May 19, 2011

Motion Pictures Theaters of the Past

Before TV, Computers 
& Smart Phones
This post is related to another post called
Theaters Present & 
another called Community Theatre
but first this one!
An Overview:
The Financial Rewards of Theaters 
in Chicago by 1908
The Evils of Electric Theater
in 1907 

Popularity of all Types of Theater 
in 1910
The Theater Listings
in 1914
Lake View theaters mentioned in this full page ad 
Julian on Belmont Avenue
Stevens on Broadway
Esthena on Southport Avenue
Clermont on Clark Street
Halsted on Halsted Street
Victoria on Sheffield Avenue
(currently called the Vic)
Keystone on Sheridan Road
Vitagraph on Lincoln Avenue
Lake Shore on Broadway
Parkway on Clark Street - just south of Diversey
The Clean Air
1914 theatre listings
1918 theatre listings
from Chicago Daily Tribune
1928 theatre listings
from Chicago Daily Tribune
1938 theater listings 
1942 theater listing
Theatre Conversions
 by 1960
The Old Lake View Theaters 
by Name:
*One of my sources for this blog post*
image - Chicago History in Postcards
photo - Cinema Treasures
Moving Picture World Oct-Dec 1911 pages 125-6
My thanks to Brian Wolf via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
 postcard - Ebay
The Julian had a 766 seat capacity that opened in 1909. The theater housed vaudeville acts as well as silent film and talkies. According to a contributor to Cinema Treasures this theater was the home of Scandinavian talking pictures until the beginning of World War II when distribution of materials from Europe became a issue. 
1915 Chicago Daily Tribune ads
1923 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
zoomed below
there was a 'bachelor apartment' 
to the west of the theater of the same name
photo - Cinema Treasures 
via Tim O'Neil via Historic Chicago-Facebook
sign on theater reads
 'closed for summer' -  to the Buckingham [movie house]
a 1937 article about this Swedish movie house
Ingrid Bergman (Swedish-American) apparently performed at the Julian. I would assume the theater changed hands several times since the buildings demolition (photos) in 2005 when the building last housed a 'house of worship'. 
a Kimball pipe organ below
Evanston Avenue = Broadway
1914 ad Chicago Daily Tribune
1915 ad Chicago Daily Tribune
The Sylvia Theater opened on February 17, 1912 located on north Sheffield Avenue at the corner of W. Diversey Parkway in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. According to the Moving Picture World of that month: “The Sylvia Theater on Diversey Boulevard and N. Sheffield Avenue was opened February 17 to capacity business. It is an attractive, modern, cozy house built by S. Wertheimer, with a capacity of 300. The indirect lighting system is installed and a soft clear picture is thrown on a concave screen, with Mr. Wertheimer thinks highly of. A high quality service is furnished by I. Van Ronkel of the G.F. Co. Spotlight songs are also used. Mr. Wertheimer is well pleased with his business and looks on the future as very promising. The Sylvia was named after Miss Sylvia Wertheimer, daughter of the owner, and the popular spotlight singer of the house.” The theater was demolished for the 1929 Diversey-Sheffield Building [located at 2800 N Sheffield Avenue] which currently stands on the site. -Cinema Treasures 
The Clarendon
text - Movie Theatres of Illinois
Comet Theatre
a 1914 listing - Chicago Trib
The City
text  - Movie Theatres of Illinois
The Barry 
probably the corner building on northwest Lincoln/Barry?
text  - Movie Theatre of Illinois 
Roscoe Theatre
as of 1914
3354 N Souhport Avenue
photos - garry albrecht
and part of my private collection
The Garden Theater
I have no further information on this theater beyond this 
1923 Sanborn Fire Map that highlights a 1000 seat capacity. According to the 1950 the theater was replaced with an 'auto parking'
zoomed below
originally dubbed the Garibaldi Theatre in 1909 
according to Urban Remains
Swedish was the language of the area
a 1914 Chicago Daily Tribune ad
1923 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map 
zoomed below
1950 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
images below - Warner Printing Company 
photo - Cinema Treasures
Once the location of a counter-culture shop from 1974 
until 2015. The Alley had an interesting history of its own! 
photo - Yelp
 an actually alley entrance to back of the shop
shop interior - Yelp
The building façade was saved for a new structure
photo - ABC7Chicago 
2021 photo - Garry Albrecht
later called 
The Mode
3912 N Sheridan Road

