Memories of Philadelphia’s Benner Theater
PHILADELPHIA, PA — I just wanted to share a few memories about the Benner Theater in Philadelphia.
I grew up in Oxford Circle of Philadelphia during the 1950s. The Benner was my neighborhood theater. I spent Friday nights and Saturday matinees at that theater as a kid. After Friday night shows, we would go two doors away to a malt shop called “Polly’s”. I recently read in another blog on this website that it became a Lenny’s Dog Shop?
Anyway, I eventually worked at the Benner, cleaning and sweeping the floors after the Saturday matinees. For this, I would get free movie passes to the theater. My friend cleaned the projection room, for which he also got $.25 a week. I was so jealous!
Also, at the Saturday matinees, the movie manager would stop the shop at some point, and call all of the “birthday boys and girls” to the stage. Everyone in the theater would sing “Happy Birthday,” and then he would take the celebrants to the bakery right next door where you could take your pick of one of the cupcakes made that day. Great memories there!
As I grew up, I spent more time at the Merben and the Mayfair theaters, and I recall the TV lounge at the Merben, where I would go to smoke cigarettes. I also recall seeing “Psycho” at the Merben. I remember the Mayfair marquee. I thought it was fantastic. We would see a lot of grade B horror flicks at the Mayfair, which is what they seemed to specialize in.