Magnet Theater

3234 W. Roosevelt Road,
Chicago, IL 60624

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This single-story “nickel show” was built for William Hershberg. A building permit appears in “The American Contractor” August 26, 1911. It opened November 4, 1911. It was competition for Balaban Brothers' Circle Theater across the street. By 1913, Balaban Brothers would operate this theater as well. The Magnet Theater was closed in 1917.

Hershberg entered the Chicago film industry in 1909 and was later a partner with Barney Balaban and A. G. “Archie” Spencer in several early ventures including General Feature Film Company (where Hershberg was the president and prime mover), Balaban-Hershberg Film Attractions, and The Movie Inn. He was also a partner in the Ashland Photoplay Company with Balaban, operating the Ashland Theater and Madlin Theater. He also worked in Metro Pictures' Chicago operations. He may have run the Shakespeare Theater on 43rd Street in 1918 as well as the Parkview Theater and Ellis Theater. In 1920, he was a co-owner of the Merill Theater in Milwaukee. Hershberg remained in film exhibition until his death in 1925, when he was running the Rainbow Theater, Schindler Theater, and Cameo Theater. He was 42 years old, 10 days from his wedding day, but felt that he was facing financial ruin - perhaps due to a Florida real estate swindle.

Contributed by Brian Wolf
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