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Here is a selection of Historical Balaban and Katz News
Chicago Evening Post item for Saturday, October 27, 1917:


The Central Park Theater is one of the latest additions to the group of amusement centers in Chicago and one of the finest picture theaters in the country, if we are to believe all reports. So many unusual features have been incorporated into it by the builders that it would be impossible for one person to catalog them all, but one of the most important is a new development of the projection machine which makes it practically impossible for the operator to give anything but perfect projection. The Central Park theater is located at Central Park avenue and West Twelfth street, in the heart of a unified "home" neighborhood, and expects to draw its capacity of 2,600 persons from the immediate district.

Chicago Daily News, Tuesday, February 4, 1936, p. 18, c. 3:
The Balaban & Katz Tivoli theater, the first of the large de luxe neighborhood theaters, will celebrate its fifteenth anniversary during the week of Friday, Feb. 7. Although there doesn't seem to be any great importance attached to theater birthdays, it is interesting to know that the Tivoli, when built, set the pace for the pretentious movie house of today.

The stage show for this event will be unit Mo. 5 of the Major Bowes amateur group. This group has never appeared on any other Chicago stage before. It will be their local debut.

The screen attraction for Anniversary week will be Lloyd C. Douglas' "Magnificent Obsession," starring Irene Dunne and Robert Taylor.

Balaban and Katz New Paradise Opens Today

Source: The Chicago Evening American, 14 September 1928, pg. 33.

he Paradise Theater at Crawford and Washington blvd., the newest link in the huge chain of Balaban & Katz Chicago theaters, formally opens its doors today.

With the opening will come a gala week for the entire West Side of Chicago, which has been preparing for this event for the past month. For blocks around the theater the streets are already gaily bedecked with banners, announcing the fact that "Chicago's Great West Side" welcomes the Paradise Theater.

Differing in architecture from any other of the many Balaban & Katz theaters, it is said even its manner of opening will be different. Heretofore every Balaban & Katz theater opened in this city has had a formal opening-- a sort of pre-opening given the night before for an audience culled from the civic, social, and theatrical life of Chicago.

The Paradise will not have any pre-opening shows. Promptly at 1:30 p.m. the doors will be thrown open to everyone and the show will begin.

With the opening of the Paradise, Balaban & Katz complete the chain which they started about eleven years ago. As a firm they began on the West Side of Chicago, when they opened the Central Park Theater at Roosevelt Road and Central Park av. With the Paradise, they return to the West Side.

Despite the fact that the theater will forego a formal opening, many notables, among them men prominent om theater business everywhere, will be among those present.

More Balaban and Katz Articles courtesy of,

Uptown, World's Largest And Finest, Opens

By Rob Reel

Source: Chicago Evening American, 18 August 1925, pg. 20.

Chicago became the possessor of the largest and finest motion picture theater in the world as a result of the informal opening last night of Balaban & Katz' palatial
Uptown at Lawrence av. and Broadway.

The house, which surpasses anticipation, was thrown open to the general public formally at high noon today, with a repetition of the throngs which pressed around the entrances last night even though they were not permitted to enter.

Indeed, so much interest has already been manifested by citizens in both the central Uptown district, where an elaborate pageant is being held in celebration of the new theater's completion and throughout the city, that attaches of the Balaban & Katz Corporation predicted between 50,000 and 100,000 people will be attracted to the locality both tonight and the rest of the week.

The affair last night was really a dress rehearsal of the performance, members of the firms who helped to build the magnificent structure being invited that they might inspect the completed whole. Many notables of the Rialto also attended, as well as all those connected either closely or remotely with the Balaban & Katz organization.

The great lobby, almost an exact replica of that in the
Chicago, only larger, grander and more golden, was banked with floral tributes from hundreds of firms who had cooperated in constructing and outfitting the theater, as well as hundreds of well-wishers throughout the country.

Monument to Prosperity.

William K. Hollander, director of publicity for Balaban & Katz, acted as master of ceremonies, thanking each and every one who had helped complete the Uptown and presenting the theater to the
central Uptown district. A representative of the Central Uptown Business Men's Association felicitated him in turn and accepted the new monument to the prosperity of this section.

Under the supervision of Frnak Cambria, art director, the whole program was presented and everything was exactly as though for the formal opening today with one exception-- the mighty Wurlitzer was silent. A crew of experts had been working night and day to get the great instrument ready, but were unable to accomplish it in time for the dress rehearsal. Those who had precious invitation last night, therefore, had to forego the pleasure of hearing Jesse Crawford.

