Esquire Theatre, The ‘Classiest’ Movie House in Chicago

Our friends in the Windy City, designslinger, have devoted a recent post to the Esquire Theatre, located in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood. The Esquire was designed by brothers architect William Pereira and designer Hal Pereira for the two younger Balaban brothers, Harry and Elmer. (You may be familiar with the elder brothers, motion picture business pioneers Abe and Barney of the Balaban and Katz Theatre Corporation.)

According to designslinger, in its day the 1400-seat Esquire, “with its streamline details and elegant appointments was dubbed the city’s ‘classiest’ movie house in Chicago.”

Incidentally William and Hal Pereiera, both enjoyed successful careers as Hollywood art directors. William was the production designer on the film noir classic, “This Gun for Hire" (1942) and also on "Jane Eyre" (1943)1. Hal worked on over 200 films and won an Academy Award in 1955 for his art direction on “The Rose Tattoo.” Hal also later served as one of the production designers on the long-running television series “Bonanza2.

See more great photos and read the entire post on

Esquire Theatre
William and Hal Pereira, Esquire Theatre, Chicago, IL (1938). Photo: Copyright 2012 Designslinger.


  1. Wikipedia (2012). William Pereira.
  2. (n.d.). Hal Pereira.