2713 Germantown Avenue,
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This theatre opened in 1912 as a nickelodeon called the Amusement Parlor, designed by Philadelphia architect A.E. Westover. Silent movies played with live piano music. Admission was five cents. Subsequent names included the Union Amusement Parlor, the Temple Theatre and the the Elmer Theatre. Architect H.C. Hodgens handled the 1919 renovation. The late theatre historion Irvin Grazer explained that the theatre’s design was changed each time the name changed.
Operated by David E. Milgram, the Elmer became the Avenue Theatre on March 27, 1932. As a neighborhood theatre, the Avenue showed ‘last run’ movies, after they played at the Uptown Theatre on North Broad Street.
On Sunday, October 7, 1984, the fire alarm sounded at 9:11PM. 90 moviegoers exited. They had been watching a double feature of “C.H.U.D.” and “Angel”. The Fire Department reported the fire was arson, begun in a first floor variety store, and took three hours to put out. The three alarm fire damaged the Avenue. Theatre owner William Milgram, son of the 1932 owner, was upset at the loss of the theatre. Admission before it closed was $2.50 for adults, $1.25 for children. Until its closing, the Avenue Theatre showed Saturday ‘kiddie matinees’ of cartoons and movies.
The Avenue was the last movie theatre then operating in North Philadelphia. Except for a brief reopening for movies of the Uptown in the early 1990’s, the next movie theatre to open was the seven screen Pearl on North Broad Street in 2006.
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