Uptown Theater

2501 N. Fourth Street,
Harrisburg, PA 17110

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Uptown Theatre exterior

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The curtain was raised at the 693-seat theater at North Fourth Street and Schuylkill Street on October 6, 1949. “In the Good Old Summertime” with Judy Garland and Van Johnson was the main attraction. The one-story brick theater cost $175,000 to build.

The entrance had a cool, curving corner marquee of stainless steel. The outside lobby was paneled in birchwood with indirect cove lights. The main auditorium was decorated in blue and cocoa with fabric hung walls, acoustical ceiling, wood wainscoting and lights on the side walls. All seating was on a single floor. The building was air-conditioned. Additional facilities included a Television lounge which could seat around 20 persons, a crying room, and a free parking lot.

The theater closed April 9, 1972, without fanfare. The last film was Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments”. The theater equipment and furnishing were sold and the building later razed for a parking garage.

Contributed by John Messick

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

dennisczimmerman on January 6, 2007 at 9:54 am

John: Dennis from Lancaster. Can I jog your memory about this theatre? I was never there, but didn’t this theatre have a reserved seat engagement of “My Fair Lady” back in 1965? I vaguely remember “MFL” playing here during the time that “Sound of Music” was playing in 70mm reserved seats at the Eric in East Park Center? I know “SOM” played for almost a year, but I do not think “MFL” played that long at the Uptown. I just remember at the time being impressed that two theatres were playing reserved seat engagements and I thought Harrisburg had it “the big time.” I was still traveling to Philadelphia to see the reserved seat showings!

JohnMessick on January 6, 2007 at 11:12 am

Dennis…My Fair Lady played at the Uptown for 12 weeks back. Dennis I remember the Eric as well. I see Doctor Doolittle there. Within the last year it has been demolished. It closed sometime in the mid 90’s and was used for storage. Did you see my post on the King in Lancaster?

yaakovbenmoshe on June 21, 2007 at 7:16 pm

I grew up with the Uptown Theater. Between 1950 and 1960, spring I attended every showing on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Iloved the serials. I bought M&Ms dfor anickel for each performance and opened them only when the movie began. I lived on 5th and seneca streets and walked each time and stayed with the repeats until 5 each time. they were the happiest days of my life. On special showing like the movies The Day the Earth Stood Still My mother let me go in the evning on a school night. On Sundays I walked home and paused at the medical building at 4th and Seneca. I stopped going when I had to attend senior high at William Penn, and I had too much homework. I oved that theater still today. Gerald Rubin, the

Ross Care
Ross Care on February 6, 2010 at 1:18 am

I remember when the Uptown opened it was an impressive state-of-the-art theater for Harrisburg. There was an “isolation booth” for crying babies at the back of the theater.
In the ‘50s I also seem to remember them showing foreign and off-beat films.
There were other uptown theaters in Harrisburg that I recall. The Broad (near the Broad St. market and shopping district and not quite reputable), the Rialto, and the National. None of these are mentioned here in Cinema Treasures.

Ross Care
Ross Care on February 16, 2010 at 11:23 pm

I mentioned foreign films at the Uptown and found a Feb. 12, 1956 Uptown newspaper ad for
Jacques Tati’s Hilarious Comedy – “Mr.Hulot’s Holiday,”
“First Harrisburg Showing,” Adults 70c, Students 54c,
Today From 2.00 PM. “Explodes with Merriment” – New York Times
UPTOWN Fourth and Schuykill – Free Parking

melmancy on March 6, 2010 at 4:25 pm

The Uptown was owned/operated by the Rubinsky family. My cousin Jeff and I used to go to the Saturday kids' matinees all the time in the 1950’s. We watched Buster Crabbe serials, Westerns, and cartoons (Casper the Friendly Ghost, Tom and Jerry, etc.). Today Jeff is a TV director/producer in Hollywood. Some favorite snacks were popcorn (of course) in a cardboard box, Jujubees, Rolo bars, Good & Plenty, Goobers.
Downtown theatres included the Senate (right on Market St. Square) and the State Theatre on Market, if memory serves correctly.
Cynthia Melman

Ross Care
Ross Care on May 7, 2010 at 9:35 am

Don’t forget pretzel sticks in a little cellophane-covered box and chocolate covered raisins.
The lady at the Penway refreshment stand once said I was going to turn into a chocolate-covered raisin!
I really liked the Uptown.

TLSLOEWS on May 7, 2010 at 10:32 am

Any photos out there?

Ross Care
Ross Care on November 20, 2010 at 8:21 pm

No photo – I wish – but an ad for one of the Uptown’s foreign film screenings:
View link

Ross Care
Ross Care on November 20, 2010 at 8:31 pm

I add to this album of vintage theaters & movie memorabilia from time to time:
View link

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