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  #1  
Old 01-14-2011, 10:16 AM
djelliott djelliott is offline
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Hark! Hark! The Clark

When I first lived in Chicago (summer of '68), my then boyfriend worked at the Clark Theater, in the loop. (Clark & Madison?) After work, I'd go to the movies when he worked.

The Clark was open about 23 hours/day. It featured a double bill that changed daily. Admission was cheap (50 cents? or was that just Wednesday?) A monthly schedule/calendar (Hark! Hark! the Clark!) grouped the films by themes "John Ford directs John Wayne" and I think sometimes the daily films had couplets associated with them. I didn't know much about James Cagney until I sat through 9 straight days of his films. Since the Clark attracted all sorts, a small balcony (The Little Gals Gallery) was set aside for women. (A lady with pigeons ruled that roost.) The snack stand served hot dogs and popcorn to the guests.

Alas, the boom in revival movie houses waned, and attempts to convert the Clark into a mainstream movie palace failed, and the Clark is no more. I vaguely remember the owner went on to teach films at Northwestern.

Does anyone else remember this theater? Oddly, I can't find any websites devoted to it. I loved going to to the Clark; the theater was as interesting as the films on offer. Once, a movie started and it was, well, Shakespeare. Someone in the front groaned "Oh, Sh*t" and presumably went back to sleep. While distracted by the baby carriage/stairs scene in Eisenstein's Battleship Potempkin, I got groped. Off to the Little Gals Gallery.

I could go on and on. I'd love to hear more from other Clark theater patrons.
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  #2  
Old 01-14-2011, 10:51 AM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is online now
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I never went to The Clark, but I used to love those kind of repertoire movie theaters. There used to be a lot of them on the north side, but now the Music Box is the only one that I know of that is left, if that even counts. The rise of the VCR pretty much killed them, I think.
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  #3  
Old 01-14-2011, 11:00 AM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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Newspaper articles say that at the end (1974) it was an adult movie house. Three First National Plaza now occupies the site at the northeast corner of Clark and Madison.

I certainly mourn the death of the revival house. I would love to go see old movies again on the big screen.
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  #4  
Old 01-14-2011, 11:21 AM
MikeS MikeS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
I certainly mourn the death of the revival house. I would love to go see old movies again on the big screen.
There's always the weeknight shows at Doc Films, though admittedly it's not quite the same.
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  #5  
Old 01-14-2011, 04:23 PM
Ed Zotti Ed Zotti is offline
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I only went to the Clark once that I can remember, with a high school buddy in the late 60s. We saw three Clint Eastwood films: A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. We sat there the better part of the day, subsisting on pop and Jujubes. The theater was maybe a quarter full, if that. We were too clueless to realize it was the end of an era, although the signs were all around. The place, as I remember, was pretty tattered. Today I'd just get the movies on Netflix and watch them on the big-screen TV. You can still go downtown to see a movie - we saw Avatar at that big complex on Roosevelt, for example, although no, we didn't take the L. So it's not as though the urban movie-watching experience has completely slipped away.
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  #6  
Old 01-14-2011, 06:53 PM
samclem samclem is offline
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Here's a great photo postcard of the Clark.

Ebert had a review with a bit of history in this 1967 piece.

Siskel wrote an obituary for the Clark in the Chicago Tribune in June, 1970. They quit doing revivals and became a first run theater.

To quote Bruce Trinz, the owner manager--

Quote:
It was a financial decision. We have a tremendous following that doesn't come to the theater.
Quote:
Asked what he had to say to his legion of fans, Trinz said, "Well, you know a reporter asked Horace Stoneham, the owner of the New York Giants baseball team, what he had to say to the young people of New York when he decided to move the club to San Francisco, and Stoneham told them, 'ask your parents why they didn't bring you to the ball park.' ''
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  #7  
Old 01-15-2011, 01:01 AM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is online now
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Quote:
We saw three Clint Eastwood films: A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. We sat there the better part of the day, subsisting on pop and Jujubes.
Ye Gods! If memory serves, those movies are each at least three hours long! You got your money's worth that day.
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  #8  
Old 01-15-2011, 08:30 AM
C K Dexter Haven C K Dexter Haven is offline
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I and my college friends used to go to the Clark frequently, back in the late 1960s. It was a wonderful place -- greasy and grimy, but a changing double bill every day. (I was in the U of Chicago's Doc Films back then, ran it for a couple of years, and we were old movie nuts.)

One of my favorite memories of the theatre was that it attracted ... um ... strange audiences. It was cheap, so there were lots of winos and homeless who could spend the day inside being entertained for next to nothin'. But watching a movie, and some line that wasn't really funny, and a group of people would laugh; and, thinking about why they laughed, one would conclude that it was an "in" gay joke (or whatever.) So, the Clark was mind-expanding in more ways than one.

