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Woodfield has shuffled so many theaters and screens over the years it is hard to keep them straight! There were the very nice large twin theaters in the SE side of the mall lot. It had great sound and projection. Very large screens. I saw several 70mm presentations here. Then there were the twin theaters in the NE corner of the lot. Fairly large with poorer sound and projection than the ones down the lot. Then there were the multi screens actually inside the mall off the center court. These were bad: Very small with postage size screens and shoddy sound. Then there were screens to the south of the Woodfield Mall that were inside another mall. These didn’t last all that long. (Neither did that mall.) Finally (at least so far!) is the huge operation in the Streets of Woodfield. This new one is the fifth site of theaters in and around this mall.
This was a great inexpensive place to catch a lot of flicks in the 80’s. I can’t begin to list all the movies I saw here (both as a single screen and as a twin). The theater had a good Dolby sound system which was rare to find at the time in 2nd run theaters. Some memorable movies I saw here: Officer and a Gentleman, Risky Business, Gremlins, Thief.
Very short-lived theaters. It was a nice “strip-mall” type of theater. I saw two films here: Dennis the Menace and Wolf. I’m surprised they didn’t last that long.
For a while in the late 70’s/early 80’s this was a great place to see big-budget movies in 70mm and surround sound. I saw Aliens, Dracula, Scarface and Empire Strikes Back here. They sounded and looked great. The main auditorium, as I recall, was very large with good sightlines. I haven’t been here to see a movie since this time. They appear to be very popular and busy screens.
The Music Box is a neat theater and brings back the golden era of moviegoing. The floating clouds and twinkling lights are a great touch. Of course the theater’s best feature is the great selection of movies that are always presented here. There really is no other theater like it in the city. Having said that, the sound system is awful. I don’t know about anyone else but I’ve always had problems hearing dialogue here because the sound echoes all over the place. The seats are so uncomfortable and the sight-lines terrible. If someone sits in front of you even three or four aisles in front of you, you cannot see the bottom of the screen (especially bad if watching a film with subtitles).
The McClurg will be lamented. I saw so many blockbuster movies there! The sound and projection were the best in the city. In fact the sound was sometimes almost painful to listen to! I even asked that the sound in Godzilla be turned down. The lines in front of the theater were always expected. I was lucky enough to go here a couple of times before it was divided. I saw The Color Purple here and (I can’t believe I’m admitting this) Can’t Stop the Music. In the last couple of years the theater wasn’t being upkept. The bathrooms were really bad. The upstairs theaters were just “ok.” Not terrible…but the sound and projection were no comparison to the main theater.
My father took me here once in the late 60’s or early 70’s to see a revival of House of Wax in 3D. It was the first time I had seen a movie in this process. I thought it was pretty neat. I remember that there was a “special admission” for the movie and my father thought it outrageous! And, to add insult to injury, you had to pay extra for the glasses. He asked the box office what happened if you didn’t buy the glasses and he was told it would look blurry but we were welcome to see it without the glasses. He, obviously, relented. It’s funny to think back on this since we are probably talking no more than about .50 for the glasses.
My parents took me here in the late 60’s to see the god-awful “Equinox.” The audience was unlike what we were used to seeing in the neighborhood theaters at the time. We felt a little “unsafe.” I guess this was the turning point in the Loop’s decline in the 70’s. I saw a couple live shows at the “Loop” theater on Randolph in the past year. I was hoping to see the old theater but as stated above, the live theater was not a part of the old auditorium (even though the information in the lobby leads one to think that the live theater was the same space as the movie theater). When the building is demolished later this year to make way for the new condos, I’d love to see if any hints of the former movie theater are visible in the rubble.
Only was here once; however, what a movie! Abel Gance’s Napoleon. Turned out to be one of my all time favorite movies. It was cool seeing it in a theater built during the same era as when the movie was made.
These were nice General Cinema screens. The lobby was long because the actual auditorium was behind the stores in the strip mall. The lobby taveled the length of the stores. (The Best Buy that occupies this site retains this odd shape.) The theater played first run flicks. I saw a lot of good movies here: American Grafitti, Paper Moon, Earthquake in Sensurround, Towering Inferno, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein. I remember when the theater was twinned. I thought that was kind of cool but in retrospect not so cool because I liked the larger theater. I know that the theater was divided again, but I had moved out of the area by then. I had a chance to see one more movie there (War of the Roses). The auditorium’s seating arrangement had not been adjusted. You literally had to slightly turn in your seat to see the screen. Inexcusable and lazy on behalf of the theater oweners. With good reason, it closed.
When the theaters were on the North side of the mall parking lot, these were a premiere place to see movies. I saw Posiedon Adventure and The Rose in 70mm here. I hate to admit that I also saw the musical version of Lost Horizon here. The auditoriums were nice and large…carbon copies of other General Cinema screens that dotted the Chicago area. The theater is now located in the South Parking Lot and is like any other mega plex.
Thanks, Charles! Wow, I’m impressed. It looks great (actually better than I remember it). Looks like they spent some money on this. The photo gallery really highlights some nice aspects of this theater.
Yes, I agree that Facets has some of the best programming in the city; however, the presentation here is seriously lacking. The projection is very poor and the mono sound is bad. My home theater system at home is miles better than what is offered here. As a comparison, the Gene Siskel Film Center offers similar programming and their presentation is state of the art. Facets would really be a great desitnation if only they put some money into their facility.
My parents took me here to see some big Hollywood musicals: Oliver, Fiddler on the Roof. It was, from what I remember, a very nice theater. Large auditorium and large screen.
