1443 S. 7th Street,
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Previously operated by: Wax Circuit
Previous Names: Becker Brothers Theatre, Becker Theatre
Opened in 1913 as the Becker Brothers Theatre owned by H.W. Becker & Jacob Becker. This was the 5th theatre they had opened with the Becker name. It was located at S. 7th Street and Dickinson Street. In September 1921 it had a redo under a new operator, expanded to 800 seats and became the Stratford Theatre. In 1923 a Kimball organ was installed. By the early-1940’s it was operated by the Wax Circuit. Another refresh happened in 1955 when it was equipped with CinemaScope. The Stratford Theatre was closed on January 15, 1963, but reopened under a new operator on July 15, 1963. It was short lived and closed on October 5, 1963 with Grant Williams in “The Incredible Shrinking Man” & Christian Marquand in “I Spit on Your Grave”.
It was demolished and became a municipal car parking lot. There is now a Rite Aid drugstore at this address.
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Here is a 1956 photo:
The Rite Aid was built on the southeast corner of 7th and Dickinson after the Stratford Theater was razed. You can see that the theater extends almost to the street while the drugstore, a much smaller building, is set well back in the property with parking in front.
The Rite Aid parking lot is on the northeast corner of 7th and Dickinson. The Stratford Theater has been demolished, in any case.
The address of this former theatre dated back to the 1870s when Restein Hall served as a meeting place for many political discussions all the way until 1913 when it was razed. August W. Becker, H.W. Becker and Jacob Becker decided to buy the property to build a new $50,000 movie house. The venue was deemed fireproof using structural steel and concrete in its construction.
H.W. Becker was one of the pioneering area theatre operators when live theater changed over to photoplays. Becker’s moved from the New York market into the Philadelphia area when we acquired Fox’s Pleasure Palace in 1898 and changed it to Becker’s Lyceum Theatre. As for this entry, local accounts show the building and opening of this theatre in 1913 (aka the Becker Brothers' Theatre).
The Beckers sold off this theater in 1921 for $63,000 to Abe Wax. The theatre was given a refresh becoming the Stratford Theatre around September of 1921. The theatre added sound to remain viable. Late in 1955, it had a major refresh complete with widescreen presentations. The Stratford ran into a challenging period becoming an ultra-discount sub-run house at a quarter a ticket hoping to get anyone to walk through the front door.
The Stratford closed on January 15, 1963. Shockingly, the venue found another operator reopening July 15, 1963. That operator, Gregory Faramelli, was beaten by patrons in August of 1963 - a sort of welcome to the neighborhood moment. The Stratford appears to have ground to a halt following showings of “The Incredible Shrinking Man,” Chapter 11 of the serial, “Batman and Robin,” and “I Spit on Your Grave” on October 5, 1963 at the time of its 50th Anniversary and end of a leasing period. There were more bookings for the theatre, but they appear to have not been run. The theatre has since been razed.