Sunday, October 11, 2009

Park Manor Theater

Another old movie house to be mindful of. I found this place thru Cinema Treasures and it claimed this theater was demolished long ago, but if you look at this image via Google Street View it looks like it may still be erect.

If this is the former Park Manor Theater @ 321 E. 69th Street between Calumet and Prairie Avenues, then it's a long way from being demolished. In fact it appears to be home to a church just like the Grove Theater. The difference between this theater and the Grove is only a matter of seats 300 for the Park Manor Theater vs. 1800 seats at the Grove. They were open a decade apart with this theater open in 1914 and Grove open by 1926.

Due to its size I would refer to this place as a nickelodeon. Nickelodeon is not only the name of the famous cable channel for children but what early small neighborhood theaters were referred to in the early part of the 20th century. In fact admissions to such theaters was only a nickel and the most competitive theaters had a musician who played either an organ or a piano.

Now nickelodeon may not be an appropriate term for the former Park Manor Theater. It may well be an intermediary toward the much larger movie palaces that seated more than 1000 people with balconies that played host to film audiences during most of the 20th century. Again the only reason I use that term with that theaters is because it was a theater that served only 300 and for the most part nickelodeons were considered nothing more than storefront movie theaters.

To know about other small movie theaters in the area I will refer you to this post I wrote back in June about the Burnside Theaters at 93rd & Cottage Grove. It was a small theater similar to the Park Manor both opened in the 1910s (Burnside opened in 1911). Both were also closed in the 1950s (Park Manor in 1950 and Burnside by 1951).

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