Two great families buried in the Jewish Waldheim Cemetery at Forest Park changed Chicago entertainment forever.
Israel Balaban (1862-1931) a Jewish immigrant arrived in Chicago in 1882 from Odessa Russia along with his wife Augusta “Goldie” Manderbursky (1868-1936). They opened a grocery store and fish shop on Chicago’s famous Maxwell Street. They and their five sons and daughter lived in the back of the store.
By 1910 the family had moved to the west side where two of their five sons, Barney Balaban (1887-1971) the oldest son, and A. J. Balaban (1889-1962) along with partners Sam Katz (1892-1961) and Sam’s father Morris Katz (1869 -1939) became the genius behind the Balaban and Katz chain of palatial “movie palaces “. These wonderful theatres shaped how almost every one of us and our parents sought entertainment and viewed the Hollywood movies. Continue reading “The Golden Era of Chicago Movie Theatres”