Saturday, January 06, 2018

Chicago, 1954

Like the title says, today's photos are from Chicago. The Loop, to be specific. State Street, to be even more specific. 

Chicago is an amazing town, but sometimes you just need a Five and Dime like Woolworth's. If they don't have it, you don't need it! Dungarees. A tennis racquet. Perfume for mom. A skillet. Gum. Why would you ever leave? 

I love that the movie theater in the background is showing the sci-fi, giant ant classic "THEM!" ("The most startling picture ever filmed).

This next one (slightly marred by a light leak on the right) shows the famous Chicago Theater reflected in the window to our left, while the famous Woods Theater (see it again HERE!) is in the background, showing "The Student Prince", starring the lovely Ann Blyth (rawr!) and scintillating Edmund Perdom (who?).

Just for fun, here's a vintage postcard showing the same general area, perhaps a decade or so after the slides were snapped.


K. Martinez said...

Love these Chicago shots. In the window reflection on the theater marquee is Joan Crawford and Sterling Hayden in "Johnny Guitar". Also starring Mercedes McCambridge

Nice set today. Thanks, Major.

Nanook said...


'State Street - that great street'.

The story of Them - 'early atomic tests in New Mexico cause common ants to mutate into giant man-eating monsters' - was obviously the inspiration for the story of the 'film within the film', MANT!, from the 1993 Joe Dante film Matinee. And, please Major, let's not 'slight' the talents of Edmund Purdom. Why, just look at this delightful press agent-sounding write-up: "Edmund Purdom, who plays the title role in M-G-M's CinemaScope musical, "The Student Prince" (with singing voice of Mario Lanza), once appeared in 21 different plays in 7 months. He portrayed everything from juveniles to bearded octogenarians!" So there-! And please note - The Student Prince "... is the one musical born for the glory of color and the grandeur of CinemaScope". How can you resist-??

As we can see on the marquee in the third image, the film playing is A Gathering of Eagles, that would place the image at 1963 - about nine years later than the first wonderful image.

Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

...and for today's Disney link, Fess Parker was cast as Davy Crockett on the strength of his performance in THEM!.

I love that you were able to find a postcard of the same area. I also love that the theater is showing A Gathering of Eagles. Now I need to see if I can find that film, which I haven't seen in [gulp] probably 40 years.

Thanks, Major!

Steve DeGaetano said...

No mention that the subject of these photos appears to be the little girl in the red dress, along with her mother in the brown skirt and tan blouse?

Major, you may remember KHJ (or was it KCOP?) that used to broadcast old 50s B horror movies on Saturday afternoons back in the 1970s. That's where I first saw "Them," and yes, it was scary for me!

MonkeyMensch said...

OH boy does that take me back, Steve: had to KCOP 'cause I don't think we got KHJ down in San Diego, or maybe it was KTLA.

We'd run around the house going, "meee meee meee meeeeee!!" and make like we had pincers for arms. Yeah, we liked that movie, truly.

This is Patrick Devlin signing off...

The Disney Dudebro said...

Eh, the only thing I know about Chicago is that Blues Brothers was filmed there and Nostalgia Critic lives there. Nice photos, though.

Nanook said...

@ Steve DeGaetano-
I was waiting for Melissa to chime-in with both her fashion sense and a possible personal link to those outfits.

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, the same Sterling Hayden who was at the dedication of the Knott’s Berry Farm railroad?!

Nanook, all I’m sayin’ is that I’ve never heard of Mr. Purdom. For all I know he was a brilliant actor who could also make the best pancakes. I have also never heard of “A Gathering of Eagles”!

Chuck, Walt should have cast Edmund Gwenn (also in “THEM!”) as Davy Crockett.

Steve DeGaetano, yes, I suppose I should have mentioned the gals, but there didn’t seem to be much to say. “There they are!”. I know I watched “THEM!” on TV when I was a kid, but I couldn’t tell you what channel it was on. Besides, I was always more of a Deadly Mantis guy!

