Biograph Theater

2433 N. Lincoln Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60657

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Victory Gardens Theater at the Biograph (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Cineplex Odeon, Essaness Theaters Corp., Loews Cineplex, Lubliner & Trinz, Meridian Theatres, Plitt Theatres, Village Theatres

Architects: Samuel N. Crowen

Functions: Playhouse

Styles: Italian Renaissance

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 773.871.3000

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News About This Theater

Biograph Theatre, 1985.

The Biograph Theater was opened September 5, 1914. All 942 seats were on a single floor and was equipped with a Weickhardt organ. This Lincoln Park neighborhood landmark is probably best known by Chicagoans as the place where John Dillinger was shot and killed on July 22, 1934 after attending a screening of “Manhattan Melodrama” starring Clark Gable (allegedly the ghost of Dillinger has haunted the theater ever since).

During the 1970’s, the second floor of the building was converted into two small additional screens. The original d├ęcor in the original main auditorium mostly lost, the historic Biograph Theater continued to show movies until 2001.

The theater reopened in 2002 under the Village Theatres chain, which operated it until September 2004, when it again closed.

The Biograph Theater was purchased by the legitimate Victory Gardens Theatre company in 2004. The interior has been entirely rebuilt, from a venue which could originally seat over 900 to 299 today (which is about 100 more seats than Victory Gardens' old space down the street, which will now be rented out to other area theater companies). The facade was repaired and cleaned and the marquee was rebuilt to resemble it’s original apperance. (The words “Victory Gardens” have replaced the word “Essaness” over the neon-lit Biograph name, Essaness being the chain that operated the movie house during the 1930’s.)

The Victory Gardens Theater at the Biograph was opened on September 28th, 2006, with Charles Smith’s drama, “Denmark”. By 2017 it had two auditoriums, one seating 259, the other with 109 seats.

Contributed by Abigail Johns, Alan Van Landschoot, Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 140 comments)

davidcoppock
davidcoppock on August 31, 2018 at 9:11 am

The FBI agents who shot John Dillenger coming out of the Biograph Theatre, were on tne roof of Lincoln Hall(then called Fullerton Theatre) across the street from the Biograph Theatre.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on August 31, 2018 at 10:05 am

They may have scouted his movements from the roof, but it’s pretty well documented that agents shot him from street level. As he was shot in the back with a bullet exiting his eye.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on August 31, 2018 at 6:17 pm

I checked the newspaper movie section for July 22, 1934. The Fullerton Theatre is not listed. That’s because the building at 2424 N. Lincoln was an auto garage at the time. Here is a video clip in which this man mentions the address of the former movie theatre at 2424 N. Lincoln Avenue (that would later be reborn as a movie theatre; first called the Crest and then 3-Penny Cinema).

https://youtu.be/ymw4C7k754g

davidcoppock
davidcoppock on September 1, 2018 at 9:01 am

It says Fullerton Theatre on the Wikipedia page for Lincoln Hall.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on September 1, 2018 at 11:37 pm

From the 2424 N. Lincoln Wikipedia page: “The building first opened as the Fullerton Theatre, a nickelodeon, in 1912. In 1915 it was converted into an auto garage. FBI agents took aim at John Dillinger from the roof of the building in 1934.[1]

It opened again as Crest Theater in 1938."

Mister_Comics
Mister_Comics on March 29, 2019 at 5:32 pm

The Biograph Cinemas phone number during the 80’s (and probably earlier) was 348-4123. See posted ad in “Photo” section.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on July 28, 2020 at 3:47 pm

Photos added of one time Biograph owner Jack Cooney. Below is Roger Ebert’s July 13, 1967 interview with Cooney. Via Tim O'Neill.

https://www.rogerebert.com/interviews/interview-with-jack-cooney?fbclid=IwAR0RGZYQYWS0bS3Ywq1y88Psn7fTCaItf2iyjBsuSFHtvlTvOQItXKi-7MU

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on August 24, 2020 at 6:42 pm

Thanks to Tim O'Neill for the full Chicago History Museum of 1967 & 1974 Biograph photos.

https://images.chicagohistory.org/search/?searchQuery=biograph++theatre&assetType=default&fbclid=IwAR0kiBPIyLAMp7N60at-eec9Xo3t00S3ozplliYE9Pl1MT-BloHZ_AHmitU

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on June 16, 2022 at 4:13 pm

1988 photo via Tumbler.

https://old-chicago.tumblr.com/post/29014613616/1988-biograph-theatre-lincoln-near-fullerton

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on August 2, 2022 at 2:38 pm

Facebook post with 1979 Siskel & Ebert “Sneak Previews” coverage of “Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the Biograph.

https://www.facebook.com/windycityballyhoo/videos/1212496862873057/

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