1936 page - Box Office Magazine
1914 & 1915 Chicago Daily Tribune ads
IDOT Collection via Uptown Chicago History
The Keystone Theater operating under the Essaness theater circuit apparently opened in 1913. These chain or circuit of theaters operated over 30 theaters by 1947. An Art-Deco façade was replace the original theater and renamed Mode Theater. By the late 1950’s to the late 1960’s the theater was renamed again as the Festival that would show Spanish language films for a new audience later to a racer cliental. 
photo- Art Instiute of Chicago via Explore Chicago
photo- Art Instiute of Chicago via Explore Chicago
the theater's less then respectable past - 1970's
photo above - Bob Rehak Photography 
a 1979 advertisement - Chicago Trib
below 1975 photo 
- UIC via Explore Chicago Collection
The Pine Grove
This theater had many names
717 W Sheridan Road
a 1915 Chicago Daily Tribune ad 
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
no significant change in the 1950 map
zoomed below
with several name changes & property owners
717-19 Sheridan Road per this 1923 Sanborn Fire Map
The 700 seat Pine Grove Theater opened under the ownership of the
Alfred Hamburger-Lubliner Trinz theater circuit. Architect J.E.O. Pridmore redesigned the theater when it was renamed the Panorama by 1927, when it was then acquired by the Essaness theater chain according to Cinema Treasures. Once again in 1929, the theater was renamed Little Theatre. The name was returned to the Panorama from 1932-1939.  By about the late 1950's and with another name change to the Essex, and then once again the change to the Guild operated into the early 1960's. The newly named Essex Theater, much like the Guild, had a checkered history with the community. The theater was located on a residential street which had issues with its neighbors. The Guild was demolished by 1963 to be later replaced years later by a new type of apartment building for the era called the 4+1- that was later to be renovated in 2010's. 
The Chicago Tribune articles below tell the tale of development along North Pine Grove including a 650 theater complex. The last article is dated before the Great Depression of 1929.
Plans Apartment Complex & Theater
in 1927 
1928 Daily Tribune ad
The Ownership of the Property 
did not last long
There were/are a string for other theaters along Southport Avenue such as the Mercury and Music Box. This one was built in 1913 as a 
one-story brick building. This 300 seat theater was later renamed Southport Theater in 1923 according to Cinema Treasures.
1923 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
zoomed below
Ad unknown date - Cinema Treasures
3810 N Broadway
Inside the Flora Building
name later changed to
Vogue Theater
photo - Theatre Historical of America via Explore Chicago
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps
zoomed below
1919 Chicago Daily Tribune ad
photo - Cinema Treasures
The Chateau Theater entrance was located on Broadway north of Grace Street. The Flora Building (theater space within) was designed by August C. Willmanns and property owned by Russian born 
Albert Fuchs theater was operated by Ascher Brothers theater circuit. The building itself had several offices, a upstairs ballroom, 22 lanes of bowling, and 22 billiards tables that was next to Fuchs luxury apartment building of the same name. In order to highlight this theater I must mention that the owner of the building also owned most of the property from Broadway to Rokeby (Fremont), Sheridan Road to Grace Street - see map above. Before converting his property to a series of buildings Mr. Albert Fuch owned a greenhouse on Broadway near the Grace according to a 1894 Sanborn Fire Map. Mr. Fuch was a horticulturist by trade owning another greenhouse on the west-side of Halsted Street north of Addison. 
Largest Off-Loop Theater
 in 1916
a 1921 ad - Chicago Trib
A Program Booklet
via Cinema Treasures
now part of my collection

