Arcadia Theatre

1529 Chestnut Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19102

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Showing 1 - 25 of 27 comments

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on August 14, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Described in this 1915 trade article: archive

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on July 4, 2010 at 11:51 am

Interesting photos.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on February 24, 2010 at 3:53 am

Actually the last film to play before renovations was Doctor You’ve Got To Be Kiddiung. They reopened wityh a film in 70mm I think called The General. Two For the Road came after that. That was 43 years ago so my memory could be foggy

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on February 23, 2010 at 9:59 am

Vince Young informs me that on 7/4/67 Arcadia reopens after renovation…advertising “gigantic new screen”…opening attraction “Two For The Road”

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 20, 2010 at 11:07 pm

Here is a July 1967 photo from Temple U:
http://tinyurl.com/yzos5pp

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on June 21, 2009 at 3:50 pm

This is an October 1943 photo. The marquee has evolved from the 1930s version.
http://tinyurl.com/l5n2pe

veyoung52
veyoung52 on July 28, 2008 at 2:00 pm

“Arcadia Theatre in Philadelphia was the first movie house in the USA to install an organ”. Quite possible. It was, however, the first movie house in Philadelphia to install Dolby optical stereo..also Dolby’s short-lived “Quintaphonic” sound system for “Tommy” 1975..(I posted this in January 2005 here)…A fairly full view of the marquee, but not the large billboard above the marquee is in the “special features” section of the “Psycho” DVD. The Arcadia was hand-picked by Paramount Pictures to be one of the world premiering houses of “Psycho” in 1960, along with theatres in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston.

finkysteet
finkysteet on July 14, 2008 at 1:12 am

We didn’t get to this theatre until the late ‘60s after it had been modernized. I recall the drop-ceilings with fluorescent lighting mounted above them, yet the bulbs weren’t visible from the floor (trust me, as a kid I looked for them!) and always thought the decor was really cool. Hated when Roy Rogers took it over, but at least it still kinda resembled a theatre (remember the giant red neon RR sign where the screen was?) And Mandee’s just destroyed the place. ARRRGH!

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 21, 2008 at 7:41 am

An obituary in The New York Times (8/31/1962) of pioneer exhibitor Alexander R. Boyd said that his Arcadia Theatre in Philadelphia was the first movie house in the USA to install an organ. No actual date was given: “Mr. Boyd was said to have walked into a store on Fifth Avenue in New York many years ago to buy an organ. He was asked to which church he wanted the instrument sent. ‘It’s not a church; it’s a theatre,’ Mr. Boyd told the surprised clerk. The organ went to the Arcadia Theatre at Sixteenth and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia, which Mr. Boyd then owned.” Boyd, of course, is best known at Cinema Treasures as namesake of the Boyd Theatre and head of the A.R. Boyd Theatres chain, which he formed in 1930 after leaving Stanley Company of America when it was taken over by Warner Brothers.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 9, 2008 at 6:57 pm

Here is an expanded version of one of TC’s thumbnails from February 2005:
http://tinyurl.com/2ydfpb

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on August 8, 2007 at 9:57 am

The Philadelphia City Archives has produced copies of historic photos for exhibit and for sale this month at the WCAU building at 16th & Chestnut:
View link

Movie theater photos that are on display (and sale) are both theaters on the 1500 block of Chestnut Street, the Arcadia (the photo mentioned above as being from 1935) and the Trans-luxe /theaters/9143/

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on September 12, 2006 at 4:58 pm

I reviewed the file in the theater collection at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia. The Arcadia theater apparently was built with the 2 structures on each side that were identical to each other. The one on the east survives. The one on the west had, at least, its facade removed so the theater facade could be way bigger. There were interior changes, too, including expansion of the theater lobby.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 12, 2006 at 4:20 pm

This 1933 photo is hard to reconcile with the preceding 2006 shot:
http://tinyurl.com/kbzqs

This is a 1935 photo:
http://tinyurl.com/gaem9

This is an undated photo, probably from the 1960s:
http://tinyurl.com/eaq6f

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 2, 2005 at 2:20 pm

I worked at the Arby’s on the northwest corner of 15th and Chestnut in the early 1980’s. I remember the Duke and Duchess, of course, but I can’t place the Arcadia or its marquee on that block. It’s been a long time since I worked in that area. My restaurant used to be Butcher Block, I think. There was a movie theater around the corner on 15th Street between Chestnut and Market. I’m sure that theater is listed in here somewhere.

