Roosevelt Theater

110 N. State Street,
Chicago, IL 60602

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rivest266 on November 13, 2016 at 9:29 am

April 25th, 1921 grand opening ad in the photo section.

Broan on October 23, 2016 at 12:49 pm has a nice section on the opening of the Roosevelt.

hdtv267 on August 28, 2016 at 3:43 am

Great history of this theatre. Ironic how considering the fare that used to run at the Roosevelt- that a high end AMC theatre with food, recliners & reserved seating are in this space now as part of the Block 37 project.

The Roosevelt hosted the world premier of the 1953 Chicago based film noir “City that never Sleeps” The text of the advert from the Chicago Tribute runs below, (taken from IMDB)

World Premiere! Today—8:45 am, Balaban & Katz Roosevelt theatre, State nr Washington—-Hollywood Comes To Chicago!—-Be among the first to see this thrilling motion picture … actually filmed from dusk to dawn on the streets of Chicago! See the Stars On Our Stage—IN PERSON— 6:30 pm—9:30 pm, Gig Young, Mala Powers, Chill Wills … The Mechanical Man … Sees All … Knows All … and tells a tale of Murder! Is he wax and metal or flesh and blood? A murder was committed before his eyes. What can he reveal? The killer had to know. Herbert J. Yates presents City That Never Sleeps, starring Gig Young, Mala Powers, William Talman, the killer in “The Hitch-Hicker”, Edward Arnold, with Chill Wills, Marie Windsor, Paula Raymond. Republic Pictures Corporation

DavidZornig on February 28, 2016 at 2:03 pm

11/21/69-12/04/69 photo added, photo credit John P. Keating Jr.

DavidZornig on May 23, 2014 at 1:58 pm

The Roosevelt is seen at 11:30 in this Vivian Maier film.

DavidZornig on January 10, 2013 at 6:57 pm

FYI. Added to the Photos section one I found of Facebook of an Auburn promotion at the Roosevelt.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on August 28, 2011 at 6:27 am

The description of the Roosevelt might be changed to say that after the theatre was demolished, some single-story, temporary looking, retail structures were built in its place. These buildings lasted less than ten years.

Here are some views of the buildings that initially replaced the Roosevelt.

Broan on August 6, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Here is an advertisement with an early photo

Broan on July 27, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Here is a 1950 photo

CompassRose on February 20, 2011 at 9:05 am

Outside the Roosevelt in 1961: Roosevelt, 1961

TLSLOEWS on June 21, 2010 at 11:05 am

Now this theatre had one large marquee.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 20, 2010 at 9:27 am

Photo of Roosevelt in Boxoffice magazine, June 5, 1954 (top left):
View link

JudithK on May 19, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Never got into the Roosevelt Theatre; it was DEFINITELY the bookings that scared me off.

CSWalczak on May 13, 2009 at 10:15 pm

There are two interior pictures of Chicago’s Roosevelt Theater on this website:
Hit the Slide Show link and the pictures are within that set.

DavidZornig on April 14, 2009 at 12:33 pm

Rather stately looking even when shuttered. Too bad it couldn’t have hung on until the “rebirth” of theater downtown.

kencmcintyre on February 19, 2009 at 10:08 am

Here is a photo from the Chicago Tribune showing the theater in 1980, after it closed.

DavidZornig on December 6, 2008 at 10:17 am

To Bob Jensen & Flickchick, the “Treasure Chest” was the name of the arcade that sold the gag gifts, had pinball, wooden ball bowling & such.
Even switchblades that were boldly on display in glass cases.

kencmcintyre on November 30, 2008 at 2:42 pm

Here is a 1956 photo from Life Magazine:

DavidZornig on November 17, 2008 at 8:48 pm

Nice picture indeed LTS. It kind of shocked me when it scrolled up.

Somewhere I have an octagonal paving brick from the State Street Mall.
Can’t blame Mayor Bryne for trying.
The city actually maintained the cab & bus traffic only thing long after the mall idea fizzled. If only the 1992 flood hadn’t occurred, we’d still be able to street park down there. Once they saw how traffic was moving, meters were history. (Not counting Wabash)

I thought that the Roosevelt Theatre had run a closed circuit showing of the Frazier-Foreman fight back in `74. But I see no break in the movie action on the list.
Must have been one of the other downtown theatres. The Aragon Ballroom also ran closed circuit fights occasionally.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on October 4, 2008 at 6:51 am

Block 37 construction in May of this year:

teddy666 on September 5, 2008 at 11:55 pm

Here’s something humorous and kind of cool: My former projectionist/friend has been projecting movies all over Chicago for decades and still does. He told me when the Roosevelt was torn down in 1979 his friend walked over to the rubble and grabbed a chunk of the building and kept it. He has it to this day!

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on March 10, 2008 at 8:20 am

To Bryan K, per your comment of two years ago:

“Paul, are you familiar with Ross Miller’s 1996 book, ‘Heres the Deal: The Buying and Selling of a Great American City’? It tells the story of the history and politics behind Block 37, from its earliest years up until the clearing of the block in the late 80s/early 90s. It’s really interesting reading, and has some nice vintage photos and drawings of the site, especially during its later years, from the 70s on.”

I did finally read this book. I bought a used copy of it from for $1.00 plus shipping. You are right, it is a fascinating book and the story of “Block 37” goes back some 20 years prior to the actual demolition of the structures on the block. It all goes back to how “Hizzoner” was riding in his limousine to work one day and saw the buildings on the block and decided they had to go. It also briefly mentions how the single story structures that replaced the Roosevelt and stood there briefly (less than ten years) were merely intended to be “tax earners”—places that could temporarily be on the tax rolls while something permanent was being planned. Oddly enough, the Walgreens across the street from Fields/Macy’s was intended to be such a building, but it lasted for many years.

Further complicating Block 37 was Stop-n-Shop, Hillman’s, and Gapers. For those of you unaware, they were all part of an amazing bakery/supermarket that existed on the block and with all of the people living Downtown these days, would be most useful. The problem was that they had been owned by the same family and the family owned the building they were located in. They were offered a deal in which they could occupy the new building (that never came) as tenants. The catch was that their space would have been smaller and that they would have been paying many times in rent what they were paying in taxes. Plus, no provision was made for an alley, which would have been required for produce deliveries. In short, it was a ploy to get a profitable business out of there. Stop-n-Shop was profitable until the day it closed.