Fox Archives: Rare photos of the 1938 premiere of ‘In Old Chicago’ at the Four Star Theatre in Los Angeles


As part of the Fox Archives’ Notable Title project, I am currently processing (organizing, rehousing and cataloging) the film “In Old Chicago,” which was produced and distributed by 20th Century Fox Film in 1938. In addition to being almost 80 years old, this film:

  • Won two Oscars and was nominated for another four (one of which was Best Picture)
  • Stars three prominent 20th Century Fox Film contract players (Tyrone Power, Alice Faye and Don Ameche)
  • Was one of the top five box office hits of 1938

As we process photography for a film, we almost always have the following subsets: Unit (photography taken on set, both behind-the-scenes and scene stills), Special Shoot/Gallery (portraits of the actors in character) and Set Stills (set décor continuity). Sometimes, but not always, we will also have photography coverage of Wardrobe/Makeup (continuity), Scoring Session (recording the instrumental and vocals on the scoring stage), Exploitation (merchandising associated with the film) and Events (screenings, tie-ins and premieres).

For “In Old Chicago,” I noticed photography that I have yet to see from another film: the planning and creation of the premiere at the Four Star Theatre in Los Angeles (at 5112 Wilshire Boulevard). As this subject matter is rare in the Archives, I’ve decided to share these photographs for my post this week.

Designing the marquee

Creating the tickets and guest list
Putting in the marquee lights!
So many lights!
Rolling out the red carpet

Press is in place

The final product!

The Fox Archives is mandated to collect, catalog, preserve and make accessible the following assets of the 20th Century Fox studios: props, set decoration, photographs, art department and publicity materials from our film and television productions, and from the 20th Century Fox studio itself. We work primarily with internal Fox groups but also from time to time with outside organizations such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.