Parkway Theatre

2738 N. Clark Street,
Chicago, IL 60614

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porkchop
porkchop on February 4, 2014 at 5:36 am

I lived at Buckingham and Halsted in the 70’s. During this period the Parkway showed a different double feature every night of the week for $2.50. This in itself was unique. But they also printed a flyer two or three months in advance, so you could plan ahead for 90 double features! Truffaut, Bergman, films so esoteric that I can’t even remember. This is the theater where I saw Eraserhead when it first came out. I remember sitting in the balcony and the audience was stone cold silent, like they didn’t know what the hell was going on. A few days later I saw it again and everyone was laughing. Ha!

bertop1
bertop1 on December 20, 2013 at 7:06 am

The Parkway.Wow my favorite theater as a kid.I guess because i lived right around the corner from it and it was cheap.I went to alcott school which is right down the street from it.Orchard and Wrightwood.I used to hang out at the playground every weekend.So Saturday or Sundays me and my friends would got to the parkway and then there was a fast food restaurant called Yankee Doodle Dandy on the corner,does any one remember it? Had so much fun at the Parkway….

gordonio
gordonio on December 31, 2012 at 4:16 am

btkrefft and DavidZornig: Thanks for your photo and comments! I remember taking that streetcar down/up Clark street from my home at Newport near Clark all the way to downtown way back in the late 40’s and early ‘50’s. I think it cost a nickel. See the wall poster for Jays Potato Chips in the background? My dad used to take me to the Parkway when it showed 3 film changes a week and I was lucky to see movies from the late 1940’s and 1950’s that were several years old as a second or even third feature there.(I saw “Buffalo Bill (1944)”, “The Uninvited (1944)”,“Lorna Doone (1951)”, “The Thing from Another World (1951)”,“The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)”,“The Master of Ballantrae (1953)” to name a few that I remember). The area around Diversey and Clark had three great movie houses all within a block or so of each other back then: The beautiful Century movie palace showing first run films straight after their downtown run; the Parkway showing films like 'Abbot and Costello’ and ‘Francis the Talking Mule’; and the Covent that showed wonderful foreign and “Art” films, like “The Man in the White Suit”, “I am a Camera (1955)and "And God Created Woman”. What memories …

rebelvickster
rebelvickster on October 8, 2012 at 6:19 am

I remember seeing movies like ghost and Mr chicken, flesh eaters and kitten with a whip…all on the same bill on the weekend…and it was 25ยข….sigh

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on July 31, 2011 at 11:45 am

That’s a Martin Kennelly banner above the bus. The incumbent that Richard J. Daley would defeat to become Mayor of Chicago in April 1955.

danvincetquipatitur
danvincetquipatitur on April 13, 2011 at 9:06 am

It is so good to see the Parkway again in the above image. I hadn’t seen it in years and forgot some of the details. Thank you.

I still literally have dreams that a “new” Parway has opened – I often dream I am riding the bus on my way there.

Tomorrow is my birthday so i’ll consider this image a present from God. Thank you for the Parkway and how it enriched my life. :)

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on April 13, 2011 at 8:01 am

I don’t see that this image from American Classic Images has been posted:

View link

rgeorge61
rgeorge61 on November 30, 2009 at 5:23 pm

I grew up on Belden & Clark when it was a working class area and the Parkway Theater wasn’t far from there. I first went there with my Mom and sisters and later went with friends seeing 2-3 movies in an afternoon in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. I saw movies that were never going to win any awards but it didn’t matter. I saw monster, horror, kung fu and any B-rated movie you could imagine. It was a great time and I will always remember the fun and friends.

djg51qu
djg51qu on October 5, 2009 at 10:08 pm

My first memory of the Parkway was seeing a line around the block for Harold and Maude. My first film there was Swept Away by Wertmueller in 1980. I think I saw Dr. Strangelove there 10 times. The other movie I loved seeing was Marat/Sade – I never missed it. There was once a film about Mahler…oh my god if I keep thinking of the films I saw there I’ll cry. Dr. Caligari…Strawdogs…2001…I DREAM that I am riding the 22 bus and I see that the Parkway has been reopened!!!!!!

I spent my teen years going there. I’d love to keep in touch with others who loved this place. I’m Dan – if you want to drop me a line. I live in New York City now and work as a teacher here.

vicboda
vicboda on October 5, 2009 at 7:22 am

I lived in this neighborhood in the mid 70s but I never went to this theater. I remember hearing that it was a real dump. By the time Landmark took it over I was long gone.

Bruce C.
Bruce C. on June 30, 2009 at 4:59 am

Here’s one of my pictures of the Parkway from May 23, 2008:

View link

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on April 12, 2009 at 3:39 am

Reactivate notification status.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 27, 2009 at 2:08 pm

That’s understandable. If you’re searching through net archives for news articles, though, you will get more hits if you use 2736 instead of 2738.

