Saturday, April 25, 2009

"Hey rats, The film broke!"

Two things I want to talk about here.

First, the McVickers Theater in Chicago. Check out this picture:

What a great looking place. Even better is this August 2008 entry about the McVickers over at Cinema Treasures by a member named David Zornig:

" I was unfortunately at the McVickers during it's decline. I was the ride to a heavily advertised, short-run showing of "Make Them Die Slowly" in late 1982 or early `83. A campy horror film billed as "Banned In 31 Countries!".

The tag line apparently worked, as the by then decaying structure was clearly overwhelmed by the those who showed up.

The restrooms were located in the basement. Needless to say the archaic plumbing was no longer up to the task of large crowds. As the ensuing flood approached the grand stairwell upwards, management saw fit to only rope off the area, instead of closing and/or causing chaos/losing money.

As with most of the downtown theatres already in decline, rodents could be heard and felt under foot during the feature presentation. So much so that at one of the many points the film stopped, rowdier patrons would yell: "Hey rats, the film broke!", as if the rodents were somehow in charge or running the projector.

It was sad to see the once grand, vintage facade and ornate interior in such disrepair. Running "Make Them Die Slowly" sadly became a fitting end to a glorious theatre history.

As previously documented, the McVickers closed shortly thereafter."

Pure gold. Read more about the McVickers at Cinema Treasures here.

Second thing I want to talk about is where I got that picture from. A place online called American Image Classics.

It's truly one of the greatest things I've found onlne and it's chock full of movie theater pictures from all over America. They'll sell you prints of them too. I've already found a ton of Miami theaters I'd never thought I'd see again as well as pictures of ones I'd only heard about while living in Atlanta. I'm sure you'll find something from your neck of the woods.

Check out American Classic Images here.

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