2424 N. Lincoln Avenue,
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Directly across Lincoln Avenue from the much more famous Biograph Theatre, where John Dillinger was killed, sits the 3 Penny Cinema, which has been around just as long.
Opened in 1912 as a nickelodeon called the Lincoln Theatre, it became the Fullerton Theatre from 1914 to 1916. The building afterward was converted into a garage and machine shop. It was reopened in the late-1930’s as the Crest Theatre. On May 29, 1968 it was renamed 3 Penny Cinema and is often remembered with dubious fame as the site of the Chicago premiere of “Deep Throat”. Among its other historical highlights was hosting the FBI sharpshooters on its roof who sought to prevent Dilinger’s escape from the Biograph Theatre.
Though neither ornate or a palace by any means of the imagination, the theater was one of Chicago’s more popular movie houses. The decor was minimal, but the exterior still retained an antique ticket booth and fragments of its original Neo-Classical facade.
The auditorium, which once housed about 500, was divided into two screens in 1989 with one seating about 230 and the other seating 120.
The 3 Penny Cinema also featured foreign, classic, and independent films.
The 3 Penny Cinema was unfortuntely closed in June of 2006 by the city of Chicago due to its owners non-payment of amusement taxes, ending the movie-going experience on this stretch of Lincoln Avenue dating back to the early decades of the 20th century. The Biograph Theatre closed in 2004 and is has since been transformed into a live theatre venue owned by the Victory Gardens theatrical company.
The former 3 Penny Theatre re-opened as a concert venue named Lincoln Hall on October 16, 2009.
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