The Chicago Movie Palaces of Balaban and Katz

Front Cover
Arcadia Publishing, 2006 - History - 128 pages
The Balaban and Katz Theater Corporation perfected the
"movie palace" concept in Chicago, reating an extremely
popular pastime that contributed greatly to Chicago's
cultural identity. The Balabans started in the movie theater
business in 1908 by leasing the 100-seat Kedzie
Nickelodeon on Kedzie Avenue. Balaban brothers Barney
and A. J. dreamed of operating 5,000-seat movie palaces,
so in 1916, they joined family friends Sam and Morris
Katz to form the Balaban and Katz Theater Corporation.
Their mission was to offer an unrivaled theater-going
experience with the finest live performances and service.
They built ornate theaters, such as the Chicago, the Uptown, and the Congress Theaters, filling them with fine
furnishings, antiques, and artwork. Balaban and Katz
produced live stage shows between the movies with
the likes of Bob Hope, Louis Armstrong, and Benny
Goodman. Sadly, only a few of these gorgeous theaters
still stand today.


The First Balaban Theaters
Continuous Performances
Many Palaces Vanish Some Still Remain

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About the author (2006)

Author David Balaban--named after his grandfather, one of the seven Balaban brothers who ran Balaban and Katz--grew up on stories of his grandfather and great-uncles' movie theaters. He currently teaches television production and film at Gordon Parks Academy in East Orange, New Jersey.

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