Sheridan Theatre

4036 N. Sheridan Road,
Chicago, IL 60613

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Showing 1 - 25 of 50 comments

telliott
telliott on January 7, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Wow, they tore THIS down?! Shameful

BobBill
BobBill on January 7, 2014 at 1:19 pm

I have to retract my comment about the Sheridan not looking like much from the front, after the pic link supplied by KenC MCIntyre…I forgot about the front. The reddish marble stone was part of the synagogue.

That pic does give one an idea how immense and grand the house was…

The bar that is mentioned by Ken C was the Beritz. Black reflective marble outsides…was a honky tonk joint when I live across the street…live music and more in the 40s through the 50s.

BobBill
BobBill on January 7, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Amazing reminder…I lived about half-block south at 3955 Sheridan Road, south across Irving Park Road from the Beritz bar, across the street from the Sheridan Restaurant.

The Sheridan really did not look like much from the outside, unless you happen to go in the back of the building.

The theater was immense and beautiful. It had spacious bathrooms down stairs, a real full mezzinine, two-tiered balcony and boxes from the vaudeville period. Better then the Uptown and rivaled the Granada, maybe even the Oriental in the Loop.

One cannot begin to describe how magnificent it was…brass rails, huge chandeliers, may have had a small fountain and pool…

It might have also had its very own water tower atop in back.

I recall more, I will return and enter it…spent a lot of time there and was heart broken it close and became Anshe Emet Synagog for a time.

Our family moved north to Andersonville and sort of lost touch…

rivest266
rivest266 on June 27, 2012 at 3:57 pm

This opened on February 12th, 1927. The grand opening ad is in the photo section for this theatre.

CompassRose
CompassRose on March 1, 2011 at 11:48 pm

Photos of the Sheridan from the 1930s: Sheridan Theater.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on March 4, 2010 at 10:53 am

I remember how big this building looked when you stood right in front of it. Driving by the lot today it doesn’t seem like the theatre would fit on it.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on April 14, 2009 at 9:21 pm

Reactivate Notification Status.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on November 26, 2008 at 3:04 pm

Ah, BERLITZ. I did recall it right on 8/22. I remember often seeing their bright, vertical neon from the “L” in the `70’s. Ironic that it went from being a bar to a clinic.

KenC
KenC on November 5, 2008 at 7:29 pm

To David and charles 1954: If memory serves, the club on the corner of Irving and Sheridan was BERLITZ. It did have a vertical sign with a black background and green neon letters.On the Sheridan Rd. side, it had a horizontal sign- facing west, of course.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on November 3, 2008 at 9:43 pm

Charles1954, sorry it took so long to post back. I must not have checked the “Notify Me” box. Yes Arnolds is on the N/E corner of Irving & Broadway.
I think you are right also about the name Barritz, but it might have also been Biaritz. Which was later an option/name of the fancier model of the Cadillac Eldorado.

It is truly amazing that you mentioned that old juke box at Arnolds.
Those were actually 8mm film juke boxes, and sadly short lived.
Here’s why I know.
My father Chuck Zornig worked at the Seeburg Juke Box Company here in Chicago in the early `60’s. It was located near North Ave. & Clybourn. Where John M. Smyth/Homemakers Furniture was years later.
Across and down the street from the tavern Weeds. The owner of Weeds should still remember Seeburg.

My father was one of three men instrumental in the design of the juke boxes that played an 8mm sound film of the artist singing their song. Done in specially shot, musical vignettes. Sometimes not by the original artist. This was the start up phase, so they needed films. The plan was to go nation wide with those models.

According to my father, Seeburg was constantly analyzing the possible success of it all. If not enough original artists would go along and film their own songs. Plus the potential legal stuff if other artists did them instead.
Which would have been necessary to fill up a juke box in order to sell the idea to a place with a regular juke box.
Supposedly one model was going to have both 45’s & sound films to fill the gap.

Then the powers that be at Seeburg abruptly scrapped the whole thing. Citing that no one was going to stand in front of a juke box to watch a performer sing, in a bar.
In hindsight, it’s possible Seeburg may have also been leery of a certain “organizational involvement” that already had it’s influence in Chicago’s coin-op/juke box distribution at the time.
The juke box itself was clearly ahead of it’s time to say the least. MTV anyone?

As my brother & I played around my father’s office, we’d sometimes screen those small reels on a Bell & Howell projector because they were just like watching cartoons. “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”, stands firmly out in my mind. I wish he/we had saved all of those films.

Actual video juke boxes did make a brief appearance in the late `80’s under another name, but didn’t catch on. Coincidentally a place called Arnie’s Outdoor (now Dublin’s) at State & Maple behind the Carnegie Theatre, had one. I stopped by once and watched “Walk That Dinasour” by the band Was Not Was, on that evening.
The box was gone before I could get my father into Arnie’s to see it.

