Sunday, February 18, 2018

Chicago's "The New Bryn Mawr" Theatre. Moviegoing in the 80s!

In 1980, my sister Annie and I moved to the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago at 3123 N. Lakewood (the house is now an historical landmark of course), and just a few blocks away under the Bryn Mawr El was our weekly ‘go-to’, the New Bryn Mawr Theatre. It opened in 1912 as the Bryn Mawr, and in the 60s added the ‘New’ to it’s monicker. Every Friday we’d deeply inhale with anticipation for the marque to announce the newest double feature of 2nd (or 3rd and 4th) run movies. And the best part? Just 90 cents admission! So Saturday or Sunday, we’d stroll over, plunk down our change and enjoyably kill a few hours. This was so ‘back in the day’ that they’d even program short subjects to go with the features. I wish I had taken more pictures back then (I have a few of the outside and a couple of the lobby) or even gotten a part time job as an excuse to document everything of this slice of Chicago movie history. While googling, I came across a comment from ‘Kellylo’ at
, “I worked at the Bryn Mawr theater from 1975 until 1980. Mr. Praught was the manager, and the projectionist was named Maurey. It was owned by the Balaban Brothers. The AMAZING thing about this theater was behind the curtain. Back in the day, it was an old vaudeville theater. There were all kinds of old props in the caverns behind the screen. Thousands of old posters rolled up and in little cubbies. We used to go back there all the time.”
Arrggh! I’m still kicking myself! 
While you’re in the middle of it you don’t often think that something will one day be gone, and you’ll look back with fond nostalgia over what was.
But we did do the most important part, taking it all in while we were there.
A few years later it briefly became the ‘Gar Wah Theatre’ after we had stopped going, and then closed in ’88 to become a Dunkin' Donuts.
What can you do?
On a side note, speaking of food, two doors down from the theatre was “Hellas Gyros’ where we’d often stop before or after for a delicious meal. The gentleman who made our sandwiches (pictured in the photos below- really) was obviously sweet on my sister as he made doe eyes at her whenever we entered, and her gyros always seemed to be 50% larger and the fries stacked twice as high as my order. But Annie broke yet another heart and married a New Yorker. I guess Chicagoans aren’t good enough for some people!
Going to the movies has never been as sweet as it was in the 80s.
Maybe it was the company. 

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