Capri Cinema

64 E. Van Buren Street,
Chicago, IL 60605

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DavidZornig on November 26, 2021 at 3:36 pm

1954 marquee shot during S. Ziegfeld Ct street naming.

rivest266 on August 15, 2020 at 5:35 pm

This reopened as Studio on July 1st, 1940. Grand opening ad posted.

rockndeco on June 11, 2017 at 12:41 pm

In August, 1934 it was still advertising itself as the Punch and Judy. Check photo section for an advertising handbill from the Punch and Judy Theatre from August, 1934 (based on films and perpetual calendar dating) promoting upcoming films including “Secrets”, “Sorrell and Son”, “Little Man, What Now?” and “Cavalcade”.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on February 24, 2017 at 10:55 am

The grand opening to the public was on November 21st, 1950, with a gala performance the night before for the benefit of the scholarship fund of the Chicago Musical College. See ad uploaded to the photo section.

rivest266 on November 14, 2016 at 7:43 pm

November 24th, 1950 grand opening ad as Ziegfeld also in the photo section.

rivest266 on November 13, 2016 at 1:48 pm

March 22nd, 1935 grand opening ad as Sonotone in the photo section. It was the first theatre in the world be equipped for the hard of hearing according to the ad.

rivest266 on November 11, 2016 at 5:55 pm

July 4th, 1958 grand opening ad as Capri in the photo section

DavidZornig on March 19, 2016 at 12:23 pm

5/07/67 photo added, photo credit Steve Lewandowski‎.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 3, 2013 at 1:36 am

A two page article about the Punch and Judy Theatre, complete with floor plans, followed by four pages of photos, appeared in the October 25, 1930, issue of Exhibitors Herald-World. It can be seen online at the Internet Archive (click on the + sign in the tool bar at the bottom to enlarge pages.)

Broan on May 29, 2013 at 9:28 am

It’s in the Photos section…

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 29, 2013 at 1:31 am

I have no idea what the original interior of this late 19th century theater looked like, but whatever style it was, the transformation of the auditorium with a severely streamlined design by architect Eugene Fuhrer in 1930 must have been a shock to anyone familiar with the house. Here is a photo illustrating an ad for the American Seating Company in the November 1, 1930, issue of Motion Picture News.

lunzel on March 22, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Would you have a higher res copy of this image? I need an image of Steinway Hall for a doc about the architects in this building and Dwight Perkins. Thank you.

kencmcintyre on January 2, 2009 at 5:08 pm

From Boxoffice magazine, January 1940:

CHICAGO-The newest Yiddish production of G.L. Motion Picture Corp., “Overture to Glory”, starring Moishe Oysher, is having its world premiere at the Sonotone. Irving Franklin is handling the picture in the Chicago territory.

EMueller on December 21, 2006 at 8:42 am

Dear KenC and all,
Thanks for the interesting information. By the way, I’ve been corrected: it was not in the lobby but on the Mezzanine in the Sonotone where the Soviet constitution and possibly other brochures were sold.

KenC on December 20, 2006 at 9:27 pm

To EMueller: you’re right, the Sonotone theatre did screen at least a few Soviet films in the late 30s. From the Chicago Tribune movie directory on Sunday, July 3,1938: SONOTONE “It’s Always Cool and Comfortable” 66 E. VAN BUREN .35 to 2 p.m.—–.40 to 5:30 The Furiously Exciting Soviet Naval Drama “MEN OF THE SEA” Made with the Cooperation of the Soviet Navy and the Men of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet. And… from the Chicago Tribune movie listings on Saturday April 1, 1939: SONOTONE Late Feature at 11:15 P.M. Starts Today SERGEI EISENSTEIN’S Supreme Film Achievement “ALEXANDER NEVSKY”. Also, at the Princess (another downtown theatre) one could have seen “FRONTIER” another Soviet film, on Friday June 12, 1936.

EMueller on December 19, 2006 at 10:29 am

Although this was before my time, I understand that the Sonotone theater back in the 1935-1940 period specialized in Soviet films or at least it screened a number of them. That was the period of the coming of World War II when the Soviets were also anti-Hitler, so showing Soviet films didn’t black-list you then. I’ve heard you could even buy copies of the Soviet constitution in the lobby. But it sounds like that all changed in 1940. If anybody has information on the politics of the theater back then, I’d be interested.

KenC on July 18, 2006 at 8:39 pm

Here is one more name for this theatre- after it was called the Studio, and before it was named the Capri cinema, it was the ZIEGFELD. It played some “ADULTS ONLY” films under this name in the mid 50s.

scottfavareille on December 8, 2003 at 11:57 am

The fare being shown in the 1960’s sounds right, as Dowd was good friends with David Friedman, who produced Lucky Pierre, Thar She Blows, and the Ramrodder and who made Nature’s Paradise, Nature’s Playmates, and the Goldilocks films for Dowd (on-hire). Reportably, Lucky Pierre played here for well over a year and this film helped turn the fortunes of the Capri around(and also led to Friedman making some films for Dowd as well).

KenC on December 7, 2003 at 10:57 pm

The Capri was one of a number of “Adults Only” theatres in downtown Chicago. Throughout the 1960s, it was famous for showing nudist camp films…“NATURE’S PARADISE”, “NATURE"S PLAYMATES”, “ADVENTURES OF LUCKY PIERRE”, and dozens of others. By the late 60’s, it was showing much rougher stuff…for example, “THAR SHE BLOWS”, “THE RAMRODDER”, and two obscure films by director Andy Milligan, “THE FILTHY FIVE” and “TRICKS OF THE TRADE”. I recall the theatre being very small. The area I sat in seemed like a large living room-comfortable, but not too many seats. There was no marquee outside , just a sign stating CAPRI CINEMA. Features ran from about 10 a.m. to midnight. Admission was $1.80 for a double feature. I remember the ticket taker/concession stand guy stating the price was to keep out the riff raff!!

scottfavareille on December 7, 2003 at 12:36 pm

Tom Dowd operated this theater in the 1960’s and he also was involved in producing “nudie cutie” films that would run at this theater. One of those films was a nudie musical version of Goldilocks & the 3 Bears, which is out on DVD.