Leader Theatre

4102 Lancaster Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Leader Theatre

The Leader Theatre opened on October 23, 1912, designed by architect John D. Allen with seating for 1,000. Originally a legitimate house, the Leader Theatre later became a movie house. The theater was remodeled in the early-1920’s and again in 1935, this time by John Eberson. By 1941, it was operated by Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.

The Leader Theatre closed in 1968 and later housed the Philadelphia Police Athletic League. It currently serves as a discount store.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

atmos on March 1, 2005 at 1:38 am

I believe one the remodelings was done by John Eberson,most likely in the 1930’s.

tpembleton on June 26, 2005 at 1:40 am

This building still stands, and if you view the buidling from the 41st side, it looks like it was once a movie theater. I was 4, or 5 when it was converted into PAL, but I can vagely remeber it showing animation of some type on Saturday. My parents grew up in the neighborhood, and my graandparents also lived in the neighborhood for many years. The Leader was an important part of the community.

Tony P.

kencmcintyre on September 15, 2007 at 7:32 pm

I went to college in West Philadelphia. I probably walked by this building numerous times, not realizing it was a theater at one time. That part of Lancaster Avenue wasn’t the best neighborhood in the early eighties. I don’t know what it’s like now.

alps on February 17, 2010 at 7:48 pm

I was there the last day it was open. A triple feature of Horror films. After the new sensation, Night of the Living Dead, a gang fight broke out. The last movie theater on Lancaster Ave was closed for good. Psycho, Jason and the argonaughts, Planet of the Apes, From Russia with Love and Thunderball. Bonnie and Clyde all seen on that giant screen.

TLSLOEWS on January 8, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Thanks Al for the story.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 12, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Thanks Al,Know you miss it.

westphillybob on October 23, 2011 at 3:38 pm

I used to live a block away on Preston Street. Went here many times in 40’s and 50’s. Remember seeing The Blackboard Jungle here and when Rock around the Clock came on, the kids got up and danced in the aisles. Saw live stage shows here, one thaT COMES TO MIND WAS fRANKIE lYMAN AND THE jUNIORS IN 1956. They used to run Looney Tune cartoon festivals on Saturday afternoons for 25 cents many hours of cartoons. Remember when admission price was 16 cents for kids under 12. Used to sneak up on the balcony as it was normally closed. At Halloween they would run a triple feature of Frankenstein…Dracula…The Wolfman all original Universal classics. Had good memories of the place. Went back recently. From the front you would never know it was once a movie theater, but if you go around on 41st street the original bldg stillstands as does the rear, complete with the emergency fire escapes at balcony level.

westphillybob on October 23, 2011 at 3:46 pm

In addition to the Leader during the 50’s when I was a kid growing up in West Philly we had the nearby Colonial at 42nd Lancaster; The Casino at 39th Haverford off Lancaster;The Unique at 36th Haverford;The Eureka at 39th Market St;The Fans between 40th and 41st Market;The Commodore at 43rd Walnut. And there was always 52nd street area with a lot of movie houses. Life was good, before TV.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater