Cedar Theatre

60th Street & Cedar Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19143

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Cedar Theatre

A neighborhood theatre in West Philadelphia. When its policy shifted to adults-only sometime around the mid-1960’s, the operators tried the oldest trick in the book: adopting a name that would place them at the beginning of the alphabetical listings in the papers. Thus the Cedar Theatre became the Abbe Art Cinema. Something called the Aarde Cinema knocked the Abbe Art Cinema out of first place in the 1970’s and VCRs killed off its business in the 1980’s.

Contributed by RickB

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

JohnBenson on February 3, 2009 at 2:00 am

I would say that this theater became the Abbe around 1960. It was an “art” theatre at that time which meant that mostly showed legitimate European films, including some great ones as well as sensational ones. Some theatres in the neighborhood guide called them selves Aart theatres and even AAA Art theatres until the papers put a stop to the foolishness.

I can’t say for sure that there was never an Aarde Theatre, but I think the description above is referring to the Aardvark Theatre. It was opened ca. 1961 or 1962 by a guy named Max Raab as an art theatre for a tax shelter. A purist, he only ran single features until economic necessity forced him to go to the standard doubles. His big score was getting VIRIDIANA first run for Phila. It wasn’t open for very long. If listed on this site it wouldn’t be under Aardvark. It was a little theatre not far from the Wayne Avenue Playhouse, I think it was on the other side of the railroad—looking at the map I would say somewhere like Wingohocking Street not far from where it meets Germantown Avenue. I’d like to know if that theatre is on this site.

TheALAN on September 20, 2014 at 2:47 am

… I would say — around 1960 — mostly — can’t say for sure — I think — wasn’t open very long — little theatre — not far from — think it was on the other side — would say somewhere like… A lot of vague information! I think it would be nice if information was verified before it is posted!

TheALAN on September 20, 2014 at 3:28 am

The theater was demolished and the site is now home to a K Donut/Cedar Laundromat. Cinema Treasures lists it as closed in the overview. That should be changed to demolished.

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