MonkeyMensch, admit it… on some nights, when the moon is full, you still run around the house going, “meee meee meee (etc)”! I also like that you now need an official sign off. May I recommend Casey Casem’s classic, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars”?

The Disney Dudebro, would you believe that I have still never seen “The Blues Brothers”? My relatives who lived in Chicago loved the movie.

Nanook, I dunno… Melissa likes twins in matching outfits, not just plain old ordinary clothes! ;-)

E Michael Gannon said...

Seeing the Lerner Shops in proximity with F.W. Woolworth was a blast from the past for me as I grew up on east side Detroit which had a strip mall containing the same pair of stores. I could forward a vintage photo of that center's Lerner Shops on request but unfortunately don't have a photo of the Woolworth's. There are a couple of other vintage shots of the Detroit strip mall which can be found by Googling Detroit 7-Mack Center.

Nanook said...


Let's face it, Edmund Purdom is not exactly a household name when it comes to actors, no matter his acting chops-! Certainly nothing against him, personally, but that press agent's wet-dream-of-a write-up as a part of the film's release materials is definitely one for the books, and worthy of making fun.

Besides, the "other" Edmund in Them! [Edmund Gwenn] is the real name to reckon with. (And you just know Walt had to resort to the 'ol coin toss in deciding between Fess Parker or Edmund Gwenn in casting for the role of Davy Crockett-!)

Chuck said...

I'm not surprised that you've never heard of A Gathering of Eagles; most people I know haven't. But for plane-crazy Air Force brats of a certain age, it was the other must-see B-52 movie. My buddy Larry (who went on to become an Air Force pilot) and I would eagerly await for it to show up on independent TV once or twice a year.

Our favorite part was the air refueling accident, where fuel sprays all over the inside of a B-52 cockpit and the crew has to make an emergency landing under the expert guidance of Rock Hudson. Little did we know that during the era we were watching that film, my father was involved in a near-identical air refueling accident in a C-5. They managed to get the plane safely on the ground without Rock's assistance, but it was an incredibly-tense 45 minutes of precise airmanship and a lot of heavy praying that an electrical spark didn't set the cockpit on fire before they managed to land without blowing up.

Since A Gathering of Eagles was the other B-52 movie we'd wait for, you may be asking yourself "what was your favorite?" (You may also be asking yourself "Why does he tell such long-winded stories?" or "Why does he think we even care?", which are valid questions as well.) That honor was reserved for Dr Strangelove, which brings us right back to Sterling Hayden. If you look hard enough, everything relates back to Disney or Knott's.

Melissa said...

Nanook and Major - when I first saw the little girl in the red dress and her reflection, I got all excited thinking it was the most identical pair of twins I've ever seen on GDB!

I grew up going to our local Woolworth’s all the time; my aunt's best girlfriend worked there, and she would get us an employee discount. Their coffee shop was our default eatery whenever we were downtown. And it just doesn't seem like Christmas anymore sometimes, because that's where we did all our Christmas shopping and bought our decorations. At least the building is still there - outgrew it's public library building, the library moved into the abandoned Woolworth’s.

(I remember one summer the Woolworth's coffee shop had a promotion where you drew a slip of paper with a price on it from a big bowl, and you could get a banana split for whatever that price was. I had a streak of luck and picked one-cent slips all summer.)

JG said...

Come for the photos, stay for the comments. GDB never disappoints.

I do love Chicago, and the Sinatra song is spot-on, Nanook. It is a great street.

I grew up in a B-Movie starved cultural wasteland and did not get to see THEM until my college sci-fi movie class. I could not believe I could earn college credit for watching science fiction films. This class rounded out my required "humanities" credits and allowed me to graduate in the traditional 4 years. Hard to believe, even now.

I can still remember the instructor droning on about the brilliant "mise-en-scene" of this film, with the diagonal construction (as the images appear on-screen) of many of the scenes. I guess it was educational in some sense, since I still remember it 35 years later, when many more important and even useful things have vanished.

Thanks for the great pictures, Major.