NW Side Movie Theaters
NW Side Movie Theaters
Posted by: Kchi (---.dsl.chcgil.sbcglobal.net)
Date: November 01, 2010 01:29PM

I've always been fascinated by the old buildings that you could tell use to be movie theaters. Listed below are NW side old movie theaters I found listed in a 1945 newspaper. Would appreciate it if anybody can identify the missing locations or other shows too small to advertise. How many of these buildings exist and what is there now? Is there anybody old enough to remember actually going to these theaters or knows when they closed?

[color=#FF0033]Special Thanks to b.a.hoarder and Berwyn Frank for mentioning a great website created by Patrick Crowley and Ross Melnick[/color][b]

I've reposted my original list with updated addresses and the link to the appropriate cinematreasures.org reference where you can get historical information and descriptions.[/b]

Admiral 3940 W. Lawrence Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/974/
Alamo 3639 W. Chicago Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/1006/
Alba 4816 N. Kedzie Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/1007/
Armitage 3553 W. Armitage Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/945/
Avaloe 2811 W. Diversey Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/5141/
Avon 3327 W. Fullerton Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/4549/
Banner 1611 N. Damen Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/949/
Bell 3064 W. Armitage Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/18010/
Belpark 3231 N. Cicero Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/1080/
Biltmore 2046 W. Division Street http://cinematreasures.org/theater/1081/
Commodore 3105 W. Irving Park Road http://cinematreasures.org/theater/3629/
Congress 2135 N. Milwaukee Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/304/
Crown 1605-11 W. Division Street http://cinematreasures.org/theater/4072/ http://www.jazzagechicago.com/
Crystal 2701 W. North Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/2844/
Dale 2860 Milwaukee
Drake 2905 N. Milwaukee Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/22511/
Drake 3548 W. Montrose Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/4205/
Embassy 3956 W. Fullerton Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/1098/
Famous 3644 W. Chicago Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/5460/
Fox 3167 N. Elston Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/8118/
Gateway 5216 W. Lawrence Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/441/
Grand 3433 W. North Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/957/
Harding 2724 N. Milwaukee Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/988/
Irving 4003-5 W. Irving Park Road http://cinematreasures.org/theater/4057/
Karlov 4048 W. Armitage Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/961/
Liberty 3705 W. Fullerton Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/963/
Logan 2646 N. Milwaukee Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/2666/
Luna 4743 W. Belmont Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/4058/
Milford 3311 N. Pulaski Road http://cinematreasures.org/theater/4060/
Montclare 7133 W. Grand Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/3287/
Nita 2915 N. Milwaukee Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/5470/
Oak 2004 N. Western Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/4539/
Patio 6008 West Irving Park Road http://cinematreasures.org/theater/272/
Paulina 1339 N. Paulina Street http://cinematreasures.org/theater/4696/
Portage 4050 N. Milwaukee Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/437/
Revue 3956 N. Elston Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/5456/
Rio 2540 Milwaukee
Rivoli 4380 N. Elston Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/3037/
Rogers 2516 W. Fullerton Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/5548/
Royal 1453 N. Milwaukee Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/5428/
Terminal 3315 W. Lawrence Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/4495/
Tiffin 4045 W. North Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/996/
Times 4847 N. Milwaukee Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/5395/
Webster 2157 N. Damen Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/12203/
Will Rogers 5641 W. Belmont Avenue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/972/

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 11/09/2010 10:20AM by Kchi.

Re: NW Side Movie Theaters
Posted by: 222psm (---.br.br.cox.net)
Date: November 01, 2010 02:41PM

The Patio is reopening in 2011, I watched a lot of movies there in the early and mid 80's

Re: NW Side Movie Theaters
Posted by: captain54 (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net)
Date: November 01, 2010 03:32PM

the Congress was up until recently used as a concert venue. The Admiral is a strip club. The Tiffin on North Ave is long gone. The Portage has been rehabbed and is used for a variety of functions. not included in the list is the Davis on Lincoln and Wilson, and is still in use. there was a movie house/performance/vaudeville house near Irving/Lincoln/Damen, on Damen but the name escapes me now...the Harding was the sister theatre to the Congress and has been gone since the 60's

Re: NW Side Movie Theaters
Posted by: 222psm (---.br.br.cox.net)
Date: November 01, 2010 04:30PM

captain54 that was the Bugg, I remember that from a post awhile back.

Re: NW Side Movie Theaters
Posted by: Richard Stachowski (---.dsl.chcgil.sbcglobal.net)
Date: November 02, 2010 01:18AM

[b]Does anybody remember a theater on State near harrison. I think it was called the Gaety or Rialto. They showd B movies and a stage show in the 50's . Also one on State and Congress. Anybody?[/b]

Re: NW Side Movie Theaters
Posted by: Kchi (---.dsl.chcgil.sbcglobal.net)
Date: November 02, 2010 01:45PM

The downtown shows listed in 1945 are:

Balaban & Katz ads never have the address or location.
United Artist

RKO Palace Randolph at LaSalle
RKO Grand Clark near Randolph
Downtown State & Van Buren
McVickers Madison & State
LaSalle Madison & Clark
Woods Randolph at Dearborn
Oriental Randolph at State
Studio Van Buren at Michigan
Monroe Monroe at Dearborn
Clark Clark at Madison
World Playhouse 416 S Michigan

Re: NW Side Movie Theaters
Posted by: Kchi (---.dsl.chcgil.sbcglobal.net)
Date: November 02, 2010 02:38PM

Don't know if this is the theater you had in mind.

The only reference that I could find for a Rialto theater was in a article that it was being knocked down in 1953. It was built in 1916 and had 1,500 seats. They mention the location as the NW corner of State & Van Buren. At the time the theater was being operated as Minskie's Burlesque.

