Kim Theatre

6219 S. Halsted Street,
Chicago, IL 60621

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 8, 2015 at 1:57 pm

Linkrot repair: The 1911 photo of the National Theatre is now at this link.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 16, 2012 at 3:30 am

For some reason, Broan’s link in the previous comment now fetches a photo of the interior of the Juneau Theatre in Milwaukee. Here is a link that should get the photo of the National.

Here is an item about this theater from the March 4, 1922, issue of The Economist, a regional weekly business magazine published in Chicago:

“The National Theater at 6217 to 6223 South Halsted street, 79x124, has been purchased by Harry O. Rabe and James F. Sutter of the Printing firm of Rabe, Sutter & Co., from the Englewood Stock Company, of which Louis Rathje is president, for an indicated $160,000. In addition to the 1,200-seat theater the building contains stores and 17 offices. The National Theater & Amusement Company has the theater leased for a term having seven and one-half years yet to run.”

LouisRugani on April 18, 2011 at 5:08 pm

(October 10, 1956)
Free Children’s Show At New Kim Theatre
Concurrent with Englewood’s 67th birthday celebration is Grand Opening of the newly-remodeled Kim theatre, W. 62nd and S. Halsted sts., October 10-14.
Highlighting the five-day celebration will be two free shows for children Friday and Saturday from 9 to 10:30 a.m. There’ll be free gifts, refreshments and a film schedule of top favorites.

Modernization of the new Kim is first in a series of scheduled improvements in the W. 63rd and S. Halsted sts. area. There are all new seats throughout, a new marquee and doors, enlarged lobby, new lounges and complete redecoration.
Bruce Trinz, general manager of the Clark theatre, heads up the management of the Kim.
Formerly known as the National Theatre, Englewood’s well known theatre opened its doors in 1908 as a headquarters for stock company shows and vaudeville. It was converted to a movie house in 1930.

thedoberman on June 6, 2010 at 3:01 pm

In the early 1940"s i seen for the first time BAMBI at the kim.I was 8 or 9 yrs old .boy i loved all those theaters those days.We moved to phx az in 1951 and the whole city had only 5 theatres.Damn time goes by fast when u get old.I lived in the big 4 story building at 504 w 62st across from the kelly library.

kencmcintyre on June 13, 2009 at 8:59 pm

Here is a March 1915 ad from the Suburbanite Economist:

Englewood on November 15, 2008 at 9:25 am

From the Chicago Tribune, March 17, 1967, Pg. B10

“City Sued for Denying
License to S. Side Movie

“Strand Art Theaters, Inc., filed suit yesterday in Circuit court against Mayor Daley and the city of Chicago contesting the city’s denial of a 1967 license for the Kim Art theater, 6217 Halsted st.”

I think the names ‘Strand Art Theaters, Inc’ and the ‘Kim Art theater’ are pretty good indicators that they intended to open the Kim as a porno house.

jessieskid on August 4, 2008 at 5:45 pm

Wow the memories these brought back.In the early 50s as a recently diccharged transplant from Tennessee,[hillbilly], I lived at 6528 Harvard. I remember the pulse and excitement of 63rd & Halsted, Sears, Kresges, and the Southtown. We rode a Penn. RR comuter train from Englewood Station to the Union Station downtown to work, Took 15 min. each way, and a months pass cost 20 bucks if I remember right.We lived there and 62nd & Richmond until 1960, then moved to Maywood. We left the area in 71, havent been back since. I couldn`t believe it when I Googled up 63rd &Halsted and found it was gone. Impossible!!!!
Halsted and found it was gone.

Englewood on November 28, 2007 at 12:55 pm

This story from the Trib might explain this theater’s first name change. (Monday, November 19, 1906)

Horan Breaks Records to Englewood Blaze

A whirlwind automobile ride which violated every speed ordinance in the Chicago code, smashed any number of records, and brought Fire Marshall Horan from the foot of Chicago avenue to Sixty-third and Halsted streets in nineteen minutes, made an early morning fire which destroyed the Avenue Theater yesterday a memorable one for the new chief.

The fire was discovered shortly after 5 o'clock, in the three-storey frame structure which houses the stage of the theater. In an incredibly short time, the light building had become a furnace, the heat of the fire breaking windows in flats and stores for nearly a block in Halsted street and Englewood avenue. Within less than half an hour, the structure and its contents, which were valued at $20,000, were destroyed. No one was hurt.

