Mode Theatre

3912 N. Sheridan Road,
Chicago, IL 60613

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Showing 1 - 25 of 88 comments

Broan on September 25, 2017 at 2:48 pm

No Man’s Land was the unincorporated area between Wilmette and Kenilworth along Sheridan Road, nowhere near Lakeview. The Teatro was the Teatro del Lago, not the Mode.

steveshadow63 on July 30, 2016 at 8:09 pm

I worked at the Mode during high school. When it became the Festival, I was the manager. For a fictional look at both the operation of the theater and the neighborhood, see the two books written by author Steve Shadow. “Sin-Ema Festival” is an x-rated parody of the theaters porn days. “The Savage Little Flea” is about the management and crew that ran the theater and how they became involved in Mexican lucha-libre wrestling.Both books are available from Amazon as paper backs or e-books. Those were exciting days for a plethora of reasons. Will try and find old pictures to post.

DavidZornig on April 27, 2016 at 6:09 pm

1975 photo as The Festival added, © and credit Saul Smaizys.

rso1000 on December 8, 2015 at 10:29 pm

In the Final Years the store fronts north of the entrance were demolished for parking lot as the Auditorium was converted to a food store for a couple of years. I do NOT recall if the Lobby was retained or also demolished for parking.

Broan on October 25, 2015 at 1:20 pm 1913 article indicates Rapp & Rapp were architects for a theater at Sheridan/Dakin.

DavidZornig on July 9, 2015 at 5:03 pm

1975 photo of the Festival Theatre by Bob Rehak. Copy & paste to view.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 3, 2014 at 9:13 am

The January 24, 1914, issue of The Moving Picture World said that Charles J. Schaefer had opened the Keystone Theatre on December 17. He was already operating the Lyceum Theatre and the Garfield Theatre, and was contemplating the construction of a 1,600 seat house on the North Side of Chicago. Another source indicates that the Garfield Theatre Schaefer operated was the one at 2844 W. Madison.

The 1935 Boxoffice article Tinseltoes linked to says that the remodeling of the Keystone Theatre in to the Mode Theatre was designed by the firm of B. Leo Steil & Co.

Boxoffice no longer provides direct links between magazine pages on its web site, so here are links to the three pages on which the article about the Mode appears:




Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on March 24, 2014 at 6:52 pm

I’d have to say in this case the new development is better for the neighborhood. The Mode wasn’t much to begin with, it was never going to be a theater again, and it was run down when they demolished it. The condos aren’t anything special. But they are bright and new and seem to be reasonably occupied. Now if only Thorek Hospital would stop buying property and land-banking it the neighborhood might completely fill in.

DavidZornig on February 12, 2014 at 2:20 pm

I just added a Free Pass image in the photos section. It was for both the Festival and Aardvark down on Wells Street in Pipers Alley. Image courtesy of Bill West.

rivest266 on June 25, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Grand opening ad posted here.

KenC on June 22, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Nice pics, Tinseltoes. As the Keystone, rather fancy looking outside; as the Mode, much plainer. The tiny boxoffice remained the same- a nice, easy job-assuming you didn’t have claustrophobia! Thanks for sharing.

KenC on March 3, 2011 at 12:14 am

1937- ten years before I was born, that vertical sign with the accent on the “e” looks exactly the same as I recall it from 1957 to about 1968, when the neon was removed and the theatre became the PUERTO RICO. The letters were hand painted, and the black background was turned white or light yellow. Saw “GOLDFINGER” in English- with Spanish subtitles- to a near empty auditorium. Thanks for posting, Compass.

CompassRose on March 2, 2011 at 7:26 pm

View of the Mode from the 1930s: Mode Theater.

Antiquelar on February 9, 2011 at 8:06 am

No, I went to Stockton School at Montrose & Beacon, but I had friends that went to St. Mary’s. I went on to Senn High School & graduated in 1964.

charles1954 on February 4, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Hi Larry!
Did you go to St. Mary of the Lake too?!?!

charles1954 on January 30, 2011 at 9:20 am

Hi Ken!
I just now discovered your Oct. 6 2010 comment (shouldn’t I have been automatically notified!?) How EXCITING! The prospect of getting a MODE flyer from 1959 / 1960!
Glad to hear that there is advertising for local neighbourhood merchants too! I used to get my flyers at Danny Schwab’s HOT DOG HAVEN on the corner of Sheridan and Damen(?). I’m such a collector – why I didn’t save a MODE flyer is beyond me!?
Please send me the flyer I will reimburse you for your expenidture! Thanks so much!