A Theatre Review in 1919
from Motion Picture Magazine
views of the lobby
view of the 'Red Lantern'
photos - Ebay
Name Change to
The Vogue
The Vogue Theater by
 Diane Wasserman-Drell
'When I was young, (early 1950's) it cost 25 cents to go to the Vogue Theatre and see a movie plus the cartoons in the beginning. Sometimes they had double features. My brother always took me with him per my parents request. It was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. That should be Grace Street on the right where that reddish/brownish building is. Edwards restaurant was right near there, too on the east side of the street. My mother and I walked everywhere up and down Broadway. We lived on Patterson Avenue, one block north of Addison -- in-between Waveland and Addison. It was a great neighborhood way back when. I've often regretted that my parents moved to suburbia when I was about to turn 10 yrs. old. I loved Le Moyne School then, too and it was amazing that Le Moyne was far ahead of the north suburban schools back then. There was a large Woolworths store at the corner of Irving Park and Broadway SE side of the street, and Edward's (great food) was in the next block (east side of the street past Grace) to the north.'
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps
zoomed below as the Vogue Theater
The Vitagraph Theater was established by 1914 and sat 1000 patrons. In 1925 the theater was managed by Lubliner & Trinz circuit of theaters according the Cinema Treasure.
In the 1930's The old Belmont-Lincoln-Ashland shopping district of Lake View had a new retailer located at 3149-53 N Lincoln Avenue called the  Goldblatts Department Store. Goldblatts converted the old theater during in 1929 (first year of the Great Depression) and expanded their presence south into the old theater space to 3133-41.
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps 
zoomed below
1950 zoomed view
Goldblatts Department Store
converts theater space
further zoomed view below
1914 Chicago Daily Tribune ad
artwork - Imperial Realty Company
Goldblatts Department Store
and a few doors south was the ...
Temple Theater
image above - Chicago Examiner 1918
1923 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map below
zoomed below
converted into 
The Lincoln - Hippodrome was built in 1912 with an entrance address of 3162 N Lincoln Avenue. The theater was designed by a local architect named Robert C. Berlin. The theater's seating capacity was 1590 patrons by 1923. At the time it was one of the largest theaters in Chicago’s north-side. 'The Lincoln' (apparent original name)was built for W. A. Wieboldt, founder of the department store chain bearing his name that were once scattered all over Chicagoland area including the old Lake View Belmont-Lincoln District. This building originally cost $3000,000. The word 'hippodrome' is sometimes used as a extravagant name for a modern circus; a theater used for various staged entertainments. The interior of this building must have seem enormous! 
Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps 
no significant change to the theater in the 1950 map
zoomed below
The Wieboldt Connection
text image - Lake View Saga
A Playbill of 1916
via Chicago Public Library
3033 N Lincoln Avenue

photo - Cinema Treasures
building still exists
According to Cinema Treasures, The Strand opened in 1914 and was located on 3033 N Lincoln Avenue near Wellington. The theater seated 699 patrons. By the 1940’s the theater had been renamed the City Theater, which apparently operated into the 1960’s 
1923 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map 
no signifcant change to the theater in the 1950 map
zoomed below
Google Earth View
stores in front, former theater space in the back
A Playbill 
"the best photo plays in the world"
unknown date - Ebay
initialy called
The Glenwood Theater
currently commerical space
via Benjamin Yolarski 
'Chicago Before We Were Born' /Facebook
postcard - Ebay
Moving Picture World 
Oct-Dec 1911 pages 125-6
photo - Theatre Historical of America via Explore Chicago
1923 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
no significant changes to the theater in the 1950 map
zoomed below
2021 Google Maps
stores in front the former theater in back
1928 Daily Tribnue ad
a matchbook below
 part of my collection
photos - Cinema Treasures
Community Theatres 
move in

In 1981 Organic Theatre Company renovated the Buckingham Theater on Clark Street where it worked with author Mary Renault to adapt her book The King Must Die to the stage. This was followed by a musical adaptation of William Kotzwinkle's book Dr. Rat by June Shellene and Richard Fire and the company's longest running show E/R conceived by Dr. Ronald Berman according to Wikipedia

 the entrance to the building was on Clark Street while the main theater space has been replaced with apartments
a zoomed view below of the name of the theater 
above the garage door below
3175 N Broadway
currently called
 a 1916 view - Cinema Treasures
a 1928 interior - Cinema Treasures
1915 Chicago Daily Tribune ads
via Susan Reibman Groff, LakeView Historical-Facebook
Jeff Nichols/Forgotten Chicago/Facebook
 original entranceway photo below - Cinema Treasures
photo - Louis Henry Agreda
zoomed below
photo below - unknown source
1983 press photo - part of my collection
 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps
zoomed below
with the main theater space faced towards an alley
a garage was added south of the theater in 1926
The address of this theater was 3175 Broadway per map above with a seating capacity of 514 patrons and built in 1914 according to Cinema Treasures. Cineplex-Odeon theater company gave the old Lake Shore Theater a renovation in the 1980 and named it Broadway Cinema until the year 2000.  Due to high running costs on the aging theater, the theater was closed on April 10, 2010, but was re-opened in November 2011 as The Laugh Factory -  a venue for live comedic performances. - Cinema Treasures
Saul Smaizys via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
A testimonial
Jim Huffman on December 2, 2016
"I lived & grew up, in this neighborhood near Belmont & Broadway from 1945 to 1970. [I] attended Nettelhorst grade school. I saw many movies at the Lake Shore [theater] throughout that time period. Although small, it was a very neat, well-kept theater, but without the ginger-bread, exterior had an exterior art-deco motif back then. Curved smoothed metal siding, colors were yellow & red. The front had a small independent 1-person ticket booth, now removed. A small door in the rear of the booth provided access and to the front theater doors behind. People could walk all the way around the booth, although narrow about 3-foot wide passage with movie posters along the sides. Originally had greater seating, but I understand some seats were removed for more stage."
unknown source & date
1991 photo -
and renamed once again
sources & dates unknown
the latest venue below
In 2011 an Los Angeles based comedy club called the 
Laugh Factory moved in the existing space converting the interior with a five million dollar renovation 
that included a half million marquee
photo below - Open House Chicago
Century Theater
converted to
Levy & Klein architectural 1925 sketching 
via Cinema Treasures
image - Art Institute of Chicago
via Joe Jakubik, Pictures of Chicago-Facebook
a Edward Frank,Jr photograph 
via Trolley
1928 Chicago Daily Tribune ad 
1925 photo - Uraiwan Dutkiewicz via Cinema Treasures
1928 Chicago Daily Tribune ad 
1934 photo - Theatre Historical Society of America 
via Explore Chicago Collection
This theater opened in 1924 designed in Spanish Baroque style by architect Edward Eichenbaum of the firm of Levy & Klein with a seating capacity of 3,800. The theater was renamed the The Century, in honor of the Century of Progress World’s Fair that was held in Chicago in 1933.
Old Chicago Neighborhood: Remembering Life in the 1940’s by Neil Samors and Michael Williams
both postcards - Ebay
photo - Cinema Treasures
1950 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
zoomed below
1966 negative - Chicago History Muesum
1970's photo below - Saul Smaizys via Flickr 
Theater to be Renovated
for Shopping in 1973
Opened to the Public
by 1976
1975 negatives - Chicago History Museum
photo - Urainwan Dutkiewics
Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
photo - Ken Vosburgh, Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
photo - Urainwan Dutkiewics
Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
photo - Urainwan DutkiewicsForgotten Chicago-Facebook
photo - Cinema Treasures
photos - C. William Brubaker Collection via UIC 1978 
1982 photo - Thomas White via David Zonig
New Owners, New Look
in 2013
*its still pending in 2022?*
2017 photo above - Uraiwan Dutkiewicz 
2016 photo below - Garry Albrecht 
New Owner
converted to 
from the Chicago Daily Newspaper in 1924
via Chicago Public Library
text below- 
Historic Movie Theater of Illinois
photos - Chicago History Museum in 1927

1929 image - Lake View Saga 
The Lincoln-Belmont Theater was one of the more popular north-side Chicago movie houses for it was surrounded by a bustling retail hub and was located close to public transportation near the intersection of Belmont/ Ashland, and Lincoln avenues.  The theater opened in 1925 for the Lubliner & Trinz theater circuit and was taken over by the Balaban & Katz chain in 1930. The theater was designed by 
W.W. Ahlschlager, who was also the architect of the Roxy and Beacon Theatres in New York City. This 3200-plus seat palace was originally a venue for both live entertainment and movies, but later turned to movies only. It had a brief history as a bowling alley and later renovated into condos.- Cineman Treasures
According to Jazz Age Chicago, 'aside from its pretentiousness, the Lincoln-Belmont was also a state-of-the-art theater. Its most admired features included 1,800 cushioned seats, technically superior acoustics, ample fire exits, and indirect lighting effects to reduce glare in the main auditorium. Also of note was the theater’s massive air-cooling system. It was capable of pumping 2.5 million cubic feet of fresh air into the theater every hour and, according to reports, greatly enhanced the theater-going experience. “After seeing a performance,” observed one visitor, “one arises from his seat not enervated, sleepy and tired, but refreshed, intellectually awake and reinvigorated.”'
photos - Cinema Treasures
an article section - Steven Huber
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map 
zoomed below
 photos below - Theatre Historical Society of America 
via Explore Chicago Collection
via Motion Picture News June 24, 1927

