Folly Theater

654 W. 26th Street,
Erie, PA 16508

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Folly Theater

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This small neighborhood theater is located on West 26th Street in Erie, Pennsylvania and opened in May 1915, operating thru to the 1950’s.

“It is now used as an antique store but as of my last visit there in 1995 the present owners had retained the screen and original flooring. Most of the seats were removed. I suggested that perhaps old movies or newsreels could be shown while people shopped for antiques. Perhaps the owner has done this in subsequent years.”

Contributed by David Stear

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

Patsy
Patsy on December 18, 2004 at 5:16 pm

Keep the info comin' as I’m interested. Thanks.

Patsy
Patsy on December 18, 2004 at 6:34 pm

Lost Memory: Thanks for the location on W. 26th Street! The opening remarks about this theatre by David Stear having been there in 1995 were “the present owners had retained the screen and original flooring. Most of the seats were removed”. Does this mean that the floor would be on a slant and not made level and that some of the theatre seats still remain? This will definitely be on my must-see list in ‘05! And I will see if David’s suggestion to show old movies and newsreels while customers shopped for antiques was done?

Patsy
Patsy on December 31, 2004 at 9:59 am

“The Folly Theater, my dad and his movie collectors, actually ran a movie there last year. Only the screen remains inside.” This quote taken from the Grand Theatre/Westfield NY site.

Patsy
Patsy on May 6, 2005 at 12:28 pm

Jeff: I plan to visit the former Folly Theatre in Erie tomorrow. If you can provide additional information, that would be great!

Patsy
Patsy on May 6, 2005 at 12:34 pm

I just tried calling the number given on this link and it has been disconnected!

dikhead
dikhead on July 29, 2007 at 4:50 pm

folley theatre(c.1905)is now an indoor flea market,in dire need of preservation,tin(original)roof rotting as is plaster(painted,original?)sconce’s,&other designs…some peieces missing.stage&screen area there.doubt if it will ever be sold.current phone#814 456 6161.has anbody heard of the ALPHA THEATRE in erie,pa.?
P.S.doubt if it ever sold in time for renovation/preservation.i knew previous owners(baldinis/folleys antique mall)he sold some of the original designs&wall paintings,NO MOVIES EVER SHOWN since the 50’s as mr.leibel

vickaronomie
vickaronomie on June 28, 2009 at 11:48 am

It breaks my heart every time I visit Folleys Antique Mall (aka, the Junk Store…) It still has the slanted floor, screen, and remnants of a curtain, but everything is rotted and water-damaged to hell! There were no remaining theater seats last I went (which was in 2007,) and for the hell of it, I plan to go in the near future to take indoor photos for all to see. Behind all the peeling paint and mold, there is a beautiful theater and I only wish I had the means to buy it off of the current owners, clean it out, restore it and once again show movies there. God knows this neighborhood needs something like this theater…

dstear
dstear on October 13, 2009 at 10:29 pm

I agree with Vickaronomie—if I had the money Bill Gates has one of my “pastimes” would be to fix up old theaters like this and have them show whatever I wanted especially when I would breeze into town; it wouldn’t matter if it made a profit since it would be endowed to stay open for my pleasure! Aside from that bit of fantasy though, I’m wondering if someone in Erie or maybe even a city/state government partnership with private funding could restore the remaining theaters in Erie and show mainly stuff like Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons and Pathe News newsreels. I have no clue where as complete a selection of old newsreels and cartoons could be found but I think a venture like this could be good for tourism if nothing else and we all know a place as dreary as Erie needs something fun and original like this.

Charlie_Brown1
Charlie_Brown1 on August 7, 2013 at 7:57 pm

This theater reopened for a short time in the early 1960’s. I saw Lou Costello’s last movie there, “The Forty Foot Bride of Candy Rock without Bud Abbott. That was the first and only time I was there and I wish I could go again.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 25, 2014 at 6:40 pm

The Folly Theatre is on a 1918 list of Erie’s theaters that can be found on this page at Old Time Erie, though the address is given as 648 W. 26th Street. The May 22, 1915, issue of The Music Trade Reviewnoted that the Folly Theatre in Erie had just opened. It, too, gives the old address of 648 26th Street.

This web page has a biographical sketch of B. G. Neyland, published in 1925. It says that he founded the Folly Theatre at 654 W. 26th Street in 1915, so the address was changed sometime between 1915 and 1925.

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