Eric's Place Theatre

1519 Chestnut Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19102

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Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on March 9, 2005 at 7:55 pm

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

veyoung52 on November 25, 2004 at 10:32 am

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 5:16 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 8:15 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.