Eric's Place Theatre

1519 Chestnut Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19102

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Showing 26 - 34 of 34 comments

dennisczimmerman on June 16, 2005 at 7:31 pm

My first time at this theatre was to see “Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines”. That was when it was still the Trans-Lux Theatre. Although I was really disappointed in the size of the theatre especially for a “roadshow” attraction. However, I think it is still a shame to permit the theatre to sit there and rot. Maybe the theatre was not a great “money machine”, but how much income has been generated since it closed in 1993? We have become a totally disposable society, in addition to the desire for the almighty dollar! Well, enough of this. This was certainly no “picture palace” but it deserves a better fate than what it has become!

Coate on May 12, 2005 at 6:06 am

“Eric’s Place played ‘Star Wars’ in 1977, but the movie later moved to the former Eric Mark I theatre after a few weeks because they wanted to exhibit ‘Star Wars’ in 70mm”

A few weeks? Actually, the moveover of “Star Wars” to the Mark I occured during the movie’s sixth month, on Nov. 4, 1977.

br91975 on May 9, 2005 at 12:12 pm

Thanks for your posting and the info you provided, Jimmy. For you or anyone else who is in the know – to what end is work being done in the former Eric’s Place Theater space? For reuse as a cinema? For other perfoming arts use? For retail or other purposes?

smut666 on May 9, 2005 at 12:04 pm

I was inside the theater about a year ago before they started fixing it up,inside was very dark most of the power was off, so we used flashlights.The movie screen was split in down the middle,there was a big hole in the roof,most of the seats were destroyed.The inside smelled so bad from all of the water damage.Its a very big place,there’s a basement where they kept old 35mm movie reels,and letters for the marquee.The old sigh psychic reading sigh was sitting in the middle of the theater,it’s hard to believe I spent so much time in this theater when I was a kid.I saw the towering inferno,alien,evil dead 2,Right as you walk in the theater stands an old display sign from the Duke theater.You almost felt so bad to see this old theater go to waste,It need to be a theater again.
Please if anybody has photo’s or stories please e mail me.

veyoung52 on March 9, 2005 at 11:37 pm

No, i dont have the exact dates, but I know that the Trans-Lux chain had been around for many years. There were several located in Manhattan. I am sure some diligent research will turn up the answers you need. I’m also sure that the hyphenated “trans” and “lux” suggests a merging of at least two separate companies. What I would like to know is at what point the T-L chain decided to become a “newsreel” provider, and, also when it deemed to appropriate to utilize rear-screen projection (see my msg of 11/25/04 above). pls let us know what u find out. this was a very unusual chain in the history of American film theater organizations. Good luck.

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on March 9, 2005 at 10:55 pm

Does anyone know if this was the Trans-Lux first theatre they ever opened?

veyoung52 on November 25, 2004 at 1:32 pm

It is now empty, vacant and the Phila Daily “News” columnist who names himself “The Pissmeister” calls the area by the boxoffice which is generally always filled with unfortunate people one of the stinkiest places in all of Philadelphia. Wasnt’t always that way.
As a part of the Trans-Lux chain, it was one of the few strange theatres that had rear-screen projection. Apparently, the chain was of the belief that audiences would be disturbed by a beam of light shining over their heads from behind. When, in the 1953/54 season, it was decided to install CinemaScope, a brand new projection booth at the back of the theatre had to be built. This accounts for the unreasonable amount of time – nearly a week – it took to tool up for 35mm ‘scope.
The house had a checkered booking policy specializing in, sometimes, British product (“The Mouse That Roared”), or esoteric American films (“Lolita”), and once even an expensive roadshow offering(“Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines”).
For reasons which shall forever escape me, Fox booked a 70mm print of “Alien” in 1979. The house at that time belonged to the techno-challenged SamEric group whose policy concerning screen shape and size at that time was firmly: the larger in square footage, the better, aspect ratio be damned. I saw “Alien” opening afternoon on a screen, though as big as it could possibly be in terms of square feet, had a blisteringly incorrect ratio of LESS than 2:1. In later years, someone must have told the chain’s engineering department or their architects of their horrid error, for a few years later the house ran correctly a first for Philadelphia: a 70mm double feature: “Poltergeist” (reissue) and “Star Trek: Wrath of Khan” (reissue). Though the image was smaller to a large degree, this time they had the aspect ratio of 2.2:1 correct.

Mikeoaklandpark on November 12, 2004 at 8:16 am

Does anybody know what happened to this theater? When I was in Phila in 2000 it was boarded up and for sale or lease. I thought the theater opened in 1974 as Eric’s Place with The Towering Inferno.

timquan on November 11, 2004 at 11:15 pm

Eric’s Place played ‘Star Wars’ in 1977, but the movie later moved to the former Eric Mark I theatre after a few weeks because they wanted to exhibit ‘Star Wars’ in 70mm. In later years, the other two films in the SW trilogy would play at the Sameric.