Band Box Theatre

20 E. Armat Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19144

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Bandbox Theatre

A small side street theatre that outlasted its larger rivals around Germantown and Chelten Avenue. By 1950 it was operated by William Goldman Theaters Inc. In the late-1960’s and early-1970’s it was operated by Art Carduner as one of Philadelphia’s very few venues for art and foreign films. Last I heard it had become warehouse space for a candy company. By 2015 it was in use as office space.

Contributed by RickB

Recent comments (view all 29 comments)

SuzanDMB on February 25, 2010 at 9:57 pm

WOW!!! Thank you ever so Dennis!!!

joesview on March 5, 2010 at 11:22 pm

I loved going to the Bandbox when I was a teen in Philly in the late 1960s. Art Carduner was a culture hero of mine for his programming and the great program notes he wrote. Much of my early movie education took place in this theater – from “Citizen Kane” to “Morgan!” to “Pierrot le Fou.” It was an adventure to get to from the Northeast (via public transportation) but you knew you were going to see something very special!

calcynic on January 15, 2013 at 2:29 am

I remember Hecate’s Circle very well. Danny Starobin turned me on to the place and I saw Sweet Stavin Chain play dozens of times there. Danny and I got to know each other while I was caddying for his pop at Ashbourne C.C. Danny showed up to talk to his dad and got the worst treatment from his pop…made me sick. I dropped the golf bag and told him I don’t work for assholes. We became friends . I miss him. RIP Danny.

freddylubin on May 23, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Once, in the late 1960s, when it was an “art-house theater”, I saw Buster Keaton’s “The General”, with live accompaniment.

averygosh on February 9, 2014 at 5:55 pm

Dear Calcynic, Thanks for the sweet not about my dear departed cousin, Danny. I loved my unc., but he wasn’t exactly the easiest guy to get along with. Freddy, I saw it too!!!

TheALAN on May 31, 2015 at 5:23 am

Today, the Band Box Theatre is home to the Germantown Recovery Community, a facility of NHS Human Services, Inc.

Bandbox on March 25, 2016 at 7:03 pm

Can someone tell me who owned the bandbox in 1960?

James_Feldman on April 1, 2016 at 11:50 pm

Art Carduner owned the Bandbox and it was then THE place in Philadelphia to see art, repertory, foreign, silents, and historical cinema during the 1960s. The Bandbox would also play some of the great silent films to live improvised piano accompaniment by Paul Garabedian, a great local musician who would get standing ovations for his performances there. Mr. Carduner would come over to my family’s house for book club meetings held there. And Mr. Garabedian also frequently visited as a family friend. I also remember David Starobin who worked at the Bandbox. David was the brother of Danny Starobin, who calcynic mentions above, and they both played together in a blues band called Sweet Stavin' Chain. I didn’t see the group play at the Bandbox, but did see them perform as the opening act for Buddy Guy at The Electric Factory in the late 1960s.

moleskinner on July 8, 2017 at 3:52 am

My dad used to take me here regularly in the late 60s, early 70s. The mini marquis perpetually read, “COMING SOON! THE LOST WORLD” Two years is a lifetime to a kid and I was miffed at his idea of soon. My dad had me primed for a good dinosaur flick. I saw King Kong here. I also saw my first Marx Brothers double feature and became a lifelong fan. I remember the guy had a Nickleodeon in the lobby, one of those automatic flip the pictures thingies that fired up with a coin. My dad must have known Art because they always had long reminiscences after the show.

fallriverflash on April 24, 2018 at 1:39 am

There were NO other repertory art houses in Philly during the mid to late 1960s, only my beloved Band Box. What most folks don’t know is that Armat Street in Germantown was named for Thomas Armat, one of the inventors of the motion picture, whose patents were bought out by Thomas Edison. I am not sure that Art Carduner knew this. Art, where art thou? Wherever, thank you.

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