Prince Theater

1412 Chestnut Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19102

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Showing 26 - 50 of 67 comments

RickB on January 15, 2013 at 5:07 pm

The building has been sold to a group that has leased it back to the theater company. What exactly will be presented here in the future seems to be a bit up in the air. has the story.

HowardBHaas on May 31, 2012 at 1:15 pm

It opened for me, and sometimes, yes.

Mikeoaklandpark on May 31, 2012 at 1:09 pm

I did go there but work blocked it as a dangerous site. SIGH. Are they stillshowing movies Howard?

HowardBHaas on May 31, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Open as you will see by clicking on the theater’s website found under Related Websites.

Mikeoaklandpark on May 31, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Is this theater still in oepration? I knew they filed for bankruptcy in 2010.

jackjs2swartz on June 1, 2011 at 7:18 pm

although I never assigned as a mgr or asst, mgr, athe the midtown most of the goldman asst. mgrs. worked the school shows when “Scrooge” starring Albert Finney was playing there for the Christmas holidays. ‘70 or '71 I am not quite sure of the dates any more. our major jobs were to push 800 children out the back exit doors while another group of mgrs pushed 800 more in the front doors.

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on March 24, 2011 at 11:28 am

In between being Jacob Reed’s Men’s Store and Karlton Theatre, there was a Kugler’s Restaurant in the building, until at the latest late 1920, when the building was converted to the Karlton Theatre.

RickB on September 25, 2010 at 4:36 am

The financial woes continue as a film screening is almost canceled after the Prince’s electricity is shut off over unpaid bills; PECO eventually turns the juice back on. Story here.

CSWalczak on July 1, 2010 at 1:03 pm

To help pay the bills, the theater has announced a summer movie series: View link

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 25, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Love the Photo of “CATCH 22” wish it was a bit closer.

Mikeoaklandpark on June 17, 2010 at 10:49 am

I think it is great news that center city will have a theater showing movies again.

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on May 12, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Here’s is a ad from June 1979, with “ROCKY II” playing at the Budco Midtown Theatre. The Midtown Theatre was not twinned yet as of June 1979.

andyp on February 7, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Great Photo of “Catch 22”. I worked as a usher there back in late 1968 to Fall of 1970. Anybody out there know what happpened to the managers – Norman Gordon and Bob Beck. Charlie Woods was there as a fill in for the managers on their days off.

Andy P

kencmcintyre on August 16, 2009 at 12:51 am

Here is an interior photo from the Irvin Glazer theater collection:

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on May 20, 2009 at 8:21 pm

From what I gather, Budco twinned the Midtown sometime after June 15, 1979, which was the day ROCKY II opened there. The Philadelphia Inquirer had the theatre listed that day as “Budco Midtown”

andyp on May 13, 2009 at 4:57 pm

TO: John Benson and Barry Goodkin: I worked as a usher at the Midtown in the late 60’s. Saw Oliver for ten months. When I started I was only 14 years old (had to be 16 to work), and when Mr. Gordon found out, he decided to keep me instead of firing me. I appreciated his kindness and knowledge of the movie business. The best theatre manager that I had the pleasure to work with. I spent my high school years 1968-1972, working at the Midtown (filled in at the Goldman and Randolph when they were short of ushers), also at the Milgram and Stage Door Cinema.

Andy P

HowardBHaas on May 6, 2009 at 7:05 am

Here’s some early 1950s history of films shown at the Midtown, from Box Office:
10 June 1950 Box Office “So Young, So Bad” given premiere on June 7th
10 May 1952 Box Office: Tony Curtis and Piper Laurie will greet people May 14 in the Midtown lobby when their film “No Room for the Groom” opens
8 Aug 1953 Box Office: Michener’s Return to Paradise" had eastern premiere at Midtown on 5 Aug

HowardBHaas on May 3, 2009 at 9:11 am

If you search exactly “BoxOffice March 3, 1951” page 108 has description with photos of renovated Midtown exterior & interior including auditorium facing screen.
Box Office 24 Nov 1951 BoxOffice page 123 has an ad, which at lower right has photos Midtown foyer’s leather doors & Ladies Powder room

veyoung52 on February 26, 2009 at 9:25 pm

It was the Sansom St. Cinema which either began its life as a porno house or morphed into one towards the end, and I think was in the same block as but across the street from the Roxy. It may have also been under Sackett’s supervision that one of the most amazing double-feature bills of all time was shown: “The Wizard of Oz” and Tod Browning’s “Freaks” in one sitting. Among his other ventures, Sackett was also the chief proponent of a short-focal length lens attachment he marketed in the 1970-1980’s as “SuperVision,” which, according to him and his press releases was installed in at least two theatres in Las Vegas, and was even used at an Oscar ceremony for projecting the film clips utilized during the awards.

