Catlow Theater

116 W. Main Street,
Barrington, IL 60010

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Catlow Theater

Viewing: Photo | Street View

A classic neighborhood movie theater with a truly unique architectural blend.

Named for its original owner, a local businessman named Wright Catlow, this Tudor Revival/Jacobean-inspired theater opened on May 28th, 1927. It was built by the Chicago firm of Betts & Holcomb.

The main historical feature of the Catlow Theater is the interior design by renowned sculptor & designer, Alfonso Iannelli, who collaborated with such famous architects as Frank Lloyd Wright, Barry Byrne, Purcell & Emlslie, and Bruce Goff. (More historical information on Iannelli available at the Catlow website.)

The Catlow Theater featured movies and live acts on its stage from 1927 to 1933. Some of the famous artists appearing there include Gene Autry, Sally Rand – the fan dancer, and Red Norvo. The theater changed over to a movies-only format by 1934.

In 1988, the Catlow Theater added the convenience of in-theater dining via the adjoining Boloney’s Sandwich Shop. The following year, the Catlow Theater was placed on the National Register Of Historic Places.

The Catlow Theater was the first theater in Illinois to have a website (1995) and one of only a handful in the country to have one at the time.

The Catlow Theater is still in operation and still showing movies. Its mid-run features are just $4 a seat.

The owners are currently in negotiations with the Village of Barrington to purchase the theater for use as a Community/Performing Arts Center.

Contributed by Tim O'Connor

Recent comments (view all 29 comments)

DavidZornig on April 26, 2009 at 12:42 am

Wow, I had no idea this place existed.
Thanks to CT & everyone whose posted pictures.

kencmcintyre on May 21, 2009 at 5:20 am

Here is a December 1968 ad from the Daily Herald:

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 14, 2009 at 7:22 pm

This is an October 2009 photo of the Catlow.

jwballer on January 28, 2010 at 9:44 pm

A 3/8 Kimball Was installed in the theatre in 1927

tim on April 15, 2010 at 1:10 pm

“They should renovate this place its sort of a dump”

Yeah, we would love to, but with what money? We’re doing the best we can considering the times. There’s a lot more competition (with all the latest equipment) out there these days. Being an old-time single screen theater isn’t easy, but we’re still plugging along on our own. And most of our loyal patrons seem to enjoy coming here.

TLSLOEWS on April 22, 2010 at 2:32 am

Good luck Tim,some people think money justs falls out of the sky.Nice looking vertical and marquee.

m2violin on July 27, 2012 at 5:01 am

The Catlow Theater is threatened with extinction with Hollywood’s move to digital films. The cost of new equipment to show digital films runs around $100K. No problem for the huge multiplex chain theaters-but for a small single-screen cinema like The Catlow, this can easily put our beloved cinema out of business.

Tim and his fiance, Roberta, have launched a fundraising campaign to get the money for the new equipment and keep The Catlow alive and kicking. Go to the website below to contribute. In just one day 179 supporters have already pledged more than $16K for the new equipment. Barrington residents, those of us who grew up in Barrington, and cinema lovers from around the world are rising up to save this icon from extinction.

PS to Tim: You and Roberta are doing a FANTASTIC job! Thank you!

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