Just before the [illegible and unreadable] Assistant Marshall Burroughs, Marshall Kenyon and ten firemen had a narrow escape from injury when the roof and walls of the stage structure fell in. The adjoining building, at 6235 Halsted street, which was occupied by the Clifford Bros.‘ saloon, was partly destroyed.

The building was owned by John, Michael, and Henry Clifford. The theater was leased to Samuel Morris, owner of the Avenue Stock Company. His wardrobe was entirely destroyed.

Crossed wires on the stage are believed to have caused the fire. The theater, it is said, will be replaced at once by a modern steel structure having a seating capacity of 2,500.

# # # #

Englewood on October 21, 2007 at 1:36 pm

More, just in from the Chicago Tribune of Feb. 28, 1922:

“ … Englewood’s National Theater at 6217-23 South Halsted street, home of Chicago’s oldest stock company, which has been giving a weekly change of bill for the last thirteen years, was sold yesterday for $160,000. Harry O. Rabe and James F. Sutter of Rabe, Sutter & Co., printers, bought it from the Englewood Stock company, of which Louis Rathje is president. The playhouse was designed by J.E.O. Pridmore and seats 1,200 … ”

Englewood on September 29, 2007 at 1:16 pm

You may want to change the opening date of this theater.

This from the Feb. 7, 1909 Chicago Tribune, under a headline: “Theatrical Center of the Country”, a feature story about the theaters in Chicago.

“ … The newest theater is the National, at Halsted and Sixty-third street, which was opened Dec. 31, 1908.”

Englewood on August 23, 2007 at 9:21 am

From the Chicago Tribune, October 14 1956, from Will Leonard’s column:

The Kim Theater at 62nd and Halsted streets, we learn is having a grand opening this week —– and we recall the Kim as the old National Theater. It originally opened as a spoke in the Stair and Havlin traveling legitimate circuit on December 31, 1908, with no less a vehicle than “Texas Jack, Hero of the Plains.”

Goodlander on October 21, 2006 at 4:48 am

Hello everyone,
My Dad was the one who painted the China Clipper sign. He owned Goodlander Sign Comapany on Eggleston Ave. He traded some of the cost for trade at the restaurant, so we would eat at the Clipper and then go up to the Southtown. I lived at 243 West Englewood Ave. within sight and smell off my back porch of White Castle. The building is gone now, just tried to take my Mom back for her 87th birhtday. She lived in Englewood all her life and so did my Dad. Went to Englewood High both of them. I went to Lewis Champlain and spent all my off time at the Hiram Kelly Library. Afternoons spent at the youth program at EBC (Engelwood Baptist Church) even though I wasn’t Baptist! You guys have got me DREAMING about the old neighborhood. Thanks for the Memories, Gale Goodlander

CharlesZirino on October 6, 2005 at 10:02 am

Ah yes, The bowling alley: 1951 I was a freshman at Tilden Tech.Mike Ryan sold the toy store and currency exchange/booking parlor in the back,Shush! and retired to Florida.Along came John Quealy who owned the Tumble Down Shack tavern up north on Halsted and had sold. He moved down to Englewood and opened that bowling alley,a little six alley house called the 700 Club.He operated it with his wife Marge and his sister.He was a little chubby irishman with a brouge and a heart of gold.That place was a gold mine.I went to work there after school sweeping down the alleys and polishing balls for the 7 o' clock leagues and working the shoe counter.The child labor board came in one day and caught me and fined john. I thought it was the end for me but John just said “ Keep your eyes open and if you see them come in again DUCK!! What a guy!!!He stayed and operated The place long after the neighborhood changed and finally sold it.Last time I seen him he was working at the Beverly Golf course and that was over thirty years ago.
Chuckie Z.

CharlesZirino on October 6, 2005 at 3:35 am

As I said to Gerry C.The movie a Christmas Story written by Jean Sheppard And with his uncanny Knack for detail in the forties could have been very easily shot in a home in Englewood at that time!
Chuckie Z.

Englewood on October 5, 2005 at 12:28 pm

Hey Quixote!

Glad to see you again.

