Archive ID: 1982-207-92

Gayety Theatre on 92nd Street and Commercial Avenue

Date Created: undated

Donor: Andrew Koval

Media Type: Postcard

Language: English

Description:

92nd Street and Commercial Avenue, business district. Pictured are Gayety Theatre, South Chicago Savings Bank, and Imperial Credit Co. Theatre marquee with “5 CARTOONS, SUPERMAN VS. ATOMAN.” Photograph of postcard.

Backstory:

Exterior view of Gayety Theater located near 92nd Street and Commercial Avenue in the heart of the South Chicago business district. Also in view is South Chicago Savings Bank, Walgreen Drugs, Imperial Credit Company, and the Commercial Theater. View is looking north on Commercial Avenue. Built as a vaudeville house in 1907 the Gayety, originally spelled Gaiety, slowly switched to movies as films became more popular. It was well known in the 1920s and 1930s for its two children to a seat policy. The building was also home to the very popular Gayety Candy Company and Soda Shop. In the 1950s, the Gayety Theater switched from first-run features to Spanish-language films, reflecting the change in the population of the neighborhood from heavily Eastern European to mainly Latinx. The Gayety had run some Polish language films in the late 1930s and early 1940s. After a fire in May 1982, the theater was demolished in October of the same year. It is the location of a McDonalds restaurant at present. Although this postcard is undated it was most likely from around 1950. A movie entitled “Atom Man v Superman” was released in July 1950. Apparently this did not quite fit on the marquee.

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