Hey everybody, Amara here! What does the historic Chicago Theatre have to do with Walt Disney?
The theatre was built in 1921 by noted architecture duo, Rapp & Rapp.
With the increasing popularity of film throughout the 1920s, movie theater architecture was evolving rapidly, and Rapp & Rapp were the most sought-out architects for movie palaces.
They designed many notable theaters throughout the city of Chicago including the Tivoli, Oriental, and Uptown theatres!
And they didn’t just stay in Chicago! Throughout their career, they designed over 400 theatres throughout the country!
When it was built, The Chicago Theatre was one of the largest movie palaces in the country boasting a nearly 4,000-seat theater.
Something to know about movie palaces at this time is that a lot of them had different decorative theming. A lot of these were really harmful orientalist depictions of different cultures. The Chicago Theatre, though, was decorated in a French style.
The arch on the front of the building was based on the Arc de Triomphe. The Grand Lobby was modeled after J.H. Mansart’s chapel at Versailles. The Grand Staircase is modelled after that of the Paris Opera House, and there were also Louis XIV furnishings throughout the theater!
The interior lobby even included large French-themed murals created by Chicago artist Louis Grell.
Now, get this, Grell allegedly taught Walt Disney when he attended school here in Chicago, but that’s a story for another time.
Also, fun fact, the “Y” that is in the center of the marquee? That is actually the official logo for the city of Chicago. I have a full post on that on my blog, so go check it out!