Armitage Theatre

3553 W. Armitage Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60647

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RickB on October 24, 2018 at 4:52 pm

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

engr614 on February 11, 2018 at 3:21 am

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.

Broan on October 23, 2016 at 3:40 pm

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

Broan on October 23, 2016 at 3:37 pm

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

matthew1964 on July 31, 2012 at 10:45 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

KenC on May 27, 2008 at 12:00 am

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.

Broan on October 22, 2007 at 6:35 pm

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.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on September 28, 2007 at 12:28 am

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.

GrandMogul on March 29, 2007 at 9:27 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.

GFeret on January 15, 2007 at 3:37 pm

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.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on June 13, 2005 at 11:46 am

That photo posted by the Assessor’s Office is of the Armitage Theater building, with the modernized exterior. You see that raised portion to the left of the Dollar Day? That is the entrance to the theater lobby (or at least was when I saw the building in ‘89). Looks safe to say that this one is still around, at least in some form.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on June 12, 2005 at 10:59 pm

I think it lasted into the 80’s…pretty sure I remember the ads in the paper. The building stood at least until the end of the 80’s, and appeared to have been upgraded with a new exterior (in the 80’s from the looks). When I last saw the place around ‘89 the lobby was being used for storage. The auditorium still stood, and was probably being used in the same manner. All the store fronts were occupied. I took photographs at that time, which were later donated to THS. Are we sure this one is gone? The fact that someone invested in it makes me wonder if at least part of it is still there.

richardg on November 8, 2004 at 11:48 pm

The Armitage was definitely open during the 1950’s and the 60’s. I believe it showed films into or beyond the 1970’s. Evidently, the Armitage also showed classics from time to time. The Chicago Tribune from June 30, 1969, indicates the Armitage was showing, “Gone With The Wind”. The Patio and the Hub were showing the not so classics, “Green Slime” and “Charro” on the same date.

Kenny on November 8, 2004 at 9:57 pm

The Armitage may have closed around 1950, but reopened in the early 50’s.I remember going there for the Saturday matinees. I also remember that the owners name was Bob. On Saturdays he would come on stage and have a contest for the kids which consisted of stars attached to a large board. Ticket sutb numbers were called and if you held that number you had a chance to pick a star for a prize which was listed under it. Also, if you had a birthday you were also entitled to a prize. That’s all I remember,except that one of the scariest movies I saw there was “The Creature From The Black Lagoon”