KenC on October 24, 2010 at 5:26 pm

Hi Larry- send me an e-mail by clicking my name. We can work it out, and yes, I’d be interested in that picture from 1937. The Mode always had low prices- I remember paying 55 cents even into the 1960s for some great…and some silly- triple features. In the flyer, you will see not only a number of movies advertised, but also about 11 neighborhood merchants , each with a small blurb; for example :“Prescriptions Our Specialty” STRATFORD REXALL DRUG STORE 4129 SHERIDAN Open 8 A.M. to 11 P.M. Phone GRaceland 2-3656 For Fast & Cheerful Delivery Drugs- Liquors – Luncheonette. (ring a bell?)

Antiquelar on October 21, 2010 at 2:42 pm

To KenC,

I am interested in a copy of your Mode flyer. I grew up a few block from the theater in the 1950’s and early 60’s. Great memories. Mom world give me and my brother 27 cents and send us to the Mode. 17 cents for admission and 10 cents for popcorn. That was in the early to mid 50’s. I grew up in Buena Park on Buena where it meets Kenmore, right next door to Rowland Funeral home and across the street from St. Mary’s of the Lake and what we referred to as “The Little Park.” “The Big Park” was down by Wilson & Lake Shore Drive.
If you’re interested I have a picture of the Mode from 1937 that I can have a print made. It was actually from an ad in the Architectural Record from 1937. Thanks.

KenC on October 6, 2010 at 7:34 pm

To charles 1954: in one of your posts way back in 2005, you wished to see a flyer from the Mode. I found one- got some copies made. Looks like it’s from 1959, maybe 1960. Hopefully you will see this post, and, if you wish, I can send it to you via snail mail. Feel free to e mail me with your address, or, next time you visit Chicago, let me know. A guarantee- you will get a kick out of it. ~Ken.

DavidZornig on July 27, 2010 at 4:14 pm

No. The Riviera is off of Lawrence & Broadway.
If you check the address the Mode was on Sheridan Rd., just South of the Sheridan Red Line elevated stop & Irving Park Rd.
It later was the Festival Theater, which ran XXX films & some live performances.

0123456789 on July 27, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Was this theatre by the Riveiera theatre?

DavidZornig on April 14, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Reactivate Notification Status.

SPearce on January 6, 2009 at 8:03 pm

I was trying to remember the name of the “Rowland” Funeral Home not long ago, as I attended a visitation for a close family friend there. I think I remember the “pool(s) to the west too. Between Ashland and Paulina was a 2 or 3 story private garage that probably had an interesting history, but I can’t remember the name of it,

Was it Buena Memorial Presbyterian Church with its parapet type entrance where Broadway and Sheridan almost crossed? I attended there in early ‘60s; understood the tower collapsed or something. It was an imposing structure but the parishioners were fading fast even then. St. Mary of the Lake is beautiful also.

DavidZornig on January 6, 2009 at 2:40 pm

I too was stunned when I saw that the Rowland Funeral Home had been torn down. Would have made a great museum dedicated to the history of the neighborhood, if nothing else. There used to be some in-ground, city run swimming pools just West of there. In a quadrant/mini public parks kind of street set-up. Then a new foundation for a building that seemed to never get finished was poured after that. I think there are trees where the pool was now.

There was also a spectacular, massive sized church at the very point where Broadway & Sheridan meet, North almost to Montrose. It too was torn down maybe 1992 or so. I think it was closed long before that though. Alledgedly, Un-Godly type activity had apparently been taking place in some of the church’s many exterior alcoves.

DavidZornig on January 6, 2009 at 9:53 am

My Festival/Mode recollections had inadvertantly gotten posted to the Sheridan/Palacio page. Probably because I was expounding on the area a bit.

The ultimate demolition & building of condos on the Mode site, likely took much longer to happen due to hesitant developer speculation in the area. That gas station at Irving & Sheridan seemed to hang in deveolpment limbo even when it doubled as Cubs parking.
There was also a hip hop clothing store under the “L” that had grafitti signage visible from the tracks. It too seemed transitional at first.

Further West on Irving at the tracks by the cemetary, I remember a small, freestanding triangular garage type building for sale in 1991 or so. They wanted an unbelievable 1.5 million or something for the thing. And it was on an alley, and later I found out had some kind of variance/clause about if the CTA ever needed space to do work.
So if that was the land pricing mindset in 1991, how long did it take for actual usable land to start hitting the high mark. It seemed the 1998-ish condo boom had passed the area by.