Sorry if this was all off topic. But whose lookin' up the Sheridan Theatre that often.
Thanks for wakin' up the memories.

Broan
Broan on August 26, 2008 at 5:19 am

Diner Grill is still there.

charles1954
charles1954 on August 25, 2008 at 11:25 pm

e_five: thanks for all that info! David: I believe the name of the nightclub was Barritz not Berlitz but I’m not entirely certain… I remember eating at the DINER often with my dad – it was next to a store called Jerry’s Toggery back in the 1960’s. The DeMar chain of restaurants rings a bell. As does Arnold’s at Irving & Broadway. Was Arnold’s on the north east corner? If so, I was in there often too and remember that it had a video juke box in the 1960’s!

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on August 22, 2008 at 12:52 pm

Thanks BWChicago for pointing me in the right direction. I never noticed the “previous names” search field.
The Sheridan’s incarnation as The Palacio is what I remember. Across from The Palacio on the N/E corner of Irving & Sheridan was a giant club called Berlitz or something. It had a huge vertical sign and was open well into the 70's or early80’s as a bar with bands.
I think it was originally a dance/social hall on a much less fancy level than the Aragon Ballroom.
Or Brawlroom, for those who ever made it to some of it’s `70’s concerts.

I also didn’t know the Festival was formerly the Mode. We went there in 1978 or`79, when a friend of mine had a thing for a redheaded, X-rated actress. Lisa De-something. Again, I had the car. Was I to argue??

The Festival was really pretty beat by this time, so much so that even the actress looked a little uncomfortable being there. And you’d think nothing would phase her in her profession.
I think the Festival was briefly converted into an small grocery store before it was finally torn down. (your comment here)
This would have been years before the Admiral got a significant makeover, uh, so I heard.

The diner across from Biasettis/Cordiss Bros., was just called “Diner”, when another friend of mine worked there 18 years ago. It was reportedly originally an Evanston train car. It was owned by the DeMars family who had restaurants scattered about the city. Including Arnold’s at Irving & Broadway.
The diner was home of the Slinger. Whose ingredients included eggs, burgers, chili, hash browns, etc. As the sign said. “Don’t ask, just eat it”.
A hit with the after 2am crowd.

efive
efive on July 15, 2008 at 8:55 am

Charles— the nightclub across from where the Sheridan used to be is now called Nick’s Uptown. It’s really just a yuppie bar. It used to be a real shady dive bar in the early 1990s when I lived around there and the Sheridan/Palacio was boarded up and home to homeless squatters. The building where Nick’s Uptown is now opened as an automobile showroom in the 1920s. In the early 1990s, there was a Mexican grocery store just to the north at the corner of Cuyler. On the north side of Cuyler, there was a halfway house full of ex-offenders. The neighborhood certainly has changed a lot since the early 1990s.

SPearce
SPearce on February 15, 2008 at 10:37 pm

Scott: Thank you for the information. I am reading steadily through the north side theaters and will reach the Riviera soon. Also the Nortown was one I attended. Is there history that the workers the City hired during the depression contributed to construction, add-on or maintenance of private theater buildings as well as parks and roads?

Scott
Scott on February 15, 2008 at 3:37 pm

The last incarnation of the Sheridan Theater was as a Mexican movie theater called the Palacio. I am not sure when it stopped being used as a synagogue, but it was the Palacio by the time I moved into the neighborhood. The Palacio closed sometime in the early 1990s and the building was boarded up. It was constantly being broken into and used by vagrants. And, from what I understand a human torso left over from a murder was found in the building. By the 1990s, It was hard to make out how beautiful the building had been because most of the original terra cotta had been covered with marble or granite slabs to make it into a synagogue. In fact, there were menorah symbols carved on the stone around the entrance. It was not until the building was being torn down that you could once again see the original terra cotta and the building’s splendor.

“Rehabbers” or developers dismantling or covering up decorative details on historic buildings is a classic scenario Chicago. When parapet walls need to be rebuilt or terra cotta needs to be repaired, many building owners take the least-expensive way out and remove or cover these details. Soon, no one realizes how beautiful these buildings once were and they eventually get torn down. One of my favorite recent Chicago preservation success stories is the Riveria Building at Lawrence and Broadway. This beautiful masonry and terra cotta building was covered with a glass and steel structure in the late 1950s. When they covered the building, any terra cotta details that stuck off beyond the surface were literally “shaved” down. This building looked like a wreck during the past 10 years and surely was a prime candidate to be torn down. Fortunately, a bank decided to move into the building and they removed the glass facade and restored the exterior with new brick and terra cotta. The only detail they did not restore was a terra cotta cap along the edge of the roof line.

