Saturday, March 3, 2012

Chicago's, Elaborite Movie Palaces,

 In Chicago, during the 1920s, Silent Films were no longer a little Nickelodeon business... 



They were big business.... that required magnificent movie houses.... to display, larger than life Hollywood extravaganzas.


In late August of 1925 the Uptown Theatre opened its doors to the people of Chicago under a marquee that proclaimed, “one of the great art buildings of the world—an acre of seats!”


The Palace Theatre opened on October 4, 1926 and featured a splendor previously unseen in Chicago - a breathtaking vision inspired by the palaces of Fontainebleau and Versailles.


As one of the first motion picture palaces whose décor was inspired by the Far East, Chicago's Oriental Theatre opened to much fanfare on May 8, 1926. 


The grandeur of The Chicago Theatre left its visitors breathless....and was called "the Wonder Theatre of the World" when it opened on October 26, 1921.


Norma Talmadge, in "The Sign on the Door." was the first film viewed at The Chicago Theatre, by over 400 guests, who paid 25 cents until 1 p.m., 35 cents in the afternoon and 50 cents after 6 p.m.


But, the little theatre, most people remember..... opened in 1914.....

when, Biograph Theatre premiered D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation, and continued on as a grand movie theater through the Depression, two world wars, and into the 50's and 60's.
and on the evening of July 22, 1934, gangster, John Dillinger, steped out of the Biograph theatre, where he and two girlfriends had watched, Manhattan Melodrama starring Clark Gable and Myrna Loy.



  They no sooner reached the sidewalk, when several shots killed the most prolific bank robber in modern American history and the general public's favorite, Public Enemy No. 1...... John Dillinger.



Pictured here, looking like Bonnie and Clyde's gang,
 in Chicago, around 1923, are Tom Lyle Williams on the left with his partner, Emery Shaver seated on the
 ground with his dog. Tom Lyle's sister Eva and her Fiancee Chester Haines, are on the far right. 
(not sure who the other two people are.)



Tom Lyle Williams, a simple country boy, from Morganfield Kentucky, moved to
Chicago to start a mail order buisness and unexpectidely entrupeneured, 
The Maybelline Company.   



In 1913, when he watched Silent Films at the Nickelodium... 


where he worked for $6.50 a week, it was a big deal. 



 But now, living in Chicago, where movie theatres looked like Palaces - gangsters were
 celebrities and Big City Life, was really BIG!
There was no going back to the farm!


Frank Sinatra - Chicago.

Sharrie Williams and her cousin,
 Linda Hughes, will continue,

 Silent Film and Concert Series week,

tomorrow, with Vintage Maybelline,
 Movie Stars from the 1920s.

Stay tuned, as Sharrie Williams and her cousin,
Chuck Williams aka, BB1,  finally see theirgreat-uncle, Tom Lyle Williams, 1940 Packard Victoria, next weekend.


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