Randolph Theatre

1116 Chestnut Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19107

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Showing 1 - 25 of 51 comments

johnm001
johnm001 on June 3, 2014 at 8:03 am

When HELLO, DOLLY! and TORA! TORA! TORA! played, I practically moved-in to The Randloph. I saw both those films, many times there. Loved this theater and its great screen and sound system. Jack’s comments, about so few people in the audience for HELLO, DOLLY!, don’t match-up to my recollection, at all. The 10 times I saw it there, were with very large houses. Also, it was the 5th highest-grossing film of the year. Of course, he worked there, so he would know better. TORA! I recall experiencing the dwindling audiences. I love that film.

rivest266
rivest266 on May 25, 2014 at 5:30 am

Grand opeing ad at

http://fultonhistory.com/Newspapers%2023/Philadelphia%20PA%20Inquirer/Philadelphia%20PA%20Inquirer%201949/Philadelphia%20PA%20Inquirer%201949%20b%20-%206317.pdf

as well as the photo section

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 27, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Here are links to a couple of items about the Randolph Theatre in Boxoffice that were mentioned in previous comments but not linked:

Article about the remodeling from April 1, 1950.

Photo of the lobby from October 7, 1950.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on May 27, 2013 at 11:40 am

Dial M for Murder world premiere in 3D here http://www.3dfilmarchive.com/dial-m-blu-ray-review

BREAKTIME
BREAKTIME on September 23, 2012 at 7:25 pm

To Andyp From BREAKTIME,Thanks for response,after 40 yrs.you also remembered the OJ.IM Sure you still have marks on your neck from wearing the Usher Uniform Rock Hard Cardboard Fake shirts with Black Bow Tie. If I Still remember the Jackets were Burgundy.

andyp
andyp on September 20, 2012 at 9:48 am

Breaktime: I remember those OJ cartons, I sold them also when I worked a the Midtown from 1969 to 1970. Saw the movie “OLIVER!” for ten months.

BREAKTIME
BREAKTIME on August 8, 2012 at 9:38 am

HI;My Name is Joe I WORKED THE Randolph from 1967 until 1970. I Was a usher then so called chief usher. I Remember during the intermission of the show in the middle of the lobby we would sell these small cartons of orange juice, we set up a small table.A FEW Times when the candy stand got busy Mr.Burke asst Mgr .or MR.Cohen told me go help behind the counter,could never forget that Butter Machine

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 9, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Panoramascope screen installed in 1953: boxoffice

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 2, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Multiple sources from the early 20th century indicate that Bruce Price was the lead architect of Keith’s Theatre in Philadelphia, and Albert E. Westover his local associate. The web site of the Art Institute of Chicago displays three photos of Keith’s Theatre, originally published in the journal The Inland Architect and News Record:

Entrance

Crystal Room

Lobby

The March, 1904, issue of The Theatre had an article about Philadelphia’s theaters which included the following description of Keith’s Theatre:

“Another interesting example of distinctions in Philadelphia is furnished in Keith’s New Chestnut Street Theatre, in the next block. B. F. Keith first gave Philadelphians the ‘continuous’ in the Bijou Theatre on Eighth Street. While very popular, the playhouse did not draw many people from Chestnut street, the chief promenade of the city. So Mr. Keith invaded the fashionable shopping district by erecting his new million-dollar playhouse. Besides being one of the largest and safest theatres in the city, Keith’s is a veritable palace after the style of the French Renaissance. Marbles and mural paintings, rich hangings, sculptures and pale lights are somewhat bewildering at first with their elaborate designs. A salon in white and crystal is traversed while passing into the auditorium. The music room and women’s parlors are models of luxury. A series of mural decorations were done by William McL. Dodge, whose paintings in the Congressional Library in Washington attracted so much attention. Opened two years ago last November, Mr. Keith’s new theatre has become one of the fashionable resorts in the city.”

jackjs2swartz
jackjs2swartz on June 7, 2011 at 10:01 am

as we started to close the theatre,nothing was left we pulled ou the seats and sent them to a theatre in chambursburg. the screen,which was made up of 2 inch louvre strips was simply cut down and we sold the scaffolding on which it was installed. the cinemascope lenses ,which were rented, i retuned.with the warning,if you drop these kid,just keep going.

jackjs2swartz
jackjs2swartz on June 7, 2011 at 9:55 am

last show at the randollph theatre was tora,tora,tora. reserved seating with advanced sales. opened to alarge audience. but was not received very well. apparently the older americans, who served during word war two,memories of the event were far different than those portrayed in the film.quote , by one customer “if you think we were that stupid, you’re crazy!” “who made this movie a bunch of commies.!” at any rate within a few weeks the theatre as well as the show died a slow,painful death.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on May 30, 2011 at 11:18 am