SPearce
SPearce on February 14, 2008 at 5:26 pm

Thank you for posting the timelines and photos above. Now I get it (couldn’t understand why I didn’t remember a Sheridan theater at that address). It was a synagogue during my time, and I recall the structure after seeing the exterior photo. I recall that in the early 1960s while walking there, it was told to me by someone who passed me on the street while I was looking up at the building that it had been a theater, and was reportedly beautiful inside and that I could probably go in and look around, if I was interested – whomever represented management inside would probably let me. I asked the person if they had seen it inside and they said they had just gone a little ways inside the front door and looked around, and what they saw was beautiful, but that they had to catch a bus, so they hadn’t stayed long and left.

Since I am not a Jew, I chose to respect the congregation’s privacy, and did not have the temerity to enter without invitation. The photos of the interior leave me without voice that this building was forfeited (at such a late date for appreciating the need for preservation). One wonders about the congregation. Was it owned or leased by them? Was it that the congregation was small then, not able, not interested, or somehow just didn’t value this structure enough to put together venture capital and save it for themselves a few years ago? Maybe the congregation and the Alderman together were interested in turning it into a senior citizens home. I even think I have heard this story.

I would like to think those photos of this theater are well preserved in multiple places as an example of the worst treatment that can happen to a theater treasure. I respect the caveat that the photos cannot be copied. Would that people/citizens/residents better understood that they lose their own respect when commerce is simply allowed to co-opt culture, even if residents are not capable of protecting neighborhood buildings. These treasures just can’t be replicated. I’m sick. I am so disappointed I did not know what a treasure was the interior of the building.

Scott: I noted and was touched by your remark that in walking around inside the Sheridan you found it to be “one of the most incredible experiences of your life.”

charles1954
charles1954 on February 10, 2008 at 2:51 am

Have you posted the Sheridan demoltion photos somewhere that I don’t know about yet?

Scott
Scott on November 18, 2007 at 10:21 am

I have lived in Buena Park for 17 years and have seen both the Sheridan Theater and the Mode Theater torn down.

The Sheridan was torn down after the alderman decided that the site would be better served by a generic-looking senior citizen’s building. It took over 6 months to tear down the impressive building. During that time most of the important terra-cotta was removed by Architectural Artifacts, including the huge frieze at the top of the building. I managed to salvage many pieces of decorative plaster and terra-cotta. However, my biggest thrill was be able to roam throughout the building (dangerous, I know) as it was being torn down. Early in the dismantling process, it was possible to go up into the catwalk surrounding the suspended plastic ceiling. The orchestra pit and the dressing rooms were still intact. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. But, I recall being extremely sad realizing that this landmark building would be no more.

I took many photos of the building as it was being torn down, but I will have to locate them. They are packed away in storage.

The Mode Theater was located to the south of Irving Park Road on Sheridan Road—about two blocks from the Sheridan. In its later years, it was a Mexican grocery store. However, you could still tell that it had been a theater at a previous time. This theater was much smaller than the Sheridan, so it was probably easier to convert to another business.

This theater was torn down about 2 years ago to make way for a luxury condo development. I was able to take some photos of the structure after the grocery store effects had been removed. You could still see many of the details from the original theater. Another sad day. Here are some photos that I took of the building as it was being torn down.

View link

I am sure that this theater was called something other than Mode in its early years. Does anyone know the name?

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on October 5, 2007 at 7:54 am

A Wurlitzer theater organ opus 1329 style SP 4M was installed in the Sheridan Theater on 4/30/1926. Status: sold.

sweety95
sweety95 on September 17, 2007 at 9:39 am

Hello all, funny story I have about the Sheridan theater, I lived directly next door to it at 4032 N. Sheridan for 2 years in the 80s after it closed (which was a bit spooky!) My apartment was right next to it, and I could look out my windows to the side of this big ,old, dark theater. My cat got out one day, and entered the theater through a broken window. I was scared for some reason to get too close to the building, but I had to stay by this window yelling inside pleading with my cat to come out. She eventually did, but I will never know how far into the theater she actually went!

charles1954
charles1954 on September 7, 2007 at 1:28 am

Hi Bryan!
During the years 1960-1968, I lived on Sheridan, next to the L station and then at Irving Park Road. I visited St. Mary of the Lake school in that time period. While my neighborhood movie theater going was limited to the MODE because the SHERIDAN by that time was already a synagogue – I do remember the theater vividly. I returned to the area for the first time in 35 years and found everything intact except for the disapearance of the two cinemas on Sheridan Road. I was wondering if you could tell me something about the nightclub across the stree from the Sheridan theater. It has an impressive facade which I would date to the 1920’s with lots of Egyptian motifs. It could well have been a small cinema too but I’ve never read anything about it. I only now discovered it again on my recent visit.