Cheltenham Theatre

2385 Cheltenham Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19150

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rivest266 on October 7, 2016 at 4:19 am

April 5th, 1978 grand opening ad as a twin in photo section.

rivest266 on May 19, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Grand opening ad at or in the photo section.

TheALAN on February 8, 2014 at 9:08 pm

The Cheltenham Theatre, seating 1,500, opened with a single-screen in 1961 with Walt Disney’s “The Parent Trap” starring Hayley Mills, Maureen O'Hara and Brian Keith. The mammoth pearl-coated movie screen, at 60' x 25', was one of the largest in the world. The projection room was equipped for standard 35mm motion pictures, wide-screen or CinemaScope, and 70mm films. It was also equipped with six-channel stereophonic sound. The Cheltenham Theatre wouldn’t be twinned until its acquisition by Budco Theatres in 1984. AMC Cinemas (now AMC Theatres) acquired Budco and the Cheltenham Theatre on December 31, 1986 and closed it almost immediately. It has since been demolished.

Source: Box Office Magazine — February 12, 1962 — Pages 42-43.

Note: Since the article that this information was extracted from appeared on February 12, 1962, it would not have been possible for the “Grand Opening” of this theater to have occurred on December 31, 1962!

dennisczimmerman on June 12, 2013 at 6:11 pm

“The Sand Pebbles” was another film presented at the Cheltenham on a road show basis. I have ticket stubs from Friday, March 10, 1967 for the 8pm performance. The admission was $2.75 and our seats were located in the center section of Row Y, seats 101-102-103-104. I remember being impressed with this theatre even though it was a newer one. It was quite large with one floor seating if I remember correctly. Sorry to think it, along with so many other theatres, ended up being a pile of rubble.

Historfish on June 11, 2013 at 11:36 pm

At that time Edith was a chain smoker in her mid 50’s, and the 75 year old doorman was deaf. I miss them both.

Historfish on June 11, 2013 at 11:27 pm

I was an usher at the Cheltenham Movie theater between 1973-75 when it was owned by RKO. It was a single screen. The Manager was Mr.Warshawer and Edith…Fun times.

ronnie21 on December 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm

This theater in the early 80’s got mostly horror movies…

Cartooniverse on September 2, 2012 at 1:10 pm

I too was lucky enough to experience the 2001 screening during its initial run there. Too young to remember if it was a Cinerama screen installation or flat 70mm. Thank you for the clarification !!

RickG on December 2, 2010 at 2:36 pm

The opening date for this theater remains in question. I have found dates that range from 1954 to 1964. I watched ‘40 Pounds of Trouble’ at the theater on December 31, 1962. It was the opening day of this movie and was advertised as the Grand Opening of the theater. I entered the auditorium via the far left aisle and took an aisle seat about half way down. I remember the left arm rest being loose. The film was not a smash hit and possible helped to lead the film studios not to release films the week after Christmas. (Yes, December 31st. I was 16 and had no life.)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 28, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Boxoffice article on this theatre with lots of pictures. Issue of February 12, 1962:
View link

ronnie21 on May 21, 2010 at 8:43 pm

ya know 1987 was a year that closed alot of theaters in PA.. quess cause of all the AMCS that were taking over.

teegee on September 24, 2009 at 4:29 pm

The Cheltenham Theater was a great place to see movies before it was twinned. The projection and sound were excellent, and I remember it having one of the largest screens in Philadelphia. After 2001 A Space Odyssey ended its Cinerama engagement at the Randolph I believe it moved to a 70mm six track sound showing at the Cheltenham because it was the best sound and screen in the city.

ediemer on June 21, 2009 at 7:56 pm

Yes, the theater was equipped with Norelco 35/70mm projectors. The projectionist took such good care of them, they looked brand-new right to the end. But the Norelco is a exceptionally heavy projector, so they never removed them but bulldozed them with eveything else when the theater was torn down.

kencmcintyre on February 5, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Looking at some old Inquirer articles, the closing was in December 1987. In March 1988, the Inquirer reported that the Cheltenham Twin and a PSFS bank had been demolished to make way for a new seven-screen theater.

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on January 17, 2006 at 2:21 pm

This past Friday, the former REG (United Artists) Cheltenham Square 8 Theatre reopened as the Movies At Cheltenham Square 8 Theatre. What I want to know is: when did REG decide to close this theatre?

veyoung52 on November 25, 2004 at 8:58 am

The original Cheltenham was one of a series of theatres that Stanley Warner opened that were to be capable of 70mm Cinerama projection. This was not done here. There was one interesting booking in the 60’s. Paramount booked a reserved-seat roadshow engagement of “Becket” there with a 70mm print, the 1st time I know of that a film played roadshow that far away from the center-city area. At the conclusion of that run, the 70mm print was moved to the Boyd downtown presenting the same size image as the “Cinerama 70” presentations without saying as much. The Cheltenham also distinguised itself by having its multitude of surround speakers not on the side walls but in the ceiling. Many interesting “fly-over” effects during the 4-track run of “Longest Day”.

Mikeoaklandpark on May 2, 2004 at 11:55 am

Even though I never went to this theater, I grew up in the burbs of Phila and was a big movie buff even as a kid. The one thing I do remember is they had the exclusive reserved seat engagement in the 60’s of the Steve McQueen movie, The Sand Pebbles. It was interesting that it didn’t play center city. I also remember the Lane theater in Cherry Lane. They showed mostly art fims.Itlater became a porno theater. The last I was up that way which was in the 80, it was a Datsun car dealer

PhiladelMike on May 2, 2004 at 3:04 am

The Cheltenham Theatre opened about 1961. It was
really a classy place. They did an excellent job
of presenting films. They almost certainly had
70mm capability (I don’t know for sure as I was
a pre-teen at the time and didn’t follow technical

The theatre was part of the Cheltenham Shopping
Center but it was more-or-less stand-alone (not
part of the main mall).

I enjoyed “Spartacus”, “The Great Escape”, a re-
released “South Pacific” and “Mary Poppins” there.

Come to think of it, the Cheltenham must have been
stiff competition for Glenside’s Keswick Theatre,
only about 3 miles away and also operated at the
time by Stanley-Warner.

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on December 13, 2003 at 9:50 pm

The official address of The RKO Stanley Warner Cheltenham Theatre was The Cheltenham Shopping Center. The current Cheltenham Square Mall was the former Cheltenham Shopping Center. Budco Theatres acquired The Cheltenham Twin Theatres in 1984.