Oh how the tongues are wagging from the small minded citizens here in Haddonfield. Three times this week I’ve had to instruct Carl to chase away curious teenagers from the Haunted Drive-In! It just wouldn’t do to have prying eyes catch a glimpse of the classic feature I will be showing until the generators are working properly enough to power the projection booth! Heh, heh.
So while I wait for Carl to return with the items on my equipment list I thought I would take a moment to give due respect to another Illinois fallen movie palace, much like it’s Drive-In cousin…my Starlight Starbrite, what some lowbrowed townspeople might consider ‘mere places’ for entertainment deserve to not only be remembered but respected. Honored.
(Photo Courtesy of Btkrefft and Cinema Treasures – Carl)
The Clark Theater began it’s life in 1911 as the Columbia Theater, it was designed by architect J. E. O. Pridmore. It boasted a seating of 1550 seats and found itself 12 years later being remodeled by A. H. Woods and was rechristened the Adelphi Theater. It wasn’t until 1931 that the theater found itself renovated into a movie palace where it was renamed the Clark Theater, due to its proximity to the intersection of Madison and Clark Streets.
In the 1950s it gained an important historical neighbor, the original Blue Note jazz club, where the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington performed.
Carl has helped me hunt down this piece of film from Columbia Pictures 1943 feature, Reveille with Beverly. It features Duke Ellington’s musical number ‘Take the A Train’.
(Video clip courtesy of Morrison Course Vids and YouTube – Carl)
The theater found itself on hard times in the early 70s as the Hollywood features had dried up and it screened only Blue Movies until it’s doors were permanently shuttered in 1974, shortly before it and the entire block of early 19th and 20th century buildings were razed to the ground.