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  • Writer's picturePaul Mcvay

Chicago Marquees & Movie-Goers Part Two

In the first part, I explained what I was sharing here and why, so without rehashing all of that, let's jump right into what I dug up for this installment. For a refresher on the general topic, you can click here and read Part One.

The Chicago Theater- March 30, 1963

Days of Wine and Roses lights up the marquee.

Below: Someone has to pull the pin on The Last Grenade. Chicago Theater, March 1970. No doubt the ladies exiting the bus are on their way inside the 3,800-seat movie palace (down 1,200 seats from the theater's original 1921 capacity) to watch Stanley Baker and Alex Cord mix it up in Hong Kong.

The resplendent Chicago Theater once again. Fast forward a year to March 5, 1971. Love Story is still playing to packed audiences three months after its release. On the street, inching along for the delight of parade watchers, are astronauts Alan Shepard, Stuart Roosa, and Edgar Mitchell for the Apollo 14 welcome home parade.

Fast forward once again. August 1, 1985. Looking less resplendent than ever before in its then-64-year existence, the Chicago Theater has only a month or so left as a grand movie palace. Still, the marquee screams "Pure Deadly Terror," and it delivers, with the charming double feature of The Stuff & "Co-Shocker" C.H.U.D.

On September 19, 1985, the Chicago Theater began closing its doors for a year-long, 4.3 million dollar restoration. On October 15, 1985, during a protest march down State street, the last gasp of movie-dom can be viewed on the marquee of the Chicago.

Remo Williams- The Adventure Begins & "Fear & Terror Begins" He Knows You're Alone. The last double feature the Chicago Theater would ever show. On September 19, 1985, the Chicago began renovations but had to honor its movie bookings, hence the marquee ballyhoo for Remo. Remo and He Knows finished their week and, thus, ended the Chicago Theater's movie history. When it re-opened on September 10, 1986, the fantastic $2.50 double features were replaced by Frank Sinatra, who headlined the refurbished theater for 5 days and sold out every performance. Since 1986, the Chicago has been a premiere venue for quality live entertainment, and I assure you, none of that can be enjoyed for $2.50. Look just to the upper-right on this photograph, and you will see our next theater subject.

October 15, 1985- The United Artists Theater. During that same photographed protest march stands the majestic UA Theater offering "The Ultimate In Action" with James Glickenhaus' The Protector starring Jackie Chan doubled with Invasion U.S.A starring Chuck Norris.

23 years prior, The UA Theater glowed in the late afternoon gloom of March 1962's premiere showing of The Premature Burial.

July 3, 1974- From across the street, right at the point of the Oriental Theater's box office, we see a steady line of patrons going in to see Claudine at the UA, "The Movie That Has Captivated All Chicago." What were these cats and kittens paying to see at the Oriental? Was it just as captivating?


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