Admiral Theatre

3940 W. Lawrence Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60625

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Balaban & Katz Corp.

Firms: Gallup and Joy

Functions: Live Performances

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 773.478.8111

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Admiral Theatre

The 1,500-seat Admiral Theatre opened on March 31, 1927 with Helen Chadwick “Stolen Pleasures”. It was a showcase for both vaudeville and motion pictures. It was equipped with a Marr & Colton 3 manual 10 ranks organ. On January 1, 1942, the theatre was acquired by the Balaban & Katz chain.

By the mid-1950’s, the Admiral Theatre was closed due to declining business. On August 29, 1969 it reopened its doors, strangely enough, screening only cartoons, with admission for a quarter. Predictably, this venture didn’t pan out, and within a couple months, closed.

On December 26, 1969, the Admiral Theatre reopened again, this time showing pornographic films. In the summer of 1987, the theatre received a makeover, and restored some of the original d├ęcor. About the same time, the focus of the Admiral Theatre went from films on the screen to live entertainment, and received the more proper designation as a “gentleman’s club”, as it remains today.

Contributed by Ray Martinez

Recent comments (view all 23 comments)

kencmcintyre on January 8, 2010 at 5:22 pm

My porno filter at work did not like that website. Have to wait until I get home.

Broan on December 27, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Drove by yesterday, the Admiral has re-done its entrance in a more sympathetic way – more of the terra cotta is now exposed and a lot of that EFIS stucco is gone.

DavidZornig on May 31, 2018 at 4:35 pm

Exterior photo included…

DavidZornig on May 9, 2020 at 9:42 am

“Admiral Theatre sues over PPP loan delay, alleges regulations violate first amendment.”

rivest266 on August 11, 2020 at 6:12 pm

The Admiral theatre opened on March 31st, 1927 with “Stolen Pleasures”.

rivest266 on August 15, 2020 at 7:37 pm

Shown up in the Balaban & Katz on January 1st, 1942. No special ad found.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on April 15, 2023 at 3:41 am

The Admiral Theatre reopened on Friday, August 29, 1969 as a regular neighborhood movie theatre. It started showing “Adults Only” movies on Friday, December 26, 1969. The Admiral remained open as an adult theatre until the Summer of 1987.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on April 15, 2023 at 11:03 am

Judging by the old Chicago Tribune ads, it seems like the Admiral opened a double feature of THE WRECKING CREW plus PENDULUM on Friday, December 19, 1969; closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day; and then reopened on Friday, December 26, 1969 with the new Adult film policy. It was soft core adult films, initially. I’m not sure when the hard core porno films started rolling in. Possibly 1970 or 1971.

DavidZornig on August 7, 2023 at 12:17 pm

Official website & Facebook page for the Admiral Theatre.

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