Leo Mall Twin

11801 Bustleton Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19116

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The Leo Theater Building in 2013

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located on Bustleton Avenue between Byberry Road and Hendrix Street, the Leo Mall Twin was quite the dandy little theater in the pre-multiplex days.

It opened December 25, 1964 as the Leo Theatre, a single screen operation. On December 20, 1974 it became the Leo Mall Twin when AMC took over the property at the same time as the Bucks Colonial, the Woodhaven, and the Premiere (which turned out to be a hell of a pick-up, eh?)), but this one time I saw a double feature of “Cloak and Dagger” and “The Last Starfighter” there, which was awesome. Also, I do recall “E.T.” playing there for almost a full year.

Closed at the end of 1990, the building itself still remains, it became a Chinese buffet, and by 2013 a Four Seasons restaurant which closed to become a Clairmont Bistro which appears to have closed by February 2016. As for the Leo Mall itself (it was nothing more than a glorified shopping center with a ceiling), it has survived over the years.

Any additional info would be appreciated, because I spent an uncountable number of hours in this bizarre little “parking lot” theater.

Contributed by Scott Weinberg

Recent comments (view all 24 comments)

TheALAN
TheALAN on December 27, 2013 at 8:24 pm

I don’t remember what the Leo Mall looked like in 1964 when the Leo theatre opened but the mall still exists today with The Home Depot & Net Cost Market as its anchors.

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on March 16, 2015 at 9:48 am

The Net Coat Market started out as Food Fair. The home Depot replaced the old J. M. Fields/The Dry Goods building, the mall itself, and the Warner Drugs/Rite Aid Pharmacy building.

ShabbyGentile
ShabbyGentile on May 21, 2015 at 7:40 pm

Wow. Anyone have any old pics of the AMC Leo or the Leo Mall? I lived behind the mall and basically spent every waking hour as a kid at that theater, going to the adjacent Burger King, then to the Leo Mall to buy Mad magazines from Rite Aid and Traci Lords, Motley Crue and Samantha Fox posters at Sound Odyssey. I remember Amadeus playing at the Leo forever. Also, it must of closed later than the end of 1990, because I’m certain I saw Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me there shortly before it closed for good.

ShabbyGentile
ShabbyGentile on May 21, 2015 at 7:50 pm

The Leo Mall Shopping Center used to have a Shop N' Bag supermarket that was connected to a restaurant called, I think, H.A. Winstons. That place closed and it later became Ribsters, my first job. The Dry Goods was connected to the Leo Mall, a one floor, ground level, mall with fountain and fake greenery in the middle. I remember there being some kind of soft pretzel/ice cream place next to the fountain that also sold lottery tickets, a music store called Sound Odyssey that later became a West Coast Video, a book store that closed in the early 1980s, a liquor store, a vacuum cleaner store and a big Rite Aid. The Burger King, across from the AMC Leo 2, was adjacent to a bank connected to the Shop N' Bag.

dawnd
dawnd on June 20, 2015 at 4:48 pm

It was owned by Posel when I worked there as a cashier back in the late 70’s. One of the projectionists was a friend of my dad’s. His name was John Rack, and he used to save me all the film frames that he cut out when making splices in the 35mm prints. He knew I was a movie buff. I used to put them in slide mounts and run a slide show at home on my mom’s projector and screen! Every couple of years they would bring back my favorite movie, “Gone with the Wind” and my dad would take me to see it there. The manager of the theatre later on hired me as a cashier in the box office. In winter I remember the snow used to pile up and blow inside the little window on the counter. It was so cold in there! The manager was funny. He had this old film short called “Army Daze” and he used to put it in the program whenever he needed to fill time. “Army Daze” must have run hundreds of times! Two of the last films I remember there are “You Light Up My Life” and “Spy Who Loved Me.”

Bustleton
Bustleton on September 17, 2015 at 8:47 am

My first job was an usher at the theater starting in 1976. We wore white shirt, red jacket, and black bow tie. Great memories of watching Goodbye Girl and Close Encounters at least 100 times each. When not working we spent a ton of time at Burger King and at the mall eating hamburgers at the JM Fields deli counter. Great memories of growing up in the area.

TheALAN
TheALAN on February 17, 2016 at 3:23 pm

After the Four Seasons Bistro closed, it became the Clairmont Bistro. A message now says the telephone number is not in service. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens next.

Jim7429
Jim7429 on April 7, 2016 at 2:29 pm

I was hired in high school first for concessions, then usher, then box office cashier and lastly was a part-time manager in college. Mid 1980s through early 1990s. Now a middle-aged man, it still is by far my favorite job. I worked there before during and after the art film experiment. Unfortunately she became a second run theatre near the end, but what an absolutely fantastic experience. Climbing the steps to the projection room, changing lenses after trailers, hanging over the marquee on the roof to change the letters…and I can still smell the popcorn. Best job in the world for a kid and some of my fondest memories. All my best – Jim Peiffer

Tiny529
Tiny529 on April 21, 2016 at 7:02 pm

After the movie theater closed, the building was first turned into a home improvement store called Channel Jr. The whole Channel franchise went under just a few years later. My aunt used to take me to the Leo fairly often. I think I saw Yellowbeard there and my aunt and I were the only two people in the whole theater. The movie was pretty awful, and completely inappropriate for an 8 year old, but I remember enjoying myself nonetheless!

rivest266
rivest266 on October 8, 2016 at 9:27 am

This opened on Christmas day of 1964 and reopened as a twin cinema on December 20th, 1974. Grand opening ads in photo section.

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