Nathaniel Finston, however, was in charge of the orchestral baton, Tschaikowsky's beautiful "Capriccio Italienne" has been chosen as the premiere overture, and under his capable direction the great band of splendid musicians assembled as the Uptown's Symphony Orchestra render it in stirring fashion.

Pretentious Program.

What is undoubtedly the most pretentious presentation ever offered in a motion picture theater has also been provided by Balaban & Katz to accompany the theater's debut. First there are some fine syncopation specialties by the Oriole Orchestra of the Edgewater Beach Hotel, with Ted Fiorito at the piano and little Dan Russo as leader.

Then there is a musical production, "Under Spanish Skies," to harmonize with the Spanish motif which has been carried out in the architecture, presenting Don Jose Majica and Marie Herron, a tenor and soprano of high caliber. There is a very nice ballet incoporated in this, too, and a peacock dance that is truly gorgeous, Maria Montero also appears, a Spanish dancer with color, talent and fire, who shakes her castanets as only one who has learned the art from childhood can.

Last, but not by any means least, there is the movie-- First National's "The Lady Who Lied."

Excellent Cast.

"The Lady Who Lied" is a pretentious picture, matching up with the pretentious program. Its scene is laid first in Venice during carnival time, then in Africa, and these strange locales as well as an extraordinary situation or two tend to lift it out of the ordinary eternal triangle type of film. Then, too, it is excellently cast with Lewis Stone as his polished self: Nita Naldi, as Oriental-eyed and attractive as ever: Leo White, priceless as a comic valet, and Virginia Valli, good to look at as the heroine whom it is all about.

Virginia, by the way, is a Chicago girl, who spent a good deal of her time in the Uptown district, especially when she was first struggling for recognition in films.

Taking it all in all, it's grand and glorious.

But you must see it to appreciate it.

Oriental Theatre Chicago

Opening of Big Loop House Only Week Away

Source: The Chicago Evening American, 1 May 1926, pg. 13.

The gala opening of a great, new and magnificent theater seems to be the high light of next week's amusement calendar.

The fact that it is the first new theater in the loop in quite a few years-- in fact, since the Chicago Theater opened, if you except the rebuilt McVickers Theater-- adds to the interest of the premiere.

Balaban & Katz in giving to Chicago's loop the capacious Oriental at Randolph near State st. (in the Masonic Temple Building) announce it as "the most unique theater in the world."

The Oriental is not the largest Balaban & Katz theater, but a glimpse at it will convince every one it is the most colorful, the most picturesque. In fact, some artists who have viewed the auditorium and decorations declare it to be daring, artistically-- almost barbaric in its splendor of coloring and trappings.

Apparently the entertainment policy is to be as unique as the theater itself. The Oriental will be the new home of Paul Ash, recrowned "Rajah of Jazz," who moves over with his whole gang from the McVickers. Incidentally, the extra 1,200 or 1,500 seats will probably save the tired feet of many a Paul Ash fan who has been waiting patiently in line for months to hear and see his or her idol at McVickers. Ash will stage more elaborate syncopation productions on the Oriental's much advertised "magic flying stage"-- a new invention that makes possible lightning changes of settings. On the screen will be a motion picture policy specializing in big comedy features, with a spectacular drama flashing in now and then.

Delayed arrival of Oriental draperies and other furnishings of the theater has caused a change in the opening date from next Tuesday to next Saturday. the Oriental will therefore be thrown open to the public at 10:45 a.m. a week from today with paul Ash's gang doing a three scene jazz production called appropriately "Insultin' the Sultan," an Oriental frolic with melody. Milton Watson, Foggy Bernier, and about twenty new Ash personalities including "Paul's Harem-Scarem," a miniature chorus of twelve, will be in the cast. On the screen will be Harry Langdon's first super-comedy, producted by First National Pictures, and entitled "Tramp, Tramp, Tramp!"

The new Oriental already is arousing national comment among the theater experts and artists as sounding a new note in theater architecture and decoration. When it was decided to construct a play palace that would charm away workaday worries and make it easy for audiences to forget everything but the entertainment before them, the Oriental idea was conceived. Inseat of copying the somber lines and colorings of mosques and temples, with their Buddahs and grim reminders of lost civilizations, the designers of the Oriental Theater drew their inspiration from the Orient at its gayest. The Durbar, that festive celebration in which rajahs from all the states of India gather and make proud and gawdy display of their fabled wealth, became the pattern of the theater.

No description of the new house can be kept matter of fact. It is an exotic play palace that makes the "Arabian Nights" wonders come true.

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