5035 S. Halsted Street,
5035 S. Halsted Street,Chicago, IL 60609
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(June 21, 1934, SOUTHTOWN ECONOMIST)
Dream of Masquers Comes True; Get a Little Theater
To meet an evergrowing demand for superior dramatic productions, the Masquers, a little theater group headed by Howard Rooney, 6248 Sangamon st., plan to inaugurate a season of plays starting with “Illusion,” September 18.
The plays are to be presented in the Masquers' own theater, a renovated movie house, at 5035 Halsted st. All work in rehabilitating the old showhouse is to be done by the players, following their own plans, designs and color schemes in the lay-outs of the interior.
Old Movie House.
For several years, the playhouse on Halsted st. has been empty, having been originally designed for silent pictures. In the course of the passing years, the building has deteriorated until now it is virtually dismantled. The Masquers have contracted with the owner of the theater to remove all but 100 of the seats, to enlarge the stage for dramatic offerings, and to make the necessary changes and redecorations incident to the opening in the Fall. The enterprise will be supported by subscriptions.
Towards the front of the theater and near the entrance a lounge will be furnished for the convenience of patrons. The plan is to allow for freedom and friendship during intermission and after plays.
Orange, silver and black will predominate in the color scheme of the interior. Indirect lighting will insure soft illumination.
Lots of Work.
With the schedule of the Masquers arranged to begin their season September 15, the work of renovating the theater building, coupled with rehearsals and other necessary work, will mean the attendance of the troupe at the theater four or five nights a week throughout the summer.
“Illusion”, the play that is to be the curtain-raiser at the Masquers little theater, has been written by Mr. Rooney especially for his company. With the script in readiness, work may be started at once towards preparing the way for its thorough and successful presentation. This end in view, the Masquers are meeting tonight at the Hamilton Park fieldhouse, 72nd st. and Parnell ave. at 8 o'clock, to discuss the project further and complete plans and arrangements for their newest undertaking.
Want to Join?
Mr. Rooney will welcome persons interested in the drama or the mechanical side of the play at the meeting. If attendance tonight is impossible, he may be reached by telephone or letter at his home.
On the social calendar of the Masquers is a “Hollywood” party to be
given Saturday evening. June 30, in the basement bar at the home of
Paul Olsen, 7351 Lafayette ave. Guests will appear in costume or informal dress for an evening of dancing and gayety. Mr. Rooney is taking reservations.
May I add my two cents? I was born at 850 West 50th so I am familiar with the Radio Show as we called it. I don’t remember the Home Theater, prior to the Radio but I recall walking by the shuttered building on our way to the Halfield Theatre on Halsted near 55th Street or Garfield Blvd. I must have been around 8 years old, which would make that 1937 when the building was renovated and became the Radio Theater. On opening day they had Joe E.Brown there. I remember when he arrived, I jumped on the runningboard and looked directly into his face! He looked at me with his big smile and said, “Hi”. That theater brings back many happy memories. My wife, Dolores, spent many a happy hour there also. Paul Lemrise, Sr.
The EL train in the picture metioned above could be a Pulliman car on the “ENGLEWOOD BRANCH” witch is now the GREEN LINE ASHLAND 63rd
When the picture was taken the “ENGLEWOOD BRANCH” was part of the SOUTH SIDE RAPIT TRANSIT . The cars in the pic could be eather Wooden or 4000 ser Pullman cars.
To branches were approved one was to leave the main line between 55th and 59th street an head in a generly eastern direction and to end south of 63rd between Wenthworth and Walace witch if i am right puts the picture at 63rd and Halsted
Here are photos of this theatre.
The City list the address as 5031 S. Halsted and there is a 2000 photo available on the Cook County Assessor’s website.
The church is called “Unity of Love M.B. Church”
My parents told me about the remodeling of the Radio. They said that before the renovation, it was called the Home Theater. It had only one aisle down the center.
John Keting (jpkjr)
I’d agree on the Radio store interpretation; after all, it wasn’t named Radio until 1936 and the photo is clearly earlier
Thanks for the response. I believe your interpretation is an accurate one. I should have emphasized more that it didn’t appear to be the Radio Theater, mainly because Halsted St. (at the 5000 So. area) was not as built up as it was at 6300 So. blocks. What threw me was the theater-type light bulb lettering on the marquee. With that in mind, I assumed it actually was the Radio Theater and concluded that that couldn’t be the L at 63rd & Halsted. I agree: Correct intersection, wrong ‘theater.’
Looked at the photo of the Radio Theater. That certainly isn’t the L in the background. Either it’s a train or that is not the Radio Theater.
Nice photo of the Radio on Halsted Street. The “El” crosses Halsted near 63rd Street. The Radio I grew up attending was on southeast corner of Halsted and 50th Place.
The Radio Theater is now a store front church. It is housed in the original building.The box office is long gone, but you can still see the indentations on the front of the building where the show cards were displayed.