In the mid 1960's the movie house 
was converted into a bowling alley 
 text image - Hidden History of Ravenswood & Lake View by Patrick Butler
photo - Dr. Jake's Bowling History Blog
matchbook - my collection
reverse side
inside flap
zoomed from above
1963 advertisement
Dr. Jake's Bowling History Blog
The 1973 Fire
Only the facade could have been saved - 
per seller of Ebay
From Bowling Alley
to Lofts by 2012
Ivanhoe Playhouse 
Dinning + Live Theater
at the location on Clark/Wellington
and currently
postcard image - Ebay
It apparently began as a tavern-speakeasy and then to a respected restaurant and then again to a nationally recognized playhouse theatre by the 1966. This nationally recognized establishment to blend a live theater performance with a meal, hence called a 'playhouse'. While this venue was considered part of the Off-Loop Movement having performers from Hollywood and New York. 
The Annoucement
in 1966
image above - Ebay
photo - Craig's Lost Chicago via Pinterest
photo below via Sue Sacharski via LakeView Historical-Facebook 
The Catacombs
was in the basement of the Restaurant
 Sanborn Insurance Fire Map 
presence expanded toward Halsted Street by this time
zoomed below
current Google Map View
1975 photo - Chicago Museum
the parking was east of Clark Street
photo below via Lance Grey
the parking lot sign from 
across the street on Clark Street
photo above - part of my collection

photo - Calumet 412
1956 photo - Chuckman Collection 
photo - Calumet 412
 1955 photo below - Chuckman Collection
 The Various Interior Views 
of the Building
photos - Ebay
The Cropped Views 
of Above Image 
a postcard view - Chuckman Collection
 A plate with brief history in back - Ebay
 A Mailer
Another mailer 
with text

A Dinner Menus 
Ebay photos
front cover image - an advertisement mailer

a 1966 playbill - Ebay
Performiong in 1967
Zsa Zsa Gabor
photos - Chicago History Museum
in 1969
1968 image - Chicago Daily Tribune
Originally designed in an 'In-The-Round' configuration, the theater was opened as a commercial dinner/theater operation in 1966 that served as a showcase for director George Keathley that established a new type of theater called a playhouse. His string of successes included the world premiere of Tennessee William's Out Cry, which ran for more than a year before transferring to Broadway District in New York with its young and unknown Chicago star, Bruce Boxleitner. Jason Roth, contributor to ForgottenChicago/Facebook, mentioned that “Lots of shows performed there in the 70's such as Ronnie Spector, Southside Johnny, Tom Waits, Mink DeVille, Herbie Hancock & Jaco Pastorius, Meatloaf, Crystal Gayle, Link Wray, Kiki Dee, Ramsay Lewis, Rita Moreno, Elvin Bishop, and Dolly Parton.
Matchbook - Ebay
employee patch
photo - Ebay
Number 1 Loop Venue
in 1970
image - Ebay
The plate is labeled as the Ivanhoe Overthrows The Templar. On the border areas of the plate are Rebecca, The Templar, Wamba, Coeur De Lion, Lady Rownana, and Ivanhoe according to Ebay.
Swizzle Stick for those cocktails
image - Ebay

Ivanhoe Caroline Lee Bouvier 
- sister-in-law to President Kennedy
Sampling of the Playbills
from Ebay

Other Known Celebrities 
of that Day
per HistoryWiki and Wikipedia

Tennessee Williams’ Outcry received its world premiere at the Ivanhoe, starring Eileen Herlie and Donald Moffat.

