National Theater

608 S. State Street,
Chicago, IL 60605

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National Theater

Opened around 1913 by Fred Wemer, the National Theater stood on S. State Street at W. Harrison Street. The National Theater was still in operation in 1945 according to the Film Daily Yearbook of that year, seating 262. The National Theater remained in operation for a handful of years more before closing. Jones College Prep High School is now located on the site of the theater.

This theater is not to be confused with the somewhat larger theater of the same name in the Englewood neighborhood, later known as the Ace Theatre and finally Kim Theatre (which has its own page on Cinema Treasures).

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

CHICTH74 on February 15, 2006 at 4:42 am

The National Theatre apears to be ny if not on the same block as the Paris Theatre it looks like the land is now being used by Jones High School in Chicago`s “South Loop” area.

johncordell on March 6, 2008 at 6:57 pm

In 1957, while attending (or rather not attending) high school, I used to cut school and sometimes go to the National Theater. Being on South State Street, I could see three classic movies for 35 cents. It was off the beaten path, and truant officers would not go there. I remember seeing CRIME SCHOOL with Humphrey Bogart and the Dead End Kids, and EACH DAWN I DIE with James Cagney and George Raft there. This was just after Warner Bros. sold their pre-1949 movies to television. When somebody flushed the toilet, you could hear it in the auditorium. Also, a woman would go through the theatre shouting “peanuts, pop corn, candy.” Mostly the audience was composed of derelicts, alcoholics, etc. The theatre probably closed shortly afterwards.

nonsportsnut on October 6, 2009 at 5:04 pm

I’m a Three Stooges Fan Club member, trying to confirm a personal appearance by the “3” Stooges (Moe Larry and Shemp), on a bill with Wee Bonnie Baker, the Barretts and Don Hooton, after an appearance by the A.B. Marcus Revue. The movie “Queen of Burlesque” was also shown. I have a display ad, but no dates (or town shown). Believe it was the Summer of 1946, and may have been Shemp’s first appearance after Curly’s strokes. The National was advertised as air cooled and showed a phone number of JA-7863.
Any help will be appreciated.
Thanks Frank Reighter

DavidZornig on April 1, 2020 at 3:25 am

Circa 1961 photo added via Mase Mason.

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