What a downfall for this theater! I saw Amadeus here in 70mm and great stereo sound. Just before it closed I saw Ransom for $1 here. My friend and I walked out about 10 minutes into the movie after a large family sat behind us and started having a full picnic.
The OakBrook theater (the stand alone theater on the East Side) was a very special theater. To me, it was “the place” to see a movie before it was divided up. The auditorium was large. I remember the speakers and lights were “hidden” behind large circular decorative units. The walls were an accordian-type relief. The main floor was nicely raked and there was a walk up balcony similar to the “stadium seating” found in newer cinemas. The projection and sound here were first class. Saw many 70mm/stereo presentations here: Superman, Star is Born, Tommy, Hindenburg, Midway in Sensurround. My parents took me here to see movies on my birthday so it holds sentimental value. After it was divided, I saw Forest Gump here…I never went back because it was sad what they had done to the auditorium. I also attended a few movies in the adjacent theater they built later that actually connected to the mall. Nothing special. It was very similar to other Cineplex Odeon’s in the city.
This was a wonderful/elegant theater. I never went there while it was a single auditorium…only after it had been twinned. I saw several “special presentation” movies here: Apocalypse Now in 70mm, All the President’s Men, Black Hole, Fame, Barry Lyndon, and The Exorcist (my father mistakenly took me to see this a couple days after it opened when I was only 12…big mistake!). The theater had great sound and projection. Obviously, the property it sat on became very valuable and was removed to make way for an office building. I miss stand alone theaters like this (such as the OakBrook which was across the street, the Edens, Golf Mill, Woodfield, Arlington, Coral, etc.)
I posted my comments on the Olympic site….I’m not sure if the restaurant next to the Berwyn was a Bohemian restaurant per se (such as Old Prague or Pilsner) but they definately had Bohemian food like roast pork and such. Thanks, Charles, on the name of the Troy Store!
I spent so many hours at this theater in the late 60’s and throughout the 70’s. The Olympic had the best double features. At times the film choices were a little odd. What I remember is the large staircase going up to the theater. I believe a red carpet. Walking past the theater, I could always smell popcorn. The auditorium was large and well lit with a classical mural above the screen. There was a lighted clock in the upper right corner of the screen which could be a distraction especially in boring movies. The large balcony was rarely open. I think I only sat up there once. The bathrooms were downstairs and had a large lounge area. The projection sometimes overlapped onto the stucco to the left and right of the screen. The theater actually had a stereophonic system that was used once in a while. I remember quite well that the thunder scenes in Ben Hur scared me when the sound boomed from the surround speakers. The theater played just about any movie…from kid flicks to the occasional adult film (Deep Throat, Fritz the Cat). I saw a marathon Planet of the Apes here which was about 8 hours long. The ticket seller was usually a woman with bleached hair and glasses..I believe in her 50’s or 60’s. She would always sell me tickets to R rated movies when I was only in my early teens. By doing this I got to see some of the great 70’s flicks. I used to look forward to going past the theater on Fridays to look at the new posters and lobby cards and to see what posters were posted for the upcoming week(s).
Saw a lot of first-run mega-hit movies here in the late 70’s and early 80’s: Star Wars, King Kong, Grease, The Wiz, Lion King, Home Alone, Top Gun. As the years progressed and technology changed, so did these theaters. They added digital sound and 70mm projection. I saw Rollercoaster in Sensurround here. I remember they had signs in the lobby warning people in the next door auditorium that they would hear rumbling. When the cinema was still a twin, the main auditorium was very nice in a 70’s kind of way. Vast and a huge screen. The screen was set in a type of blue shadowbox. I used to love the General Cinema logo-promo that played before the movies. For Jaws, my father and I sat in the lobby for the length of two shows. This was the days before a movie would play in several auditoriums. It was very communal and the excitement was almost tangible. I’ve been back to the new AMC theaters that were built on the old site. Nice theaters but do not have the same “feel” as the old Yorktown GCC Cinemas.
In their heyday, the theaters showed a lot of premiere/exclusive engagements. (I saw Rocky, All That Jazz, Schindler’s List and many others here.) The upstairs theaters were very attractive but very tiny. Actually not much bigger than some new wide-screen tv’s. Attending a movie here was a treat. The theaters downstairs which were converted from the Drury Lane theater (and ironically turned back into the Drury Lane) were kind of an afterthought. The lobby and restrooms were nice, but the auditoriums were cookie-cutter.
Right before they cut up the theater they used to have a cat that roamed the auditorium. I was told the cat was used to keep the rodent popluation down. The new auditoriums are very small. They have old cinema chairs that, I believe, they obtained from another closed theater chain. The projection and sound here are awful. But the theater is in a great location and a good place to see a movie for “last minute decisions.” The last time I was there (about 3 years ago) the staff was not very nice.
Although I grew up in Berwyn in the late 60’s/early 70’s, I spent the majority of my movie going at the Olympic, Berwyn, and Harlem-Cermak theaters. I did go to the Ritz probably twice. I remember it was a large old theater. Very dark and not that terribly attractive. At this time they played 3rd run movies.
I would assume that the casino didn’t want people spending time in the movies. They’d rather have people put money in the slots. Also, I believe people were dropping off their kids there for hours while the parents left them for the casino.
I’ve seen a couple of movies here when it first opened. It’s too bad that this theater always seems to be struggling. The location has done a 360 and has become quite hot. I think if they clean it up and add some eclectic fare, it would do well. I stopped going here because the audience became a little rough; however, with the gentification going on, this could change.