Loew's Regent Theatre

410 Market Street,
Harrisburg, PA 17101

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Loew's Regent Theatre

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Loew’s Regent Theatre opened in 1920, and was the Harrisburg chapter of the national Loew’s chain of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer ‘flagship’ theaters. Considering the grandiose reputation of the MGM product the Regent Theatre was an attractive and well-kept but relatively modest establishment.

There was a large, three-sided rectangular marquee with the dual name of the theater spelled out in large letters above the front panel and simply ‘Loew’s’ above the two side panels. Space for attractions information was provided on all three (side and front) panels.

Perhaps the grandest aspect of the Regent Theatre was the large vertical sign that towered above the unprepossessing building that housed the theater and which again spelled out ‘Loews’ in gigantic letters. (The theater itself was part of a somewhat dingy row of old buildings that included a corner bar, a novelty shop, and an art/photography shop).

On approaching the theater itself there was a stand-alone ticket booth that was set in a square exterior space which was bordered with display windows for posters of current and coming attractions and which led to the entrance doors.

The interior was more in keeping with the MGM penchant for glamour with a small but elegant lobby that was flanked by two marble staircases (straight out of an MGM musical number) that ascended to the lounges and balcony.

Sometimes billboard-size displays for major MGM productions (such as “Quo Vadis” and “An American in Paris”) could be seen in the lobby. The exterior front of the theater was often embellished with elaborate displays as well.

Neither the actual auditorium nor the screen were especially grandiose and when Loew’s converted to CinemaScope around 1953 the screen seemed more scaled down and compressed than enlarged.

In its prime the Regent Theatre was the exclusive Harrisburg first-run theater for most of MGM’s incredibly prolific output of period epics, musicals, and melodramas, as well the studio’s series of often well-produced B-movie and noir programmers. (I especially remember 1950’s “Mystery Street” with an unforgettable shot of a skeletal hand, that of the murdered Jan Sterling, sticking out of a sand dune!)

But it also showed the occasional oddball independent picture. I saw both Lippert’s unforgettable “Rocketship X-M” as well as “Bwana Devil”, the infamous first 3-D feature, at the Regent Theatre.

A victim of the 1950’s trust busting that forever altered the production/distribution system of studio era Hollywood, Loew’s Regent was razed in 1961.

Contributed by Ross Care

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

Ross Care
Ross Care on February 19, 2010 at 1:59 am

PS: I just altered the size of the first photo to include a Loew’s MGM newspaper ad.

Ross Care
Ross Care on February 21, 2010 at 4:28 pm

tisloews, you are probably aware there was a Loew’s State in the old downtown section of Los Angeles. I think this was the main MGM flagship theater in LA during the studio era. It’s still there with the old marquee intact but is now a church, (at least it was the last time I saw it).

There has been some attempt to restore the many vintage LA Broadway theaters still standing but the economy has slowed down that process.

An Orpheum Theatre there, one of many across the country I’m sure, was restored and I recently saw “North by Northwest” there, introduced by Eva Marie Saint and Pat Hitchcock.

TLSLOEWS on February 21, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Yes Penway14 there are many cool shots of the L.A. LOEWS STATE on their C.T. site.

Ross Care
Ross Care on February 22, 2010 at 6:29 am

Forgot to mention I first saw “North by Northwest” at Loew’s Regent.

I wish they would restore Loew’s State as a film theater. Apparently it has a long history of association with MGM and I’m a huge MGM buff.
I will definitely check out the CT page, thanks.

Ross Care
Ross Care on February 22, 2010 at 6:54 am

A great page! Also big.
I’ve only had time tonight to skim over it. (I just got back from the downtown Disney Hall).
But the ad for “Forbidden Planet” was wonderful. I only wish I could have read all the small print (the “Id” article!) and wish whoever posted it had put a newspaper date along with it.

Ross Care
Ross Care on August 20, 2010 at 7:25 am

Looking down Market St. plus Loew’s Regent ad:
View link

Ross Care
Ross Care on October 4, 2010 at 11:08 pm

WIZARD OF OZ Reissue Loew’s REGENT Ad:

View link

Ross Care
Ross Care on November 23, 2010 at 8:58 am

I add to this album of vintage theater photos & memorabilia from time to time:
View link

Ross Care
Ross Care on January 4, 2011 at 4:56 pm

Anne Francis at the Egyptian Theatre (American Cinematheque), Hollywood,
View link

Ross Care
Ross Care on July 11, 2012 at 1:37 am

This is a great shot. It’s wonderful to see (obscured behind the flags and under the marquee) the film poster material they used to plaster around the entrance and a film (and short subjects!) on the marquee. I remember all that well. My photos were unfortunately taken after Loew’s REGENT closed. Thanks for the link.

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