo. Thankfully the stud lighting has been restored. I’ve seen it on with a number of bulbs burned out (it must be a pain to replace them) so I’m not sure how often they turn it on.

To see a photo of them on, go above and Click on VIEW ALL 308 COMMENTS, go to the bottom and Click on “Box” 7, go to lostmemory March 1, 2007 that has the photo.

Bob Jensen
Manteno, Illinois

CSWalczak on April 18, 2012 at 1:22 pm

I am sure that that is what they are. I wish they would restore that stud lighting that used to enhance those arches. You can see that many of the bulbs and sockets are broken.

BobbyS on March 12, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Thanks Tinseltoes for “The Dolly Sisters” premiere photo. That was some premiere on State st. Enjoyed the street car tracks too.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on February 17, 2012 at 5:10 am

I happened to be downtown Tuesday. It isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I still think it’s cheap to brand a traditional symbol of the city. But that is the way things have been going in the U.S. over the last ten years, and if it gets some cash flow for the theater you can’t complain too much.

Mikeoaklandpark on February 9, 2012 at 10:57 am

Years ago when it was showing movies ti had Plitt in the same spot.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on February 9, 2012 at 10:51 am

This doesn’t bother me that much. Whatever it takes to keep the theatre open. And besides…at least they didn’t change the name of the theatre to the “Chase Theatre”. I think the real travesty was having the Shubert Theater’s name being changed altogether to the Bank of America Theater. Now THAT’S bad!!!

JRS40 on February 9, 2012 at 10:08 am

If you look at the picture at the top of the page, the Chase name is in the wavy horizontal part just above the first C. I noticed it walking by the theater just the other day.

Broan on February 9, 2012 at 9:19 am

It’s still The Chicago Theatre. The masthead on the website reads “The Chicago Theatre presented by Chase” but I don’t see anywhere else using that verbiage. I figured out the date by going through Flickr.

Broan on February 9, 2012 at 7:57 am

The sign was always meant to have a name of some sort up there, though.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on February 9, 2012 at 6:36 am

That is so bad. It doesn’t bother me on the Oriental or Palace. But this is a symbol of the city.