Modern Screen magazine debuted on November 3, 1930 (some sources say December 1930). Founded by the Dell Company of New York City it initially sold for 10 cents. Modern Screen quickly became popular and by 1933 it had become Photoplay magazine's main competition. It began to brag on its cover that it had "The Largest Circulation of Any Screen Magazine", and Jean Harlow is seen reading a copy of Modern Screen in the 1933 film Dinner at Eight.
During the early 1930s, the magazine featured artwork portraits of film stars on the cover. By 1940 it featured natural color photographs of the stars and was charging 15 cents per issue.
Modern Screen had many different editors in chief over the years, including Richard Heller, who understood the importance of the fan magazine's contribution to movie sales  and Mark Bego, the latter of whom edited the book The Best of Modern Screen  (St. Martin's Press, 1986). The editor most associated with the magazine, however, was Regina Cannon (1900-1992), but her standards for publication were so low that Carl F. Cotter, who wrote 'Forty Hacks of the Fan Mags' (The Coast, 1939), declared her stories to be the worst of the entire lot.
Decline of the magazine
Modern Screen remained a major success through the 1950s but a downturn in movie ticket sales at the end of the decade led to a general sales decline in the magazine. Still Modern Screen managed to remain popular. On January 3, 1967, The Film Daily declared that 50% of movie ticket sales were influenced by fan magazines such as Modern Screen and Photoplay. The magazine remained popular through the 1970s, and Lily Tomlin released her 1975 comedy album Modern Scream, a parody of celebrity magazines. In the early 1980s, however, the popularity of general interest celebrity publications like People Magazine proved to be the end of old-fashioned movie fan magazines. Modern Screen became a bimonthly magazine, but in 1985 publication of the magazine ceased.
- Shine, Anthony (2010). Inside the Hollywood Fan Magazine: A History of Star Makers, Fabricators, and Gossip Mongers. University of Mississippi PRessd. p. 114. ISBN 1-60473-413-2.
- Shine, Anthony (2010). Inside the Hollywood Fan Magazine: A history of star makers, fabricators, and gossip mongers. University of Mississippi PRessd. p. 114. ISBN 1-60473-413-2.
- Shine, Anthony (2010). Inside the Hollywood Fan Magazine: A history of star makers, fabricators, and gossip mongers. University of Mississippi PRessd. p. 188. ISBN 1-60473-413-2.
- Bego, Mark (1986). The Best of Modern Screen. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 224. ISBN 9780312077211.
- Kashner, Sam (2003). The Bad and the Beautiful: Hollywood in the 50s. W. W. Norton. p. 281. ISBN 9780393324365.
- "Fan Mags Fill 50% of Seats?". The Film Daily. January 3, 1967. Retrieved 9/5/11.