Bugg Theatre

3940 N. Damen Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60618

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BUGG Theatre, Chicago, Illinois

This nearly 1000-seat theater located in what is today part of the St. Ben’s neighborhood opened in 1917. It was one of the more unusually-named movie theaters of Chicago.

The Bugg survived at least into the 1950s, but has been demolished, with a bank occupying the former theater site today.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

Theaterat on June 8, 2005 at 12:23 pm

A friend of mine who lived in Chicago remembers the Bugg theater. He tells me the same company also owned a theater called the “Roche”. Just kidding!

gbugg on February 21, 2006 at 6:17 am

As for the origin of the “unusual” name, Bugg is a family name. Therefore, chances are that the original owner was named Bugg. There were and still are a number of Bugg families scattered about Chicago and throughout Illinois.

Englewood on September 12, 2007 at 10:30 pm

Charles Bugg was the owner of the Bugg Theater in 1929.

kencmcintyre on March 9, 2009 at 9:09 pm

The Chicago Tribune announced in October 1958 that the Bugg was going to be razed in favor of a parking lot.

castleflynn on July 27, 2011 at 12:09 pm

The Bugg was my favorite theater in my childhood. I went there with my parents, sometimes three times a week because they changed the double features that often. I saw third-run films of the time (the 50s) and “old” movies that introduced me to Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, Rita Hayworth, Spenser Tracy. There was always something to see at the Bugg. I went there more than any other theater. The popcorn was better than the North Center’s.

LouRugani on September 7, 2012 at 6:33 pm

(August 1, 1958) CHICAGO (AP) — The movie “The Fly” has closed a run at the Bugg Theater.

Remember on November 16, 2013 at 12:19 pm

My family attended the BUGG theater in the early 40’s. Charlie Bugg, the owner was a cousin to my father. Our family name was always good for a pun!

1907CaSBugg on March 26, 2014 at 5:12 pm

I fondly remember going to the Bugg Theater and paying 17 cents admission and 10 cents for a box of popcorn. Butter popcorn was, I think, 25 cents for three squirts of Meadowgold Butter. I think the ticket taker’s name was Bill and there was always a woman who took you money and issued you your ticket. One day I found a $20.00 dollar bill on the aisle close to the exit/entrance curtain. When I got home I gave it to my mother who was astonished at my find. Those sure were the good old days!

Broan on January 17, 2016 at 3:13 pm

Here is a THSA photo of the Bugg.

dpzamudio on November 27, 2017 at 12:14 pm

I have fragments of hand painted silent film posters (signs) that I am nearly positive came from the Bugg Theatre. They are from 1925. They are 4 feet by 6 feet. I have 8-10 nearly complete signs and fragments to another 20. They where used to line the attic of a 1882 house not far from the theatre. They were unknowingly destroyed during a partial insulation project in the 1980’s. I have spent the past year and a half cleaning and piecing the fragments back to gether. After researching the titles, I was able to find consistent showings at this theatre. I would like to see more photos of the theatre or have contact information to relatives. The image from THSA confirms that the theatre had huge side windows where these signs where probably used. According to census data. Charles Bugg married a women 20 years younger and did not have children. He lived in the Edgewater Beach Hotel before moving to Evanston. Please send any information to or call (773) 316-5528.


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