Town & Country Theatres

555 E. Palatine Road,
Arlington Heights, IL 60004

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Cineplex Odeon, Essaness Theaters Corp.

Previous Names: Town 'N' Country Theatres

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Town & Country Theatres

This former Cineplex Odeon six-screener was located at the now closed Town & Country mall in Arlington Heights, on Palatine Road. It opened May 22, 1981 by Essaness Theatres and closed in 2001.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

billymac72
billymac72 on January 23, 2007 at 12:47 pm

Here’s a couple of pics I took of the shuttered Town & Country mall exterior. I believe this has now all been torn down. This entrance also lead to the theater. I wish I put my camera up to the glass for a few photos…I might have caught the theater in the back.

http://bmac5.photosite.com/townandcountry/

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 4, 2007 at 7:17 am

Here is an ad from the Daily Herald dated 8/31/81:
http://tinyurl.com/2umlde

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on April 24, 2008 at 2:26 am

That’s an interesting ad, Ken MC. Only the Catlow and the Liberty 1&2 remain open, all of the others have been closed.

brianbobcat
brianbobcat on April 25, 2008 at 3:21 am

I’ve got to disagree with several of the previous commenters. Granted I never worked here as I was too young, but that youth’s memory has it’s advantages. I remember the concession stand squarely up against the west wall with a large open space behind the ticket booth but in front of the theaters-where others have said the pentagonal concession stand was. They must’ve moved it at some point because I Distinctly remember a mosaic of comic and movie characters over the western concession stand. Now to add more details: the two main theaters (don’t remember what numbers) were straight in from the lobby. One was east and the other west facing. On the south side of the theaters was a hallway that house the other 4 smaller theaters. The two large ones were fairly narrow, I’d say no more than 50 seats wide, but 2-3x as deep. I can’t say I remember seeing a specific film here, but know I went numerous times.

The mall closed for numerous reasons. The theater and arcade (Just for Fun) was a great 1-2 punch for families, the theater gets the adults there and the Arcade hooks the kids. The western side of the mall wasn’t too well off (it house a temporary haunted house one year I remember) so Lord & Taylor consumed that whole west end. Then both it and the theaters went out almost simultaneously, it was too big a loss for the mall to survive. With the theaters gone, the arcade didn’t last and neither did the gaming store. The Dick’s is now open, a Jo Ann’s took over much of the Lord & Taylor, in fact, you can tell form inside where the mall hallway was based upon the ceiling joists.

A shame this theater went out since I lived SO close to it.

-Brian

ghowmedic
ghowmedic on April 26, 2008 at 1:55 am

Brian,
Great post. You are correct, but those of us that worked there in the early days, are also correct. When the theater opened as an Essaness Theater the concession counter was centered in the lobby. Two “holding pens” were often created for the theaters that held the most amount of people. Those were theaters 1 & 2 located straight in from the lobby. They had a capacity of approximately 300-400 people. In those days, these theaters seemed quite small compared to the Big Brother theaters at Woodfield which held 1000 and 800 people. Back then it was not uncommon to have lines of people snaked into the mall waiting to see the big show that was premiering that weekend. On a weekend night, the only things that were open in the mall were the Theater, the game room and of course Swensons Ice Cream counter.
This was a favorite location of all the theater employees.

The theater also had four other theaters. Two of the theaters were located in the hallway to the left along with the men’s bathroom. These were known as theaters 3 and 4. Theaters 5 and 6 were located in the hallway to the right, along with the womens bathroom. At the top of the landing there was an area for approximately 3 video games.

Around the time Cineplex Odeon was entering the Chicago market, they had purchased Plitt Theaters, then Essaness theaters. Town & Country theaters did not fit into the “design” that Cineplex Odeon had made famous in other parts of the country. Thus Town & Country was closed for renovations.

One of the most significant renovations that was done was the move of the concession stand to the side wall of the lobby, as indicated by Brian’s memory.

The theaters did not recieve significant renovation to attact people away from the Multi-Million Theater – Ridge Cinemas, that was the jewel of the northwest suburbs. It had old school theater seating with uncomfortable chairs. No rocking, and not much padding.

It was reopened as a Cineplex Odeon Theater.

-Gary Howorka

SchaefMan
SchaefMan on June 2, 2008 at 11:33 pm

Wow… I worked at T&C during my Senior Year, in 1983, with Chris Lindgren. That was fun, espcially when we played movies like “Let’s Spend the Night Together” by the Stones….

Plenty of after work gatherings in the back parking lot, sometimes fueled by any unopened beer we could confiscate from the patrons, specifically, patrons that came to see the above concert films.

I also remember First Blood, Tron, Tootsie, etc… It was tough to watch these movies on video later, since I had seen the ending about 100 times…lol..

rivest266
rivest266 on June 19, 2012 at 12:53 am

May 15th, 1981 grand opening ad in photo section

swhockey98
swhockey98 on March 26, 2013 at 1:41 pm

I know this is an old thread, but if anyone has any picture scans of the theater or any pictures of the old Town & Country Mall can you please upload them? Billymac’s photo link doesn’t seem to be working:

http://bmac5.photosite.com/townandcountry/

I miss the T&C. :(

rivest266
rivest266 on November 11, 2016 at 12:03 am

May 22nd, 1981 grand opening ad in the photo section.

Filmteknik
Filmteknik on April 22, 2023 at 8:54 pm

I am reading “Off the Cliff” which is about the making of “Thelma & Louise.” They mention a test screening held at a CO Theatre in Arlington Heights, IL on Oct. 29, 1990. This could have been at T&C or at Ridge. (T&C would have been CO by this point.) My guess would be Ridge but I do not know.

It said they had an audience of 330.

At this point during a production, it is very likely they would be running the edited work print with splices between each shot and the sound would be a temporary mix running off a separate 35mm magnetic track. A conventional print with an optical soundtrack is remotely possible but less likely. Playing a magnetic track - unmarried it’s often called - means bringing in extra equipment that would play the track in sync with the projector.

Any former employees recall?

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