Re: NW Side Movie Theaters
Posted by: tseals (---.dsl.chcgil.sbcglobal.net)
Date: November 02, 2010 11:57PM

The Commador on Irving. I remember watching a double bill. "Batman" & "What a way to go" I thought I would go to hell because the later was an X or R rating according to the "New World" raining guide. I was just a kid.

Re: NW Side Movie Theaters
Posted by: bwalsh (---.dsl.chcgil.sbcglobal.net)
Date: November 03, 2010 11:53PM

I remember having to grab a copy of the "New World" to check the ratings before we went to the show. Yep, you were going straight to hell if you went to those - God forbid you went to one rated "O"!

Re: NW Side Movie Theaters
Posted by: 222psm (---.br.br.cox.net)
Date: November 04, 2010 11:12AM

tseals Wrote:
> The Commador on Irving. I remember watching a
> double bill. "Batman" & "What a way to go" I
> thought I would go to hell because the later was
> an X or R rating according to the "New World"
> raining guide. I was just a kid.

Wow! I had forgot about the commador / Olympia, I remember calling to get movie times and we'd walk over and it was CLOSED! We then had to take the bus to the Patio. I see that it's now gone, by the way this site has a lot of info on old theaters.http://cinematreasures.org/search/query=Chicago&search=city&method=n&show=all

Re: NW Side Movie Theaters
Posted by: Vern H (---.dsl.emhril.sbcglobal.net)
Date: November 06, 2010 02:33AM

Will Rogers was at Belmont and Parkside, (one block w of Central) don't know when it closed.

Luna was on Belmont just e of Cicero. Don't know when it closed either.

I went to both and the Montclare during the 60's and 70's.

Re: NW Side Movie Theaters
Posted by: tomcat630 (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net)
Date: November 06, 2010 04:24AM

Yes, it is Chicago-ese to call a movie theater or cinema, 'the show'. And many of these places were called 'the cheap show' for years to see 2nd and 3rd run, long before home videos and cable TV.

Luna closed in mid 80's, was torn down for a bank branch, now a Walgreens. [Big surprise].

Will Rodgers would often show Disney films, like "Love Bug" and "Million Dollar Duck". But then kids would run wild and not watch the movies, parents just dropped them off.

Re: NW Side Movie Theaters
Posted by: daveg (---.lightspeed.joltil.sbcglobal.net)
Date: November 06, 2010 01:16PM

South siders called it the "show" too. I still say "let's go to the show".

I remember spending many a Saturday at the Cal show on 26th street. I'd say 100% of the audience were kids. Cracker balls thrown on the walls of the darkened theater made a spark and their noise. Sometimes we'd even watch the movies, usually a double feature.

Gave our Mom a breather for a few hours.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/06/2010 01:30PM by daveg.

Re: NW Side Movie Theaters
Posted by: b.a.hoarder (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net)
Date: November 06, 2010 02:23PM

In looking at the Cinema Treasures 'site I did not find a listing for the Marshall-Square Theater. At least that is what we called the movie house on the north side of 22nd St., just west of California Boulevard. Is my recollection of the name wrong?

Re: NW Side Movie Theaters
Posted by: Berwyn Frank (---.lightspeed.cicril.sbcglobal.net)
Date: November 06, 2010 05:08PM

Here it is B.A. Hoarder. It is now called Apollo's 2000


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/06/2010 05:09PM by Berwyn Frank.

Re: NW Side Movie Theaters
Posted by: ChicagoDog (---.dhcp.embarqhsd.net)
Date: December 16, 2010 01:40AM

My Husband and I went on our first date at the Belpark on N Cicero, in 1956. We saw a double feature: "High Society" & "The Mountain". I lived at Addison & Long Avenue, we had to take the Addison Bus, as I was not allowed to enter a guy's car. We celebrated our 51st anniversary last September.

Re: NW Side Movie Theaters
Posted by: 222psm (---.br.br.cox.net)
Date: December 16, 2010 10:12AM

Congrats on your 51 st anniversary ChicagoDog!

Re: NW Side Movie Theaters
Posted by: daveg (---.lightspeed.joltil.sbcglobal.net)
Date: December 16, 2010 12:48PM

Wonderful story ChicagoDog and Happy Anniversary.

Re: NW Side Movie Theaters
Posted by: Mikey (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net)
Date: December 10, 2013 08:09PM


Sorry to be 3 years late, but I just discovered this site recently. I have a long way to go to finish reading all these interesting forums!

I'll add a theater to your list here. It was called the Metro, and it was at 3308 west Lawrence, across the street from the B&K Terminal. Its last showing was on March 15th? 1952 (I don't remember it because I was only 2 1/2 years old), but the building is still there. For some time it was a blood bank, and now it's a kitchen furniture place, I believe. I grew up about 3 blocks from there in the 50s and 60s. I seem to remember something about the Terminal being the "New Metro" theater when it was built in the 20s. The Metro was in an odd building; the screen backed up to Lawrence avenue, so you entered the theater from the REAR, I guess around the corner on Spaulding avenue. That's about all I can remember. I spent most Saturday mornings at the Terminal, where in those days you saw two films, a handful of cartoons, and got a box of popcorn all for a total of 40 cents.


Re: NW Side Movie Theaters
Posted by: gglow (---.lightspeed.cicril.sbcglobal.net)
Date: December 12, 2013 09:00PM

Missing from the list, the Alvin @ 1612&1614 w.Chicago Ave. & the Hub @
1746 w. Chicago Ave. Both opened around 1913 and have been closed for a long time.

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