Catlow Theater

116 W. Main Street,
Barrington, IL 60010

Unfavorite 15 people favorited this theater

Showing 22 comments

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 14, 2014 at 7:53 pm

A brief article about the Catlow Theatre appears on this page of Exhibitors Herald and Moving Picture World of April 14, 1928. Two photos of the auditorium can be seen on this page.

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!

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.

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.

kencmcintyre on May 21, 2009 at 5:20 am

Here is a December 1968 ad from the Daily Herald:

DavidZornig on April 26, 2009 at 12:42 am

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

Marktech on October 7, 2007 at 4:19 am

I serviced the Catlow projection and sound system in the 80’s and 90’s. I still remember Jim the relief projectionist and also the old gentleman who was the original full time projectionist there. He retired in the late 80’s and Jim retired sometime in the mid 90’s. I also remember him telling me about how he installed the very fisrt television antenna in Barrington.

The Catlow sound system was upgraded in the mid 90’s to include JBL 4675 stage speakers and JBL 8330 Surrounds. These speakers replaced the original RCA magnetic sound system speakers. In the booth we installed a Dolby CP-65 processor and new BGW power amps. This gear replaced an again EPRAD Starscope system.

Also in the late 90’s the Catlow underwent major structurial modifications. The main roof is supported by large wooden beams and some of these beams began to pull apart and or crack. This very extensive structural modification was done to guarantee the Catlow would not collapse and that it would be around for many years to come.

I do miss Baloneys alot… Roberta was constantly making the sandwiches bigger and bigger… Tim would raise the prices to accomodate the extra use of stuff going into them and then Roberta would make them larger yet…. It got to the point that if you could eat half the sandwich for lunch you were doing pretty good. The other half would be consumed for dinner.

We have no good deli’s out here in SLC… Hey Tim and Roberta… want to expand the sandwich shop?

GaryRickert on August 14, 2007 at 10:35 pm

m2violin: I don’t know when it was removed but it can’t be much later than 1968 (I would have thought earlier). I think it was removed by a Larry Coleman and someone else. They tried to install it in a church. Terry Kleven found it in a house’s basement and sold
it to me in maybe 1970. I only got the console; I don’t know what happened to the rest of the stuff. Someone told me the 16' diaphone was left behind in the theatre and was disposed of sometime later by persons unknown. You can reach Terry at 612-331-2444. I know he knows more than I do.

m2violin on August 14, 2007 at 10:10 pm

To Gary Rickert,

I vaguely remember the organ (my family moved to Barrington in 1968). I can’t remember ever hearing it played, though. Do you know when the organ was removed?

I’d definitely be interested in knowing what became of the organ’s components.

kencmcintyre on August 4, 2007 at 6:46 am

Here is a 7/20/61 ad from the Arlington Herald:

GaryRickert on June 5, 2007 at 1:57 pm

I have the original 3 manual console from the Kimball pipe organ form the Catlow connected to the organ in my home. I believe the remainder of the organ was scatered to the winds. Anyone want more info.?

Gary Rickert

GaryRickert on June 5, 2007 at 1:44 pm

To Michael LeVan – the Patio always was always (and still is) the Patio (closed) – the Avalon was and still is the Avalon (closed).

CatherineDiMartino on February 1, 2007 at 6:04 pm

From what I’ve read in the DAILY HERALD, periodically there seems to be news that this theatre will close. Yet it always appears to bounce back.

Broan on November 13, 2006 at 11:41 pm

Here is a photo of a replica of the Catlow’s auditorium from the fourth of July. It was truly a spectacular replica.

bleedingchicago on March 16, 2006 at 1:50 pm

Hey everybody

I am a Michael LeVan. I have lived in the city of Chicago my entire life. I am a filmmaker and a attendee of Columbia College, heading into my final year. I love all the old movie palaces of Chicago. It has been my intent for sometime to Make a documentary on the history, and the ongoings of these historic theaters in the present. The means to make this documentary are finally in my grasp. I planned on featuring 3 theaters, the Copernicus Center(formally The Gateway), The Patio(Formally The Avalon), and The Uptown. While the Documentary will focus on the entire history, These are the three that will be visual examples, and the ones i would like to film in. I have spoken with the People at The Gateway Theater, and they are estatic that i am doing this. The only problem now is The Uptown and the The Patio. These two theaters seem to have ghosts of owners , or even managers. If somebody could help me in finding someone to talk too, i would be very appriciative. Also, this documentary will require interviews, and finding old information as well. If anybody would be kind enough to do either that would be fantastic. My somewhat set date to start filming is June 10 ,2006. My goal with the entire project is to help and benifit these theaters. Help alot more people to gain interest, and all the profit that i attain, if any, will be donated to help with these theaters. I am going to submit it to Wttw(Pbs Chicago) , and also the History Channel. So if anyone would like to help in anyway, they can contact me at my email.

or by phone (773)-656-5821

Well i appriciate if you read that entire thing, and hopefully i will be hearing from you

Michael Levan of Bleeding Chicago Productions

m2violin on July 8, 2005 at 5:16 pm

Ah, you brought back so many happy memories from my youth! How well I remember all the movies I saw first-run at the Catlow in the 1960’s & 1970’s.

The Catlow was truly a theatre for the community. I remember the children’s matinees during what were called “Teacher Institute Days” when kids were out of school. Also how Ed Skehan (did I get the name right?) used to add his own hand-lettered notes to the posters to provide guidance to parents above/beyond the movie ratings system (which was very new back in the 1960’s-1970’s). Does anyone remember the mini-controversy over the screening of “Midnight Cowboy,” the first X-rated film shown in Barrington? I don’t think it would even be rated “R” today.

The Catlow Theatre is an incredible, one-of-a-kind theatre. No shoebox theatre in those 60-screen multiplex monstrosities can come close to the experience you get taking in a show at the Catlow. I notice that people even interact differently in the Catlow than in other theatres — there’s something about the Catlow that encourages a sense of community. Maybe it’s just the English village design.

I hope the Catlow is around for many years to come. I have faith that it will be — the people of Barrington have been smart enough to preserve the beauty and unique small-town atmosphere of our lovely town, and I have faith my fellow Barringtonians will continue to cherish the Catlow for generations to come.

russlombard on February 26, 2005 at 3:19 am

I saw “Kagemusha” at the Catlow in 1980 or 1981. One of my favorite cinematic memories. I sincerely hope that this one-of-a-kind theater can be saved.

Patsy on December 22, 2004 at 8:14 pm

First one in Tudor Revival style that I’ve seen…very interesting.

Ross Melnick
Ross Melnick on August 8, 2001 at 6:01 pm

A new grassroots effort has begun in Barrington, Illinois to save the historic and popular Catlow Theater. Supporters are asking local residents to sign a petition asking village officials to become more involved in the Catlow’s preservation and conversion into an arts and community center.

The deadline for signatures will be Wednesday, August 15th and the petition will then be presented to village officials at their August 16th meeting. Petitions are currently located at the Catlow Theater (112-16 W. Main St.) and inside Boloney’s Sandwich Shop (114 W. Main St.) More locations around town will be announced shortly.

According to the Catlow Theater (, “The village needs to know that there is support for this effort from within the community before they will act. This is your chance to show your support and help preserve Barrington’s favorite historic treasure.”

The tudor revival Catlow is one of the few remaining single-screen theaters in the area and, rarer still, it is still showing movies on one of the larger screens around.