Jack, please add your Patton recollection directly on the Goldman Theatre page, including whether there were any of the movie stars, director, etc present or whatever hoopla there was. So few people for “Hello Dolly” implies to me that the Randolph really was too far east on Chestnut, from the other movie theaters. I look forward to your later postings!

jackjs2swartz
jackjs2swartz on May 30, 2011 at 11:07 am

howard,i worked at the randolph for two years from ‘69-closing in '71 the only “hollywood” style 0pening that i can remember was the running of patton at the gold man theatre. by the time I was working there the hay day of hard ticket films were at a close. during hello dolly there were perhaps 5-15 people in the audience,with about 30 in the evening show. I have to leave for work now, but I have more for you on tora,tora,tora.when I’m done this evening.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on May 30, 2011 at 9:03 am

Jack, you were there when it closed? what year did you begin working at the Randolph? were there any movie premieres, perhaps with movie stars, when you were there? What regular movie screenings do you recall? did the theater do well in attendence for the regular screenings? if you worked or saw movies at other Philadelphia theaters, your recollections on those pages would also be welcome. Other Center City theaters run by Goldman would be listed on this site by their last names, Prince Music (prior: Midtown), Goldman, and Regency I & II.

jackjs2swartz
jackjs2swartz on May 30, 2011 at 8:57 am

my name is jack swartz,I was the last assistant mgr of the randolph theatre. norman cohen was our district mgr. and his office was located in the randolph. my office was located just down the hall from the old ice house,which was used for early air conditioning efforts during the keiths era.since the randolph was built inside of the keiths we used to store our supplies up the old marble staircase which led to the balcony of the keiths theatre.any information that I may have I will be glad to furnish. there may be some lapses of memory to to a recent stroke I sustained but I hope I may be able to help out some people.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on August 4, 2010 at 6:09 pm

Never mind I read the header again.Missed it first time.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on August 4, 2010 at 6:08 pm

This theatre is listed as a former Loews does anyone know why?

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on July 23, 2010 at 10:06 pm

I haven’t been copied on comments, so I didn’t realize there was a question. I have googled BoxOffice only with specific dates, but I am not an expert at using that journal. For the record, I never experienced the Randolph. I hope more people will write of their recollections.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 23, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Thanks for all the great pictures.“Ice Station Zerba” looked great and the ad for 2001 was just like the one Nick sent me from an ad he saved from the Tampa newspaper in 1968.

finkysteet
finkysteet on September 27, 2009 at 11:48 pm

Strolled past this exact location a few weeks ago and one would never know the Randolph even existed there. I wish I could have seen this place at least once before it disappeared, but Mom wanted to see films only; I wanted to see films AND the theater.

zzppf
zzppf on May 20, 2009 at 4:30 pm

I’m weighing in late with this, but I’m fairly sure the feature that played immediately after 2001, was Russ Meyer’s Vixen. In fact I remember seeing the film there noting a window to the right of the box office had been broken, and the management exploited the damage with a sign that read
“A film so hot, it blew out our window!”

finkysteet
finkysteet on February 27, 2009 at 10:27 pm

RE: the May 6th Almeda photo. It brought back painful memories of when the Fox and Milgram were being demolished because that was the exact view I had of the theaters via a hole in the fence I peered through surrounding the demolition site.

As for as the Randolph, the economy must have been great during those times! It seems other theaters adopted similar lighting structures but on a smaller scale. Never saw the Randolph, sadly. And I certainly never saw an air duct (or is it a medallion?) poking through in that fashion. Can only remember the large circular backlit medallion on the Nixon’s balcony underside. It glowed orange during a film, then slowly morphed to white during the credit roll/curtain close.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on February 27, 2009 at 7:16 am

I think so, but there’s more I found on the Randolph.

Boxoffice May 6, 1950
enter page 111
American Seating ad with photo of Randolph seating area. There are also photos of Philadelphia’s City Line Center, and the much lamented Coronet in San Francisco.

Boxoffice October 7 1950
enter page 118
on the left page there is photo Randolph lobby with Plexiglas ceiling by Voigt Lighting Company of Philadelphia and on the right page a design by Frank Lloyd Wright

finkysteet
finkysteet on February 26, 2009 at 9:48 pm

I was BLOWN AWAY by the “BoxOffice” article and pix of The Randolph! It truly reminded me of The Goldman, with the big outer neon sign and the auditorium’s wall panels. The architects really paid attention to detail back then, even with a theater this small. Were there acoustical panels in the Goldman as well?