Coral Theatre

4710 W. 95th Street,
Oak Lawn, IL 60453

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Showing 1 - 25 of 32 comments

DavidZornig on April 28, 2017 at 7:15 am

12/06/52 photo added courtesy of the Chicago’s Extinct Businesses Facebook page.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on March 30, 2017 at 10:06 am

Cineplex-Odeon came to the Chicago market in the Fall of 1985.

DAL on January 18, 2017 at 3:30 pm

The Coral Theatre was not operated by Cineplex Odeon. C-O didn’t enter the Chicago market until December, 1986. They did take over operation of the Chicago Ridge Mall Theatres nearby.

Lawrence A. Pagliaro
Lawrence A. Pagliaro on January 16, 2017 at 11:28 am

I have been casually searching for the name of the Ice Cream stand on the corner of 95th and Cicero near the Coral theater for a number of years. My wife and I grew up in Oak Lawn and our earliest dates were at the Coral and ended at this Ice Cream shop. In searching recent Oak Lawn Library photo history I found photos of two sisters (Wettergren children) sitting on a bear and the photo identifies the location as Harold’s Custard Stand located on the Northeast corner of Cicero Ave and 95th St, near the Coral Theater. The photo is from 1950 and a bit before our time there but this is the closest that I have come to finding hard evidence of the Ice Cream stands name.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 31, 2015 at 3:35 pm

Here are fresh links the the April 25, 1942, Boxoffice article about the Coral and Arlington Theatres (illustrations are on the first two pages, with text only on pages three and four):

Page one

Page two

Page three

Page four

DavidZornig on March 30, 2015 at 10:20 pm

Circa 1980 photo added courtesy of the Chicago’s Extinct Businesses Facebook page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 24, 2014 at 10:47 pm

Smith & Neubek also handled the remodeling of the Arlington Theatre in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

KurtisT on June 24, 2014 at 7:19 pm

Yes, Smith & Neubek was the architecture firm, but the Coral Theater was designed by Frank Neubek, who designed many landmarks in the Chicago area. Mr. Neubek has retired from practice and lives in Naples, Florida.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 23, 2014 at 3:38 pm

knadles: The second page of the Boxoffice article I linked to in my previous comment has a black and white photo of the Coral’s auditorium (here) though it is small and the scan is rather blurry.

knadles on January 23, 2014 at 3:03 pm

I loved the Coral. Saw many films there as a kid and teenager. It didn’t look like much from the outside, but I recall a lobby with a red leather couch and chairs and a fireplace, an attached courtyard/garden where you could walk around while waiting for the movie to start, and huge murals of Polynesian scenes (people building canoes, etc.) painted on the interior side walls of the auditorium. It was a great building, so of course it had to go. The strip mall that replaced it is half empty.

If anyone has interior photos of the Coral, I’d love to see them.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 22, 2012 at 4:59 pm

The Coral Theatre and its sister house the Arlington were the subject of this article in Boxoffice of April 25, 1942. The scan of the magazine is a bit blurry, but two photos of the Coral show the original appearance of the facade and the auditorium. Judging from the 1983 photo linked in Lost Memory’s comment of May 16, 2009, the building was later expanded (as was the Arlington, in 1962.) Originally, both houses had almost identical exteriors.

The Boxoffice article identifies the architect of the Coral Theatre as Frederick Stanton, and says that theater consultant David N. Sandine was the supervisor of the design on both projects. Both houses were decorated by the Hanns Teichert Studio.

When the Coral Theatre was remodeled and expanded in 1963, the architect for the project was Donald Thomas Smith, of the Chicago firm Smith & Neubek. The Coral is listed among Smith’s designs in his entry in the 1970 edition of the AIA’s American Architects Directory.

lawlerpaul on June 14, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Worked as an Usher for Mr. Kehe, in 1964 he taught me to say Yes Sir. I had a big crush on a girl named Wilma, she worked as a Candy Girl we called here Willy. The popcorn had real butter! When a Hard Days Night came out girls would scream and several passed out. We where so innocent then. After graduating from OLCHS, I was off to Nam.