A Special Tax 
for this special type of theater
in 1971
Financial Troubles
begin in  1974

The Time to Strategize
for the Future
in 1975
Apparenlty the restaurant had a financial problem
an ashtray - Ebay
Original Owners Sell
the Playhouse (theater & restaurant)
but Venue Remains
in 1975
On the Block!! 
to be Sold in 1976
a bar area
1976 photo - Chicago History Museum
Struggling to Survive
in 1976
Performing Photos of that Evening
Comedian David Steinberg
photos - Chicago History Museum
leading off with Peter Allen
dining before the show in 1976
the problem for the restaurant was there was not a show the restaurant would be nearly empty
1976 advertisement
 An Album Recorded
at the Theater 
in 1976

The song list:
Virginia Avenue Album 
Side 1 - Track 1. Invitation To The Blues
Side 1 - Track 2. Virginia Avenue
Side 1 - Track 3. Jitterbug Boy
Side 1 - Track 4. I Can't Wait To Get Off Work
Side 1 - Track 5. Fumblin' With The Blues
Side 2 - Track 1. Small Change
Side 2 - Track 2. Eggs & Sausage
Side 2 - Track 3. The Piano Has Been Drinking
Side 2 - Track 4. Tom Traubert's Blues
 a matchbook 
 Chuckman Collection - unknown date 
tokens - Chuckman Collection & Ebay
Some Tickets
Remembrances of Performances Past’- Blogspot

Earl Scruggs ticket 1977- Ebay
Bill Quateman ticket 1977
Dolly Parton ticket 1977
The Fire
in 1977
photo Ebay

not Arson 
By October of the same year theater looking a bit chard from the outside but was back in business according to the Chicago Tribune via Chicago Public Library online section 
Southside Johnny with Ronnie Spector - May 1977
photo -  Jerome Hughs via Pinterest
Dee Dee Ramone of the Ramones - July 1977
photo via Robert Duncan/Pinterest
A Good Summary of the End
in Oct 1977
The Final Death Knell
began in December
The New Owner?? 
in 1979
The Bragan Years

“A lot of people weren’t sure what to make of Doug Bragan when, in 1982, he bought the Ivanhoe Theater — the castle-looking structure at Clark Street and Wellington Avenue in Lake View.

The Ivanhoe was a single-stage, 500-seat theater when he bought it. Mr. Bragan added a 150-seat auditorium and a 50-seat basement stage. It was called the Wellington Theatre from 1990 to 1994.

“Most storefront theaters stood in their own way when it came to the business side of things. Here we are as artists, not competent and not rich, and here’s this guy with money who’s saying, ‘Here’s how you do this.’ And it was certainly helpful and helped me mature as a businessman and producer, and he gave me more confidence in my work and ideas. What he did was he gave you a chance.”

He also had a knack for spotting shows that were ending their run at other theaters but still had wheels and potential, according to friends

Mr. Bragan, who held a seat at the Mercantile Exchange until selling it in 1991, sold the Ivanhoe in 2001 after a dispute with a neighbor over parking spaces that were critical to the theater’s success.”

New Name

Ivanhoe Playhouse Theater
 from Forgotten Chicago-Facebook 
John Olson
Saw some shows there in the mid to late 70's. Martin Mull and Flo and Eddie (aka the Turtles).
Bernie Biernacki
My parents went there on the 40’s and my wife and I ate there twice, and even saw a play there in the 70’s. I think Bruce Boxlitner (sp) was in it. My dad always talked about "riding down into the catacombs."
Bob Mucci
I remember the fake elevator that made it seem you went down a hundred feet. But the building is a Binny's booze emporium now.Yes, and there was a little window and they had a scroll of a brick wall that kept running real fast behind the window to make you think you were descending far and fast.
Bernie Biernacki
Bob, I remember the elevator well. You stepped into it and when the door closed it started shaking and shuddering. When it stopped another door open you were in the catacombs - just next to where you entered the "elevator".
Stan Barker 
Bernie, the fake elevator gimmick goes back to a "Subterranean Theater" that was proposed, never built, during the 1893 World's Fair. In the mid-1960s, when I was a kid, that gimmick was used at a "Gold Mine" attraction at Fort Dells amusement park in Wisconsin Dells. I never went to the Ivanhoe... closest I got was buying rickets to the Sex Pistols who were supposed to play there, New Year's Eve 1977. They broke up and cancelled their tour before they got to Chicago. I cashed my ticket back in. My old girlfriend hung on to hers, still has it - Worth some money now.
Sue M Paula 
"Please, please let me out"! Remember the spooky trip down the fake elevator and the woman screaming?
Ivanhoe was a fabulous place!!
Jan Zweerts
As a kid we went there. When a certain paving stone was stepped on a air driven dummy would rear up to scare you. Spooky, but fun.
Paul Igasaki
Yes. Went with my parents to see a play there in the seventies. Remember the seats around the stage and a bedroom scene that my parents didn't expect me to see.
Ken Dietz
Went there several times in the 70's to see music acts---The Four Seasons being one of them. The Sex Pistols were scheduled to play there but they broke up before the scheduled date. The Ivanhoe was going to remove all the seats just for that show. Two Ton also had a puppet on his show by the name of 'Bubbles'. Two Ton would sing "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" and the puppet would appear. I think the set of his show had a pirates theme.
Marcey Wadas Crylen
Went to the Ivanhoe for dinner after a Christmas dance at DePaul and met Two Ton Baker!
Nancy Kesseler Adams
Our favorite as children was Two Ton Baker. We saw him in person once - a charming man who truly loved children. There is a link somewhere (I'll check) with the songs he sang. It's a nice site. Brings back memories!
Last Days 
in 2001
Little or no parking left
Binny's Depot to expand into the remaining 
theater/restaruant space

