Cort Theater pictures

posted by dplomin1954 on October 5, 2010 at 10:30 am

CHICAGO, IL — Does anyone have any pictures/info on the Cort Theater that was in downtown, Chicago during the 1920’s?

I have a Theater Annual that was published in 1947 that did a rundown of all shows that played in Chicago from that year, as well as a summation of Chicago’s past theatrical history. I can find info on all of the long gone venues, such as the Erlanger, Woods and the Illinois and Princess, but nothing comes up on any Google search on the Cort except an article on it’s opening of 10-23 of 1909 in the NY Times. It said that the interior was a replica of the Taorima Theatre of Messina, Italy which was destroyed in the recent earthquake.

Comments (9)

CSWalczak on October 5, 2010 at 11:52 am

There is one on this page (third row); click on it to enlarge:

CSWalczak on October 5, 2010 at 11:58 am

On this page there is another clickable picture: View link

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on October 5, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Some years ago I added to Cinema Treasures, the Cort Theater of 132 North Dearborn Street in Chicago. It was on part of the site of what is now the Richard J. Daley Center. A MIGHTY WurliTizer THEATER PIPE ORGAN, Opus 2 was installed in the theater in 1912. It was listed on Cinema Treasues for a while. It then was posted that it never showed movies and it was removed, that was a shame. I question how they knew it NEVER showed films and anyway I wish it was Theater Treasures instead of Cinema Treasures.

CSWalczak on October 5, 2010 at 7:41 pm

I think there may be (perhaps with good reason) some caution about adding theaters on CT that historically have been regarded as functioning exclusively or nearly exclusively as playhouses. I do not know if it is policy, but it seems that for such a theater to be added, there seems to be a need for some evidence that films were shown there for some significant period of time on some sort of regular basis. If memory serves, it took a while for the Belasco in LA to get an entry here, because it seemed doubtful that films were ever shown there until someone apparently found newspaper evidence that they were. I suppose it can be a judgement call; for example, should Chicago’s Civic Opera House be listed because “Windjammer” was shown there? It isn’t listed at present. The question may be: “How often and how frequently does a theater need to function as a cinema before it can be listed here? ” Perhaps a moderator might care to comment.

It is just a guess, but in the case of the Cort, its performance history could have been checked by using newspapers and theater journals, yearbooks, and film exhibition publications. It may also be that the moderators feel that that it is preferable to wait until is clear that a theater was used to show movies rather than allowing an entry and waiting until someone could show that it did not.

William on October 6, 2010 at 10:26 am

I posted the Belasco in LA to the site afew years ago and it was removed and it got reentered a year or so later.

dplomin1954 on October 6, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Thank you all for the posts. Single/free standing theaters in Chicago’s downtown didn’t stand a chance to be saved, with the exception of the Blackstone/Merle Reskin, possibly due to being so far south, and not as desirable. The others were on prime real estate, and the Depression didn’t help either. It would have been nice to have saved the Cort, since it looked like it had several floors of office space, unlike the Princess and Illinois. I like the photo of the Cort with all the flags on it! Very patriotic!

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on October 6, 2010 at 1:13 pm

Chris, about WINDJAMMER in CineaMiracle, at the Civic Opera Building. I would have added it to Cinema Treasures, but I was never really clearly sure which of the two theaters in the building it was shown in, The Civic Opera House or Civic Theater. I need to do more research. If anyone can tell me for sure I well add it.

CSWalczak on October 6, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Well, there were some fairly serious plans at one time to save the Harris and the Selwyn (Michael Todd/Cinestage) to create a mini-Broadway like theatre district on Randolph, but all that got built was a new parking garage across from these two. Later, as you probably know, the facades, but only the facades, were incorporated into the new Goodman complex. Thank God for Broadway shows; were it not for them, we would have lost the Palace and the Oriental, and probably the Chicago as well.

According to this page, “Windjammer” played for fifteen weeks at the Civic Opera House itself, not the much smaller Civic Theatre (which is now a rehearsal hall for Chicago’s Lyric Opera and not in public use): View link After that run, it moved over to the McVickers, according to comments on the McVicker’s page.

Cobalt on October 13, 2010 at 6:51 pm

I’m surprised no one mentioned this, but I think the REMEMBERING CINERAMA PART II: CHICAGO page posted right here on CinemaTreasures answers any questions pertaining to WINDJAMMER and CIVIC OPERA HOUSE vs CIVIC THEATRE?

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