UA Queen 4 Theatre

239 Town Center Road,
King of Prussia, PA 19406

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 29, 2017 at 6:18 pm

lushwoodland: I don’t doubt that the original King Theatre was in a different building than the Queen Four, but the King could not have been a Jerry Lewis Cinema when it first opened. Mike Rivest has uploaded to this theater’s photo page the King Theatre’s grand opening ad from June 26, 1963, and the ad displays the company name, Sameric.

There is also the fact that the entry for King of Prussia architect David Dean Freeman in the 1970 edition of the AIA’s American Architects Directory lists the King Theatre as one of his projects (it is listed as a 1965 project, so that is either a typo- these are not unknown in books as enormous as the AIA directories- or Freeman merely designed some alterations for the theater two years after it opened.)

Network Cinema Corporation and Jerry Lewis didn’t even form their partnership to create Jerry Lewis Cinemas until 1969. I don’t know when the King of Prussia Jerry Lewis Cinema opened, but I doubt it was any earlier than 1970. Most of the company’s houses were opened in the early 1970s, some of them as single-screens, more of them as twins, and a few as triplexes.

Presumably, it was when the Jerry Lewis operation failed later in the 1970s (the company was gone by the end of the decade) that Sameric took over the King of Prussia location and began operating it, renamed the Queen, as an adjunct to the King Theatre. What happened after that I don’t know. I wasn’t there and I haven’t found any articles about it on the Internet.

But I can guess, based mainly on the theater’s nomenclature (lack of solid information has never stopped me from making guesses, as I’m sure everyone at Cinema Treasures knows.) At some point Sameric took over the Jerry Lewis location and renamed it the Queen (it would not have made sense for them to renamed the Jerry Lewis the King and rename the King the Queen. Moving the signage alone would have been costly, and there was nothing to gain from it.) The King was twinned, either before or after the Jerry Lewis was taken over, and at some point two additional screens were added to the Queen twin, and the entire operation went by the name King and Queen Six until the twinned King was closed, after which the former Jerry Lewis location with its two-screen addition operated as the Queen Four. This is the only explanation that really makes sense to me.

lushwoodland on September 29, 2017 at 2:19 pm

I see that a posting I put here several years ago has been removed. I think there is some confusion. The original King Theatre was on the opposite side of the parking lot from what was later called the King & Queen 6. They were two separate buildings in two different locations. The original King was opened as a Jerry Lewis theatre. He attended the opening and there was a plaque in the floor of the ticket lobby that stated such. Shapiro became involved after the Jerry Lewis theater concept failed (they only played family films). Then it was renamed the King. It opened as a single-screen theatre. I went there often in the 60’s. Saw “Dr. Strangelove'” “The Haunting,” “The VIP’s” just to name a few. It was twinned in the early 70’s. That ruined the theatre IMHO. Saw “The Sting” there in 1973.

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on March 9, 2015 at 11:24 pm

The Queen building did say on it “Eric Queen” with a marquee for screens #3-6

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on March 9, 2015 at 11:23 pm

The main entrance to the King Theatre was in the back of the building, with shops on the front facing DeKlab Pike

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on June 2, 2014 at 7:10 pm

Today, most of the King Theatre site is now a parking lot next to the Marshalls (former Food Fair) location.

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on June 2, 2014 at 6:53 pm

That newspaper ad is proof that this theatre was opened as a Sameric Theatre.

rivest266 on May 31, 2014 at 4:00 pm

June 26th, 1963 grand opening ad in photo section

chinatownkid on August 7, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Despite having lived fairly close to this theater, I only remember going here a handful of times. I know I saw the Special Editions of Star Wars and the Empire Strikes Back here. I also remember seeing Operation Condor, Cape Fear, and Tales from the Darkside here. It wasn’t a bad cinema and it wasn’t a particularly spectacular one either.

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on June 15, 2013 at 9:24 pm

I would assume it is correct. AFAIK, The King Theatre/King Twin was the only Eric Theatre that did not have the “Eric” name on the theatre itself.

HowardBHaas on June 3, 2013 at 7:23 pm

I’ve added an exterior photo of a theater named King from a collection of Eric theater photos. Is this photo correct for this theater?

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on May 12, 2010 at 11:17 pm

The King Theatre was org. to the left of the Food Fair Supermarket at the Valley Forge Shopping Center

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on April 14, 2009 at 6:41 pm

On the death notice for Sam Shapiro, founder of the Sameric chain, it list that he opened the King Theatre, then a few monts later opened the Eric Fairless Hills and Eric Harrisburg Theatre. It wasnn’t until the late 1960’s that this theatre started using the “Eric” name.

moviemandarin on November 30, 2008 at 5:50 pm

The King was actually not opened as a Sameric. It was opened as a Jerry Lewis Cinema. As a matter of fact Jerry opened it personally, and there was a bronze plaque in the floor of the ticket lobby that commemorated that fact (“Opened by the King of show business, Jerry Lewis…”). It was very typical of a Jerry Lewis Cinema, very cheap construction, virtually no decoration, poor, uncomfortable seats.(The only other one in the area was in Lionville, Chester County—it eventually came to be called the Marchwood cinema.

yaggy on November 19, 2008 at 3:58 pm

The King’s two theatres sat around 700+.
Three of the Queen’s four houses sat 415.
The last theatre sat 350. All four Queen
theatres looked quite identical (except 1 & 4
had no surround speakers, just mono sound),
but #4 had to have seats removed from the front
several rows to bring it into township regulation
due to the amount of parking spaces available.

timquan on August 30, 2005 at 8:52 pm

How many seats were in the King and Queen theatre complex per screen?