Grand Theater

3433 W. North Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60647

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Grand Theater

This Humboldt Park neighborhood theater located on W. North Avenue at N. St. Louis Avenue originally had a Style E Wurlitzer theater organ. It opened in 1913.

In the mid-1960’s the theater went by the name of the Grand International for a brief time, showing Polish and Czech-language films. By 1968, it was renamed the Grand Playhouse, screening adult movies. When the Grand Theater closed in the mid-1970’s, it was showing Spanish-language films. The theater was demolished in the early-1980’s and the site remains an empty plot in 2018.

Contributed by Ray Martinez

Recent comments (view all 17 comments)

Scrabble
Scrabble on March 2, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Thanks for the picture of the Grand Theatre, and that’s exactly how I remember it, being so small. I believe there was a shoe store just west of the theatre and a soda show just east of it where they had the most delicous lime rickeys.

To enjoy a photo gallery of magnificient theaters, go to: chicagotribune.com/chicagotheaters

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on November 8, 2012 at 3:15 pm

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre in its adult days, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

GFeret
GFeret on April 30, 2013 at 6:08 pm

if ever there was a photo of dear old GRAND Theatre in its dying days that black & white one is it. of course i remember the ‘soda shop’ immdiately to its east with the delicious lime rickey drinks, it was run by the family of one of my grammar school classmates, and they sold buttered popcorn that was so over-drenched with topping that’d always oil stain my clothes yet i couldn’t resist

DennisP
DennisP on July 17, 2014 at 6:57 pm

I was an usher there in 1962 – 1963. The soda shop next door was called the “slop shop” by the guys that hung out there. The actual name was Wisel’s sweet shop. The owners Joe and Sam lived in the apartments above the shop.

GFeret
GFeret on July 17, 2014 at 10:27 pm

thank you Dennis

Scrabble
Scrabble on July 20, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Thank you for the photo and comments. I remember going to the Sweet Shop for the most delicious Lime Aid or Lime Ricky drink. I believe it was made with seltzer water, and lime juice possibly, and then it had pieces of real lime on top, and it was so so refreshing. One time, in 1969, I took the pieces of lime into my mouth, and then I developed pretty bad cold sores, but I truly enjoyed the lime drink. There was a shoe store just west of the Sweet Shop, and my Mom would take us there too.

GFeret
GFeret on July 21, 2014 at 7:01 pm

shoe store maybe at the corner w/ st louis

engr614
engr614 on February 11, 2018 at 3:31 am

The Slop Shop. Do you remember the guy behind the counter? He looked like Groucho Marx. Great place for Cherry Cokes and Vanilla Cokes and Green Rivers. Do you remember the spinning racks in the middle filled with those plastic silly joke/toys? Buzzer shaking hands,flower that squirt water, fake puke,etc.?

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on July 3, 2018 at 3:43 am

Christmas Eve 1971 print ad added for Grand Playhouse, via ProQuest. Advertising: “Two 16mm FILMS”–“On Our Full Screen & Color!”

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