My favorite continuity goof was from the “Superman” television series: Superman would uncover a criminal; the crook would then ‘fire’ all six shots at Superman who would stand there, hands on hips, grinning, as the rounds bounced off his chest. The crook would then throw the gun at Superman—-who would then DUCK! Happened more than once.

QUIXOTE on October 5, 2005 at 11:19 am

Hello Chuckie!

Yep, you’ve got that street lineup about right! When I was a kid tho, the pool room or tavern had given way to a small bowling alley.

I wish I’d known the Wimpy’s; NEVER had any love for White Castle! I’m probably the ONLY ex-Chicagoan who DOESNT have any fond rememberances or respect for “sliders”! ;o)

Lately I’ve been playing around with GOOGLE EARTH, and have gone over the detailed, high resolution aerial photography of that area with it. Things have SURE changed! What would be great on that system (if they’ve got the server space) would be if they could add older photography, and allow you to look over the are perhaps a decade at a time to see the changes.

And yes, I caught that cigarette bit in THE DEFIANT ONES! A definite continuity goof if there ever was one! <<grin>>

It’s very odd, and probably a sign that I’m entering Old Fartdom here, but at night I find myself dreaming more and more of Englewood and Chicago in general the way it used to be back then. The REALLY strange thing about the dreams is that Chicago and The Emerald City in THE WIZARD OF OZ are very much alike.

Guess I’ve gotta lay off of the chili before bedtime! ;o)


CharlesZirino on October 5, 2005 at 6:50 am

Quixote, It went like this,going west from the Southtown, China clipper,Krogers,White Castle, then before they put Union through a parking lot then Wimpy;s then a small restaurant/bar,Then Mike Ryans Toy Store, a currency exchange,the old Ton of Fun restaurant and bar next Walter Powers cafeteria and bakery then an appliance store, barber shop and pool room in the back next another small tavern,than the Englewood than an alley and finally Sears.Funny when you mentioned the Defiant Ones at the Empress. The one thing that stood out to me was when Tony and Sidney were chained together they jumped down into the water to avoid the guards and dogs and had a hard time getting out.They were both soaking wet and finally climbed up and immediately sat down and leaned back on the tree.Then Tony pulled a dry cigarette out of his pocket and lit it with dry book matches.What? there’s one they let slip by.
Chuckie Z.

CharlesZirino on October 4, 2005 at 6:36 pm

Ah, The Ace. This to was one of the smaller no frills theatres that was one of the main six in the Englewood area.My memories of this theatre is it was one of only two that as kids we never figured out how to sneak in! I remember seeing The Music Box the Laurel and Hardy academy winning comedy there but Thats about all. It always seemed a bit seedy and loaded with like Damon Runyan characters and besides why would I go there when I had a choice of some of the best movie palaces ever built. I know LAUREL AND HARDY!!!!!!
Chuckie Z.

Broan on September 26, 2005 at 5:24 pm

Architect JEO Pridmore – Tribune, Feb 26, 1911

Englewood on February 3, 2005 at 12:00 pm

Good to hear from you. In ‘Road to Perdition,’ I seem to remember the same thing. The word ‘Perdition’ in the title refers actually to a town in Illinois (the crime boss is head of the mob in Rock Island, IL). I’m just as in the dark about the other film you mentioned.

It’s quite ironic that you mention the Cook County Assessor’s office website—with photos no less! Ironic, because I just came upon it, just last Saturday! I’ve got photos of three houses where we lived. I was a bit overwhelmed looking at them. Thanks for reminding me of the Lynn and the Rex. Both were before my time. Still, it was interesting looking at them. The Rex looked quite impressive.

I just read today that Ralph Bunche School, 6515 So. Ashland Ave., is being put on the close list.

Will post when I have more.


QUIXOTE on February 3, 2005 at 10:26 am

Hello Gerry!

Thanks for the tip on the book; I’ll have to get a copy of it! As I
get older, it seems like the bad old days down there are getting a
remaking into NOT such bad old days!

The early history of Englewood (long before I came along) is becoming
intriguing to me. Recently, the Tom Hanks movie ROAD TO PERDITION had
a reference to Englewood that I’m SURE is inaccurate; there is a
sequence where Hanks stops at a diner in Englewood (the name is
plastered acrosee the front in huge letters). The diner is out in the
middle of farming country; since the movie is set in the 1920s, I
doubt that’s accurate. More likely, that sort of scene would be about
10 – 15 years earlier.