Broan on April 21, 2011 at 3:34 pm

An exceptionally unusual artifact from Mr. Kehe:
View link

TLSLOEWS on March 30, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Always good to hear stories from people who worked the theatres.

jdarlinger on March 30, 2011 at 2:45 pm

I too worked as an usher at the coral in 1963. The manager at that time was Mr.Kay and he was a hard man to work for. I was there for the remodel and was involved in mostly clean up. We came in and worked all night on that detail. I remember the narrow stairs up to the dressing room and our new uniforms. Black tux with cardboard dickie and collars. Red cumberbun with red stripe down the side of the legs. There was a White Castle across the street. Some of the movies we ran were: The longest day, The nutty professor, Bye bye Birdie, Mutny on the Bounty, The Frankie and Annete beach movies, The great escape and many more. Pay was no good but great memories.

TLSLOEWS on July 10, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Two for the price of one though.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 8, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Playing B movies in 1983 photo,too nice of a theatre for that.

123james on August 13, 2009 at 6:24 am

the coral theater i remember didn’t but up to 95th it sat back from 95th—-it was all white i believe——on the corner of 95th was a frozen custard shop with a huge stone polar on it’s hind legs——i’m embrassed to say the custard place is more fresh than the theater—-we lived on 63rd and went to the lawn,colony,hi-way,and downtown——i left the city——in 1957—-then went in the army——so much has changed——-does any one remember the custard place? p.s.——add bear after polar——polar bear

GrandMogul on February 9, 2007 at 8:11 am

CHICAGO TRIBUNE ad announced on Friday, August 2, 1959, the opening of the Coral theatre, at 95th and Cicero, “Your Family Theatre,” and of the Arlington theatre, downtown Arlington Heights—-I’m assuming that the Coral must’ve been rehabed by new owners, and reopened.

VintageBob on October 9, 2006 at 7:50 pm

I miss the Coral. I think the last time I was there was in ‘82 to see Rocky III. I remember that because me and my friends were always cheering for Mr. T (Clubber Lang) and we got some strange looks from the other patrons! It was a very nice theatre, and unique compared to even the other great Chicago theaters on the south side such as the Brighton, Colony, and Marquette.

HDTVdesignteam on July 12, 2006 at 12:43 pm

As a kid, I remember the Corral during the late 50’s and 60’s. It was one of the ‘locals’ for us Palos/Orland kids.

Broan on April 16, 2006 at 10:13 am

It opened February 7, 1942 for Lucas management and the architect was Roy B. Blass

Broan on April 16, 2006 at 10:04 am

The Coral looks like it was the twin of the Arlington in Arlington Heights. Same operator too.

barryr on February 8, 2006 at 6:32 pm

My family lived on the north side of Chicago, and then Oak Park. So trekking all the way south to the Coral was a big deal (especially since my dad was the one who usually took me to the movies and he relied on public transportation). But I do remember going there to see the Disney film “The Jungle Book” near the end of its initial run. I’d have gone to the Antarctic to see “The Jungle Book,” I loved it so much—and the Coral seemed just as far. But it was worth it; a favorite film in a lovely venue. And years later, I remember seeing a film there called “Fantastic Planet.” It was a strange little animated feature from, I believe, France. It’s become somewhat of a cult classic since…but I remember sitting there thinking that this was not like your typical Disney fare!

JJK on November 4, 2005 at 2:14 am

I just missed you, RO, because I started working there in the summer of 1976, after my sophomore year at Richards High School. I had gone to the IHOP next door to apply for a job, and they were so busy I couldn’t even get someone’s attention for an application. This isn’t for me, I thought, so I left. As I left the IHOP I was facing the Coral, and the side exit facing IHOP was open, so I walked over there. It turned out they’d had rain damage the night before and had propped open the doors for fresh air to help dry out the carpets. I met Mrs. Evans, the manager, asked if she needed anybody, and she hired me on the spot because she needed one more usher and, more importantly, she was thrilled that I was Ukrainian, like her. The only time I’ve ever gotten a job due to my ancestry, and it was pure luck that the propped door caught my attention; I wasn’t planning to apply there. I had great times there, too, though no hide and seek during my two years.