Armitage Theatre

3553 W. Armitage Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60647

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Armitage Theatre

Built on thwe site of the Bismark Theatre(1911-1916). The Avenue Theatre was a 950-seat theatre located on W. Armitage Avenue between N. Drake Avenue and Central Park Avenue in the Humboldt Park neighborhood.

Later renamed Armitage Theatre, it operated at least into the 1980’s before it closed. It last served as a Spanish-language movie house named Teatro Armitage. Today, at least a portion of the former theatre building houses a dollar store.

Contributed by Ray Martinez

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

GFeret on January 15, 2007 at 7:37 am

The ARMITAGE Theatre auditorium (exterior) today is very readily identifiable, if one but looks from the DRAKE Ave side there.

This was a favorite childhood haunt of mine, and I recall the Sat. matinee kiddie contests mentioned above. The kind of place one went to for Jerry Lewis or Japanese monster movies. The screen unfortunately showed the usual signs of juvenile abuse.

My guess is that although the auditorium’s used as warehouse/ storage, there’s still a lot of (old) theatre inside of it even now. I say this because I was able to take a peek myself not too many years ago.

GrandMogul on March 29, 2007 at 1:27 pm

Chicago Daily News, Thursday, October 7, 1954, p. 53, c. 1:
by Sam Lesner
Four of Chicago’s closed movie houses are reopening!
The Essex theater, Sheridan rd. near Lake Shore dr., closed for two years, reopens Friday with the widely acclaimed French-Italian omnibus film, “The Seven Deadly Sins.”

The Calo Theater, 5406 N. Clark, another victim of the theater-devouring TV giant, will be reopened Oct. 22, with Jack Webb’s “Dragnet,” the first feature length film version of Webb’s TV program which was No. 1 in the Hooper ratings for September. (Isn’t that poetic justice, or something?)

The 400 theater, another North Side film house that has been dark for some time, is being remodeled for a new lease on its former movie life.

The Armitage, 3545-51, also an early TV victim, is being remodeled for an early reopening—-as a film house, of course.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on September 27, 2007 at 4:28 pm

I stopped here the other night while travelling through the neighborhood. It still looks the same as it did the last time I saw it in the late 80’s. The only difference is that the lobby isn’t open anymore. In the late 80’s they were using the lobby for storage, and both high ceiling and original tile floor were visible. Now there is a drop ceiling and floor coverings for retail use. Hard to say what is left of the auditorium at this point. But the shell is definitely still there, albeit with a large rolling steel door punched in the side facing the alley.

Broan on October 22, 2007 at 10:35 am

A building permit shows Alexander Levy as the architect for a building here built in 1911. I think that the lobby may have been a 1911 nickelodeon that was then converted when the larger auditorium was added.

KenC on May 26, 2008 at 4:00 pm

From the Chicago Sun Times movie listings dated Sat. Oct. 16, 1965: ARMITAGE 3553 Armitage -Open 1:00 1st RUN CHICAGO “ROBOT vs. AZTEC MUMMY” – “VAMPIRE’S COFFIN” -BEATLES “GO-GO MANIA” Plus FRANKENSTEIN- DRACULA & Others IN Person TONIGHT AT 7:45. The two horror films were also playing at the Imperial theatre on Madison St.(DRACULA AND THE MONSTERS ONE SHOW ONLY AT 4:30 P.M.) and at the Irving theatre(Irving and Pulaski) SEE DRACULA -FRANKENSTEIN-THE FACELESS CHILLER- ALL IN PERSON AT 7:00 P.M. ONLY! I guess the monsters…er, actors- went from one theatre to another putting on a stage show. Never experienced it, but I bet it was fun…a more innocent time. A less innocent time- on Friday, Sept. 4, 1970- the Armitage had turned to adult films. From the movie listings: ARMITAGE ADULT THEATRE Open 6 P.M. NEW POLICY- Exciting Films at Chicago’s LOWEST ADULT THEATRE PRICES “MOONSHINE LOVE” “Beast That Killed Women”. Not sure how long this policy lasted, but I suspect the Armitage closed by the early 70s.

matthew1964 on July 31, 2012 at 2:45 pm

I remember the armitage back in the 79,,80,,81,, it was the closest to my house me and a friend use to go watch these goofy martial arts ,,movies ,,after sitting thru the features ,,i had to walk home with this nut constantly ,throwing kicks and karate punches at me ,,matt

Broan on October 23, 2016 at 7:37 am

Real estate listings (active for several years) note that demolition of the auditorium is planned

Broan on October 23, 2016 at 7:40 am

The 5 year old Bismark theater on the same site was razed in 1916 to build the Armitage.

engr614 on February 10, 2018 at 7:21 pm

Does anybody remember the “Bozo/Bobo” the clown scam held at the Armitage theatre say around 1961 -1964 ? A group had put together a show featuring “ Bozo the Clown'. A packed house full of moms and kids filled the place waiting for Bozo. There were promotional signs put up all over Humbolt Park advertising this show , only to find out that it ended up being some broken-down guy as Bobo, with the promoters claiming it had been a ” miss-print". Any information on this would be greatly appreciated.

RickB on October 24, 2018 at 8:52 am

Building and neighbors have been renovated; owner says he’s finalizing a deal to lease the theater space. Block Club Chicago story here.

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