Greetings everyone. Today I will be writing a story about the Avon Theater that was once located at 3327 W Fullerton Ave in Chicago. As a long time South Sider resident, this was one of few places I visited on the North Side for local entertainment. The Avon Theater opened in 1914 and it was beautiful theater in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago.
There was a television program on WCIU-TV Channel 26 called Hellenic Theater. It aired on Sundays at 7 p.m. My mother watched it all the time and at the time we had only one television set in the early 1970s. My brothers and I couldn’t watch anything until the show ended. Thankfully, when we moved to the Ashburn neighborhood of Chicago in September 1974, we purchased a color TV set for the living room. The other one we placed it in the basement so my brothers and I can watch whatever we desire. That was an enormous relief.
Hellenic Theater was hosted by Bobby Papademas and would advertised local Greek businesses in Chicago. My mother heard on the show that the Avon theater would show Greek motion pictures there. She wanted to go there because her friends and their families went there and they told her the films were wonderful. The films were screened on Sundays, sometimes a double feature. We didn’t own a car at the time and lived in the Roseland neighborhood of Chicago. We boarded on the Dan Ryan elevated train, transferred to the Howard line and then took the 74 Fullerton CTA bus. Sometimes my father came along on his day off. He enjoyed the films very much.
I remembered only one movie that was shown, and it was a comedy. It was in color, and I fondly remembered one comic subplot where there were three men dating their girlfriends. For some unusual reason, they were suspicious of them and the men disguised themselves as women to spy on them. The movie seemed quite corny at the time, but I loved it and so did the audience in theater. The roar of the delightful laughter was very loud. The decorated interior of the theater was beautiful and the concession stand displayed an assortment of candy. The smell of the popcorn was heavenly.
Across the street from the theater was a Jack In The Box Restaurant. We went there sometimes before or after the show. My mother bought three stained-glass drinking glasses that had the restaurant’s familiar logo on them when you purchased your food. We kept them for a long time until they were shattered eventually. They are presently collectors items. The restaurants aren’t in Chicago anymore but in other states in the U.S.
The Avon Theater closed in the mid-1980’s. The building is still there and is presently a church and local community center. After the Greek films were no longer screened in the mid 1970s, it still featured American movies for years. The theater is however fondly remembered by the Greek community. During that time, it was an exclusive place that showed Greek motion pictures and to prove to be incredibly popular. I’m gratified my family undoubtedly enjoyed that social experience. Thank you. Pete Kastanes. Admin for Vanished Chicagoland Facebook Page.