There’s another picture I saw, but haven’t been able to run down yet,
wherein a man pursued by the police was fleeing Chicago by rail, and
was headed for the village of Englewood. They even had a pretty good
and accurate period representation of the Englewood station platform,
circa 1895 or there abouts. Ironic that a criminal should flee there,
considering what was next to it!

BTW… while it’s somewhat depressing, you can take a virtual tour
of your old neighborhood! The Cook County Assessor’s Office has put
up digital photos of nearly EVERY property in it’s realm, searchable
by address.

View link

I was able to find a picture of the old Lynn Theater there (1044 W.
63rd street), and the picture of the Rex Theater (6846 S. Racine)
came from there. The pictures seem to be circa 2003 and 2004.


Englewood on February 2, 2005 at 3:14 pm


In looking over some of my books on Englewood, I must correct myself regarding the name of the fire we both witnessed. The correct name of the company was General Furniture, not Fish Furniture. (Fish Furniture was on 63rd St.)

Memory is gooooiiiinnnggg.


Englewood on January 29, 2005 at 12:41 pm

Quite a story. If you graduated from CVS in 1967, your age would be about 55 (I’m 60). My brother went to CVS. He would’ve graduated in ‘60; he was in the same class as Chicago Bears’ Dick Butkus.

My own story is not all that disimilar. Originally, we lived on Garfield Blvd., just east of Western Ave. After briefly living in Ohio in the late 40s, we moved back to Englewood, first living with my grandfather at 60th & Normal Blvd. in 1949; then moved to 60th & Union for four years. After that, to 64th & Green St. (one year); then to 65th & Stewart Ave. until April 1958, at which time we moved to Oak Lawn.

I went to St. Martin’s School 1950-1954, 59th & Princeton Ave.; then to St. Bernard’s School 1954-1958, from where I graduated. Following four insufferable years at Oak Lawn Comm. H.S., I enlisted in the Marine Corps where I played in the band on Okinawa and 29 Palms, Calif. After my discharge in Jan. ‘67, I moved back to Oak Lawn and stayed for two years, then drove back to So. Calif. in 1969. I received an A.A. in 1972 from Glendale College and eventually became a typesetter. Got married in 1975 and more or less graduated from Calif. St. Univ. in 1978, majoring in journalism. I went to work for Daily Racing Form in 1977 and stayed until they kicked us out in 1993. Then became president of L.A. Typographical Union and served three years. Later served as a business rep for the office workers’ union for about three years. Went to work at a in Jan. 2000 and got laid off Nov. 2003. Been unemployed since then.

In remembering Englewood, I don’t recall a Kroger west of White Castle. I do remember there was a bowling alley west of it. They probably tore it down for the Kroger’s. I’d guess they were similar in size. As for Perkins Bass School, I do remember it. I just never knew it’s name. I remember Louis Champlain School, Beale School, and the ever-popular Kershaw School. We hung around their playground quite a bit. As for the schools I attended, St. Martin’s is closed I understand and St. Bernard’s is now St. Benedict the African, a composite parish of St. Martin’s, St. Bernard’s, and Our Lady of Solace.

When I lived at a three-flat at 65th & Stewart, a Superior Court judge lived on the third floor, Judge John H. Lyle. He’d lived there since the early 1920s. He had a taxi take him to court and back, every day. He once was once an alderman from Englewood and even ran for mayor during the 1930s. While we lived there he wrote a book that eventually became a national best-seller, “The Dry and Lawless Years” (Prentice-Hall Inc., 1960). It was about his battle with the gangsters of the 1920s, including Al Capone. Quite exciting book.

Speaking of books, there’s a good book about Englewood you might like. It’s called “Chicago’s Englewood Neighborhood: At the Junction” by Maria Lettiere Roberts (Arcadia Publishers, 2003). The title is play on Englewood’s original name, The Junction. It’s very good. Covers Englewood from the beginning to the present.

But of all my Englewood memories, it was the theaters that I remember most. They, and the stores, were the linch-pins of the district. If you stood at 63rd & Halsted, there were six theaters within walking distance. Who needed a car? What a place!

After all that moving around earlier, we’ve lived in the same house in Studio City, California for 29 years. Ironically, right down the street from us, about two blocks, is the former Republic Pictures studio, where countless numbers of westerns were filmed. Now it’s called CBS-TV Studios. It was here that “Seinfeld,” “Hill Street Blues,” “The 70s Show,” “Gunsmoke,” and “Gilligan’s Island” were filmed.