The Next
1989 & 1990 ads
Currently the space for
Binny's Depot
2002 advertisement
2007 photo - Mark Susina via Flickr
with an entrance view to the former catacombs
photo - Angie Naron via Flickr  in 2010 
 2013 photo below - Garry Albrecht 
 The renovated catacombs
now used for events
The designing firm reinforced the basement and kept the basis floor design of the old catacombs
 The Owners Inspiration    
photos - Ebay

    Just South and North
of the Community of
Lake View:
The Parkway 
Community of Lincoln Park
2738 N Clark Street
commerical space
photo above - Cinema Treasures
1915 Chicago Daily Tribune ads
photo below via John Swiatek Chicagopedia-Facebook
to the left of the photo
1950's? photo - Cinema Treasures
A New Beginning 
in 1980
 Closed in 1984
due to second rate movies
currently the location of a
Ruth Shriman House
affordable housing for seniors
Theatre History of America via Explore Chicago
Across the street and yards away from Irving Park Road on Sheridan Road in the neighborhood of Buena Park and the Community of Uptown their was this theater that was built in 1927. The seating capacity of this theater was 2540. 
1928 Sanborn Fire 
Insurance Map
zoomed below
photos below - Frank's Place blog 
Theatre History of America via Explore Chicago 
matchbook - Ebay
1936 image - IDOT Collection 
with St. Mary of the Lake steeple in the background
photo - Calumet 412
1947 photo - Chuckman Collection
along Sheridan Road at Irving Park Road
an artist view - Ebay
The grand buildings of Chicago's theaters that once sparkled throughout the city are credited by the insight and influence of A.J. Balaban, Barney Balaban, Sam Katz, and Morris Katz who formed the Balaban & Katz Theatre Corporation in 1925. This group planned theaters like the Uptown, Diversey, Pantheon, Belmont, Rivera, among others.
from a Theater 
to a Synagogue
in 1951
What to do With it
in 1991
The Demo in 1994
photos - Scott Vermillion 
via Living History of Illinois and Chicago-Facebook

The Other Theaters 
that were in our local area

My thanks to Brian Wolf via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
Behind the Curtain
by Urban Remains
'Atmospheric theaters gained popularity in the 1920's, and are distinguished as an architectural style that used theater design to extend the cinematic experience, to imaginatively transport the audience with the decor. a plain dome gave space for projections of clouds, simulating the night sky with twinkling "star lights," and walls were decorated to appear as an exotic locale or an outdoor space.' - Urban Remains

Post Notes: 
in 2018
photo by Dean Ogren via Greg Harris
According to Uptown Update via the Chicago Tribune another attempt to save the Uptown Theater from the wrecking ball was announced in 2018. Will this time work?? While this theater is not located in Lake View I thought a honorable mention was due to its civic significance and former beauty.
in 2006
 photos - Theatre Historical Society of America
 photo - Chicago Public Library 1987
 photos below - UIC Library via Explore Chicago Collection
1823 W Montrose Avenue
Community of North Central
photos - Cinema Treasures
Current view of the space - 2023
Picture Palace
4439 N Clark Street
District of Lake View
1914 photo - Cinema Treasures

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These posts are exclusively used for educational purposes. I do not wish to gain monetary profit from this blog nor should anyone else without permission for the original source - thanks!

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