Thanks to John Chuckman for hosting this extensive online collection of vintage Chicago imagery. I stumbled across it recently and can't wait to go back and study it in depth. I was particularly interested of course in the photos and postcards of old downtown and neighborhood movie theatres. Many are gone, many are repurposed, and it was amazing to see how every neighborhood had their own local screens.
I remember seeing "I Spit On Your Grave" at the McVickers. It was already a funky, rundown downtown grindhouse by that point, almost on its last legs. Watching a movie there was quite an interactive experience as the art of talking back to the screen was in full practice for almost every line of dialogue or every character's action.
The Clark Street Theatre was legendary and was the spiritual predecessor to us when we reopened The Sandburg Theatre as a repertory house in 1979. The Clark had pioneered the showing of double features of classic and disreputable old movies back in the late '60's and early '70's. It attracted an early crowd of cinephiles and threw them together with the bums who just wanted to get inside for the air conditioning or to sleep off a drunk.
I think it was at a Clark Theatre screening of "House of Wax" where the famous line "If you piss on my girlfriend I will beat the crap out of you" was heard shouted out from the balcony, just as Vincent Price as the deranged wizard of wax was about to "sculpt" another of his fiendish creations.