QUIXOTE on January 24, 2005 at 11:23 am

Hello Gerry!

Ah… ANOTHER person who remembers the “old” Englewood!

I left Englewood in 1972 to go to college. I’d graduated Chicago Vocational in 1967, and after picking up stray courses here and there at the City College system, I finally decided there was no future for me in Chicago, let alone Englewood, that would do me any good.

The shopping area finally went into the last downward spiral when Sears closed the store at 63rd & Halstead; when they tore that down, it was all over. Wieboldt’s closed up too, and L. Fish followed soon after. That’s when the ENGLEWOOD, the EMPRESS, and all the rest finally closed up, tho the SOUTHTOWN had closed as a venue in the late 1950s or early 1960s. I remember that the last movie I saw at the SOUTHTOWN was James Dean, Rock Hudson, and Liz Taylor in GIANT (it was first run at the time, so there’s a time reference). By that time, the lobby fountain and the ducks were gone, tho from earlier I remember that those ducks were downright VICIOUS (I guess from too many kids like me who tried to pet them), and the ushers nervously tried HARD to keep the kids seperated from those meat eating birds!

Memory may be a bit faulty after all these years… seems to me that west of the China Clipper there was a big Kroger store, and the ubiquitous White Castle. And I especially remember the Rock Island railroad tracks just east of the SOUTHTOWN. Chicago was still a prosperous manufacturing giant then in the middle of the postwar boom. Every few minutes another steam locomotive would go pounding past at full throttle, rushing toward the center of the city with another freight train.

The last time I was at the ENGLEWOOD was on my first date (about 14). Not a real big success, but I remember a great many other trips there… I remember seeing THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALENCE there, as well as MANY others… AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, HEAVEN KNOWS, MR. ALLISON, HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, MR. SARDONICUS, and I especially remeber PSYCHO; the projectionist had a GOOD time with that one. He deliberately ran the audio level low, but suddenly cranked it up wide open at the start of the shower scene! That wierd music hitting you full blast caused the entire audience to dive under the seats in sheer terror!!!

The EMPRESS… there were others I saw there, but the only one that stands out in my memory was the first movie I saw there, THE DEFIANT ONES with Tony Curtis & Sidney Portier.

When I graduated high school, about the only movie theater I dealt with was the BIOGRAPH up on Lincoln Avenue; it was the time of long haired Hippies, and that was the area where we all hung out. The south side became passe; the near north side was where it was all happening.

When my father passed away in 1995, I finally sold out the old house and that was pretty much it for my involvement with Englewood… and none too soon. The neighborhood where I’d grown up had become a gang infested battleground full of crack houses after a long, slow 25 year slide.

Yes, I very well remember the pool in Ogden Park… swam in it many times. A couple of buddies and I almost got arrested there when I was a teenager; we decided to go over the fence & take a swim at 3:00 AM! Amazingly, we somehow managed to NOT get spotted by the patrol; I stayed under water at the deep end until they quit shining the squad car spotlight on the water!

You no doubt remember the bad old days of “blockbusting”… we were only the second Black family to move on the block in 1952. On one side was the Lizdes Family (Lithuanians), and on the other was the Reagans (Irish). A year after we moved in somebody on the other side of Ogden Park decided that Blacks in the neighborhood had gone about far enough and decided to do something about it; on about the 6500 block of Loomis, somebody tossed a dynamite bomb thru the front window of a house that a Black family had just moved into. Inside of 5 years, 95% of the Whites moved out of the neighborhood.

I was through the area about 3 years ago. EVERYTHING is changed, and yes, Thomas Wolf has it pegged exactly. About the only thing that hadn’t changed was my old grade school; Perkins Bass Elementary School (66th & May) looks EXACTLY the way it did when I first went there, except for an addition added in the 1960s.

The whole city has changed, and IMHO, not for the better.

I went to college in northern Wisconsin, DEEP in the north woods! Overnight I changed from a city kid to someone who loved walleye fishing and deer hunting. If I could have stayed there without starving to death (the unemployment rates are unbelievable), I’d have stayed forever. As it is, I had to compromise; I live in Madison, Wisconsin now.