Yes, Doc Films is still a great place for seeing all sorts of old movies, and they show seven nights a week during the school quarter.
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  #9  
Old 01-15-2011, 04:44 PM
Dinsdale Dinsdale is offline
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Wasn't there another theater at the same intersection? For some reason I'm thinking the UA. In my youth it seemed they always had kung fu and blaxploitation films...

Had a buddy who was the projectionist at one of those theaters when it closed. Also a photo hobbyist. I remember he took a bunch of shots of the shuttered interior.
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  #10  
Old 01-15-2011, 07:25 PM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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The United Artists was at the southeast corner of Dearborn and Randolph.
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  #11  
Old 01-16-2011, 07:46 AM
Dinsdale Dinsdale is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
The United Artists was at the southeast corner of Dearborn and Randolph.
Thanks. Were there more than the one theater at that intersection?

I was born in 60 on the NW side, so my memories of downtown are kinda vague outside of a few major landmarks...
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  #12  
Old 01-16-2011, 11:12 AM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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Yes. The Woods was at the northwest corner, and a half-block north on Dearborn were the Michael Todd and Cinestage (ne Harris and Selwyn Theatres). The Oriental was (and still is) on the north side of Randolph, today once again a legitimate (live) theater. Over on State you had the State Lake, the Chicago, and a small one above the Walgreen's (NEC Randolph/State) called the Roosevelt.

Last edited by Mr Downtown; 01-16-2011 at 11:16 AM..
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  #13  
Old 01-16-2011, 05:26 PM
Dinsdale Dinsdale is offline
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Ahh, right. That is the intersection I was thinking of. As a kid, my forays to the loop largely centered around the old public library, the Greyhound station, the MF (as my buddy who used to work there called it. Hard to remember what that immediate area looked like before they tore down that whole block W of Field's.
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  #14  
Old 01-16-2011, 09:39 PM
Atomic Mama Atomic Mama is offline
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Ah, yes, I remember the Clark Movie Theater. I was in high school. living in a snotty upper crust Republican suburb. I would go into Chicago on the Burlington (Railroad), by myself -- I was very solitary. I'd sit in the Ladies' Gallery, for safety. The film I remember seeing there was the original "Lord of the Flies."
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  #15  
Old 01-16-2011, 09:40 PM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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Correcting myself: the Roosevelt was on the west side of State between Randolph and Lake. The little theater above the Walgreens was called the Telenews (when it primarily showed newsreels), and later known as the Loop Theater.

Great website about theaters here. Pictures of the Clark and scans of the programs here.

Last edited by Mr Downtown; 01-16-2011 at 09:43 PM..
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  #16  
Old 01-19-2011, 11:50 AM
djelliott djelliott is offline
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WOW Thanks for sharing your memories--The Clark is one of my Chicago favorites. Also, thanks for the links, what fun to see pictures!
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  #17  
Old 07-17-2011, 11:46 AM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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From Friday's Chicago Tribune:

Bruce S. Trinz served as the Clark's operating manager. He was born in Chicago in 1917 and died July 7 in Philadelphia. . . He leaves behind an unfinished book chronicling the Clark, his life as a programmer and his longtime love of the movies.

At the end of this column.
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  #18  
Old 07-17-2011, 04:27 PM
Cheryl44 Cheryl44 is offline
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You guys are old. I know this because I'm old, and I'm not old enough to have gone to the Clark. I remember the UA from seeing something there with my Girl Scout troop.

Daniel Pinkwater (of children's books and NPR fame) has written about the Clark. Probably in Chicago Days, Hoboken Nights.
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  #19  
Old 07-17-2011, 06:23 PM
C K Dexter Haven C K Dexter Haven is offline
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That's sad to hear of Bruce's death. His history of the Clark Theatre would have been wonderful reading, I suspect.
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  #20  
Old 07-18-2011, 09:46 AM
djelliott djelliott is offline
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Thanks for telling Us

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
From Friday's Chicago Tribune:

Bruce S. Trinz served as the Clark's operating manager. He was born in Chicago in 1917 and died July 7 in Philadelphia. . . He leaves behind an unfinished book chronicling the Clark, his life as a programmer and his longtime love of the movies.

At the end of this column.
The world is smaller, today. I hope his book is completed, I'd love to read it.
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  #21  
Old 07-05-2013, 06:14 PM
Neil in Chicago Neil in Chicago is offline
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Someone else who went to the Clark was little Danny Pinkwater. His "Snarkout Boys", who sneak out of their parents' houses in the middle of the night to go downtown to the Snark Theater, are going to the Clark. (And the Chicken Man was real, too.)
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  #22  
Old 07-06-2013, 09:42 PM
C K Dexter Haven C K Dexter Haven is offline
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MODERATOR NOTE: This is a thread from 2011, until the prior post revived it. That's OK, we're not fussy in this forum, but I just wanted y'all to be aware in case you wanted to respond to a prior post.
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