kencmcintyre on February 1, 2009 at 9:29 am

Do you mean Sansom Street? I don’t remember any Sampson in Center City.

barrygoodkin on February 1, 2009 at 8:33 am

Warner’s operated the Bromley at 5810 Old York Road. It is listed with 953. Barney Sackett had a radio program called “Two On The Dial.” He took over the Earle Theatre after Warner’s closed it and did “Death of a Salesman” on stage. He went on to operate an art house around 19th & Sampson.

JohnBenson on January 31, 2009 at 5:47 pm

I was able to find the Wayne Avenue Playhouse on this site by calling up all the theatres in Philadelphia, which seems to be a more reliable way to find theatres, unless the name has changed. Pretty shocking list; almost every one is closed. They were nearly all open when I left in 1963. I used to know Barney Sackett slightly, who ran the Wayne Avenue, and went there many times.

There was a little theatre near the Wayne Avenue Playhouse, I think it was on the other side of the railroad—looking at the map I would say somewhere like Wingohocking Street not far from where it meets Germantown Avenue. It was closed, but ca. 1962 a guy named Max Raab opened it as an art theatre as a tax shelter, and renamed it the Aardvark Theatre, a play on all the Aart theatres that clogged the neighborhood listings. A purist, he only ran single features until economic necessity forced him to go to the standard doubles. His big score was getting VIRIDIANA first run for Phila. It wasn’t open for very long. If listed on this site it wouldn’t be under Aardvark.

There was also a large theatre on the west side of Chelten Avenue between Wayne and Germantown, I think a chain theatre, but I don’t remember the name.

I can’t remember for sure, but I think the Esquire was the theatre that Gordon managed before moving to the Midtown. It’s the right area and a Goldman theatre.

barrygoodkin on January 31, 2009 at 1:55 pm

The Wayne Avenue Playhouse was located at 4910 Wayne Avenue. In Philly there were many sub-run theatres that were located in residential areas. The Wayne with 504 sets was one of those. The Bandbox was located at 30 E. Armat Street. Both the Bandbox and Wayne were in Germantown. Goldman took over the Grange theatre from Warner Bros., extensively renovated it and reopened as the Esquire. It was located on the Northeast corner of Broad & olney It had about a 1,000 seats. Moe stein was the first manager.

JohnBenson on January 31, 2009 at 11:46 am

You are correct on all points. At the time I was working for Goldman, the Erlanger and the Locust were both legitimate theatres, owned by Goldman. The box office at the Midtown when there were reserved seat roadshows was operated by “treasurers” (according to their contract). They basically operated independently of the theatre management and would move from venue to venue according to need. I got to know a number of the treasurers, who were great people. Freebies being a more established tradition in the legitimate theatre, the treasurers would often get me seats to legitimate shows (in any theatre, not necessarily Goldman’s). Lyle Trenchard was still general manager of the chain when I was there. (Thanks, your mention of the name brings it back to me.) I guess I knew that Gordon was once at the Bandbox. I lived close to the Bandbox in the mid-fifties and went there several times because it showed revivals. I wonder if he was there then. He had also managed a Goldman theatre somewhere in North Philadelphia, possibly on Broad Street. I wish I could remember the name. That was the theatre that he talked about. It was someone else who told me that he once was general manager. Whatever the reason, it is a fact that he did not report to Trenchard but was his own “general manager.” At the time I worked at the Midtown, ushers made 50 cents an hour, a ridiculously low amount even then. (I was never an usher.) I left the Midtown in 1963 and moved to New York but would always drop in to see Gordon when I came back to the city as long as he was at the Midtown. When I worked there, we used to talk about the “art theatre” phenomenon, which he was contemptuous of. Later, I returned to the city to find the Midtown (still a Goldman theatre, still managed by Gordon) showing a hard core feature! (When hard core went legal in Phila, it also went legit, which never happened in NYC, the sleaze relegated to sleaze houses.) Gordon said “business was pretty good for a skin flick.”

By the way, I note that the Wayne Avenue Playhouse is not on this site. Do you know exactly where that was located?