13-15 North Second Street,
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The Senate Theater opened April 29th, 1938. The theater was established in the old Russ Building. a building housing storefronts and offices. The upper floors were removed for the theater. The cost to convert the Russ Building into a movie house was $74,700, excluding the cost of clearing the upper floors.
The Senate Theater was owned by Jay Emanuel of Philadelphia, publisher of several theatrical trade magazines and onwer/operator of fourteen theaters. The exterior was sleek with a cool, sophisticated, streamlined facade of structural art glass maroon, orange and black with bronze and stainless steel trim. The interior featured soothing, rose-colored tapestry walls with a fleur-de-lis design and the color-coordinated carpeting.
The first film shown at the Senate Theater was a romantic comedy titled “Joy of Living”. The last show at the Senate Theater the week of Jan. 24, 1988 was an X-rated double feature of “Erotic City” and “Aunt Peg’s Fulfillment”. The Senate Theater closed, and the Harrisburg Redevelopment Authority agreed on February 4, 1988, to acquire the building as part of the site for a new hotel. The Senate Theater was razed in April 1988.
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