Broan
Broan on January 27, 2009 at 1:01 pm

A chicago lot is about 20 feet wide. Most theatre buildings and entrances span at least 2 lots. So addresses are interchangeable.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 27, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Most of the Chicago Tribune stories from the teens and twenties place the theater at 2736 N. Clark.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on November 29, 2008 at 12:59 pm

The current occupant is Lenscrafters. Function should be retail.
http://tinyurl.com/5ak7tx

tgilkey
tgilkey on October 17, 2008 at 5:22 pm

Jeramy, I’m Terry G. and I worked for you at the Parkway from mid-1980 to 1981. I remember well climbing through the bathroom window to put up a clever slogan for the next days' films. I was great watching all of the great classic films on my off hours. I remember making the fresh popcorn for the customers. There needs to be more Reperatory Film Theaters around. I live in Cincinnati and we have nothing. Here’s to great classic films and the old Parkway!

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on September 7, 2008 at 7:15 am

Strangely we were only in the Parkway a few times. Once in the early `70’s for the sequel to “Chariots of the Gods”, whatever that was. And once for a rare theatre showing of “Guide For The Married Man” after the Parkway had become a revival house.

I seem to remember the Parkway maquee’s italicized font, was the same as that of Parkway Drugs on Diversey East of the Ravenswood stop.
The Parkway Drugs signage I believe being the old ceramic, enamel panel tiles type.

FYI. This is off topic, but I noticed the Lincoln Tap Room on Lincoln Ave., just restored their original ceramic enamel wall signage/panels. Covered for years by paint. If anyone else enjoys seeing the old renewed as I do.

jeramyturner
jeramyturner on November 26, 2007 at 6:46 pm

I managed the magnificent Parkway for Landmark Corp. from 1980 to 1984. A few
things: It was built in 1911, as a vaudeville house. Charlie Chaplin, by the
way, lived right down the street. Might he have performed there? The furnace
and air conditioning system were maintained from 1911. The 35 mm. projectors
were the originals.
The house held 950, including the (non-horseshoe shaped) balcony. The ceilings
behind the screen went up 4 or so flights, to accommodate the levels used to
let down backdrops for the theatrical productions. The flights were connected by
ladders, only.
Also, behind the theatre was an attached, unheated, never-having-been-heated,
room the size of a large garage. This was where the vaudeville troops would
live while they performed there. There was no plumbing, either.

With Landmark, the theatre was always, most always, packed. We ran films from
noon every day to 12 midnight, double bills, changing every day. That’s about
730 films per year! The films cans (35mm and heavy) would have to be taken up
to the projection booth 3 floors up, and then, down. A lot of carrying!

The lobby wasn’t THAT short, although it was way too small to accommodate the
huge crowds who would cluster there to smoke and discuss the films. There was so
much interaction then!
The office was under the stairs, in what should have been a broom closet. It
featured a secret window into the theatre.

Landmark Theatre hired a Californian drug dealer to renovate, in 1982, and that
destroyed much of the original beauty, making the place look like a Mexican
restaurant. But the films remained, the audiences remained, and they did not
stop coming when home video came along. Instead, Landmark joined forces with a
real estate company from Denver, and the place went corporate. They closed the
Parkway because it cost more to heat a theater in Chicago than in Los Angeles,
so our expenses were too high. And that was that.Before, this had been a really
progressive film company in California, run by Gary Meyers and programmed by
Jan Klingelhoffer who were both brave and brilliant people.
The programming was brilliant indeed! Well known repetory, obscure foreign
films, directors' festivals, any number of possibilities.
Another thing of note: the staff would choose a “saying” to put on the marquee
every night, along with the film titles. This meant climbing out the bathroom
window, often in very icey conditions, and applying the letters upside down.
These sayings were often quite intelligent (as was the staff, which did not
consist of teenagers trying to make extra money but of film scholars and
aficionados.)
I heartily miss the Parkway.

Broan
Broan on October 1, 2007 at 7:37 am

Recent photos of this theatre are HERE

scorseseisgod
scorseseisgod on August 25, 2007 at 8:40 am

Here’s a link to a complete Parkway schedule from April 5 to June 7 1981.

View link

zombiegr
zombiegr on July 11, 2007 at 1:43 pm

you bet this was a great Grindhouse. I remember at the age 14 going with my very twisted British friend Martin for his birthday to see a triple Saturday feature of Alligator, The Howling and The Brother From Another Planet.

scorseseisgod
scorseseisgod on July 5, 2007 at 8:20 pm

Here’s a photo from 1980 when it was a revival house owned by Landmark.

View link

Bing00
Bing00 on May 23, 2007 at 5:38 pm

I saw Arsenic and Old Lace in the ‘80’s. The seats, well everything, was tiny.

karmaquences
karmaquences on January 26, 2007 at 7:11 am

My brother and I would go to the Parkway Theater, Covent or the Century, as kids in the ‘50’s. We lived on Fullerton Pkwy. and we had access to the Biograph and the Crest, going the other direction.

It was wonderful having so many theaters, from which to choose.
I remember winning a doll, at the weekly give away, at the Parkway.
My brother also won a chalk board. I believe we paid a quarter for a double feature. Oh, the memories!