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 13 comments)

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

Jim Lohman
Jim Lohman on July 25, 2016 at 9:51 am

I lived at 2147 N. 4th St. until I left for the Army in February, 1960. The only movie I remember watching at the Uptown was Auntie Mame (sp), and I saw it three times one day in the company of a pretty blonde. I loved that area of uptown back then, but I digress.

Jim Lohman
Jim Lohman on July 25, 2016 at 9:59 am

I forgot to mention that my dad and grandfather used to take me to the “Broad,” which was a real rathole, even back then. People would run up on the stage while the movie was in progress and the audience would make rude comments during the shows. I used to go to the matinees where I won silver dollars, but I can’t remember what I did to win them.

Ross Care
Ross Care on July 25, 2016 at 10:23 am

I remember the Broad but I never saw anything there. I think it was generally considered pretty sleazy. It was sort of across the street from the market as I recall. Later turned into some kind of store (furneture?)

My parents used to go to the market and the shopping district. I forget the street names. There was a five-and-ten and a store called Bill’s. There was another movie theater down the street, the Rialto? Never went there either.

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