Moviejoemovies
Moviejoemovies on August 18, 2005 at 6:37 pm

The Arcadia Theatre was actually between 15th and 16th on the North side of Chestnut Street (as was the Trans Lux). The Regency and the Duke and Duchess were between 16th and 17th, also on the north side of Chestnut Street. They were basically right next to each other on the 16th and Chestnut Corner. At night, the 3 Theatres really lit up the street. The Arcadia had a large billboard above the small marquee advertising the current attraction. The Billboard must have been about 2 stories high. I would love to have seen the famous “Psycho” Billboard with Janet Leigh undressed sitting on the bed. Ironically, during the “Psycho” run in the Summer of 60, the Trans-Lux was showing Disney’s “Pollyanna”. A year later a similar poster of Lee Remick, also undressed and posing on a bed, was displayed on the Arcadia Billboard for the run of “Sanctuary”. I did see that one while being driven down Chestnut Street with my father. It was pretty dramatic. My first time in the Arcadia was when my father took me along with him to see “Les Girls” in the fall of 1957. A year later, I went to see the Christmas attraction of “Tom Thumb” during the Holidays. Although I was only 10 and 11, I thoroughly enjoyed “Les Girls” while “Tom Thumb” bored the hell out of me. In the 60s and 70s, I frequented the Theatre regularly and saw many films there. Some classic Films that had their First Run at the Theatre included the Brando “Julius Caesar”, the previously mentioned “Psycho”, “Breakfast at Tiffanys”, “Darling”, “Tales of Hoffmann”, “Rear Window”, “The Bad and the Beautiful”, “Blackboard Jungle”, “High Society”, “Imitation of Life” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”, “Rosemary’s Baby”, “Harold and Maude”, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Tommy”.

Moviejoemovies
Moviejoemovies on August 18, 2005 at 6:36 pm

The Arcadia Theatre was actually between 15th and 16th on the North side of Chestnut Street (as was the Trans Lux). The Regency and the Duke and Duchess were between 16th and 17th, also on the north side of Chestnut Street. They were basically right next to each other on the 16th and Chestnut Corner. At night, the 3 Theatres really lit up the street. The Arcadia had a large billboard above the small marquee advertising the current attraction. The Billboard must have been about 2 stories high. I would love to have seen the famous “Psycho” Billboard with Janet Leigh undressed sitting on the bed. Ironically, during the “Psycho” run in the Summer of 60, the Trans-Lux was showing Disney’s “Pollyanna”. A year later a similar poster of Lee Remick, also undressed and posing on a bed, was displayed on the Arcadia Billboard for the run of “Sanctuary”. I did see that one while being driven down Chestnut Street with my father. It was pretty dramatic. My first time in the Arcadia was when my father took me along with him to see “Les Girls” in the fall of 1957. A year later, I went to see the Christmas attraction of “Tom Thumb” during the Holidays. Although I was only 10 and 11, I thoroughly enjoyed “Les Girls” while “Tom Thumb” bored the hell out of me. In the 60s and 70s, I frequented the Theatre regularly and saw many films there. Some classic Films that had their First Run at the Theatre included the Brando “Julius Caesar”, the previously mentioned “Psycho”, “Breakfast at Tiffanys”, “Darling”, “Tales of Hoffmann”, “Rear Window”, “The Bad and the Beautiful”, “Blackboard Jungle”, “High Society”, “Imitation of Life” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”, “Rosemary’s Baby”, “Harold and Maude”, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Tommy”.

smut666
smut666 on May 16, 2005 at 8:04 am

Hello everybody Still looking for photos of old theaters,arcadia,duke,goldman,sameric,milgram,fox,stage door.
I am a big fan of those theaters and went to all of them but never thought of taking any pics.If anybody has pics of these great theaters please e mail me.

thanks so much

RickB
RickB on March 6, 2005 at 7:59 am

Now open as a Mandee women’s wear store. The marquee structure is still there and is used as the store’s sign; other than that, there isn’t much left to identify this as an ex-theater to the casual passerby.

teecee
teecee on February 25, 2005 at 6:47 am

Photos at this link, courtesy of the Philadelphia Athenaeum:

View link

DON' try to expand without a paid subscription.

veyoung52
veyoung52 on January 21, 2005 at 8:51 pm

Turner Movie Classics from time to time runs a documentary on Hitchcock. In it is a great shot of considerable length of the Arcadia marquee during the “Psycho” run.

veyoung52
veyoung52 on January 21, 2005 at 8:49 pm

Widescreen and stereo note for the Arcadia: it was Philadelphia’s first theatre with optical Dolby stereo, having installed it for “Tommy” in “Quintaphonic Sound.” Also, it featured a process about which Paramount had released minimal information. Unnamed, it tried to replicate the shape and “feeling” of VistaVision by using curved top and bottom screen masking (and probably curved aperture plates) to give the impression, on a flat screen, that the screen was curved. I remember when “Psycho” ran in the Summer and Fall of 1960 that along with the feature was one of those Paramount shorts “VistaVision Visits…..”, and, it was projected with the above-described curved masking/plates and at a 1.85:1 ratio, as opposed to the “normal” flat image of the feature in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio. As I said, Paramount did release some information about it to the trades, and I always called it myself “Baby Vistavision.”

dennisczimmerman
dennisczimmerman on August 8, 2004 at 2:31 pm

Seth – Back when the center city theatres were almost exclusively operated by Stanley Warner, Goldman, and Milgram their usual policy was having “an all day preview day.” On opening day of their next attraction they also showed the film that was showing there until the day before. The theatres used to advertise “all day preview see two pictures for the price of one.” Nowadays you cannot go in a theatre during the film presentation and stay to see what you missed on the next showing! Of course, that was back when the movies were showing in “palaces of 1,000 seats or more” and not the shoeboxes of today.

SethLewis
SethLewis on August 8, 2004 at 12:51 am

I remember the Arcadia from my college years at Penn in the late 70s…What blew my mind was the bizarre mix of bookings these theatres including the Arcadia in particular would get…Major studio releases one week and when they would bomb some porn to fill in…also what seemed unique to Philadelphia is a double feature on opening day usually with some old blaxpo as the bottom of the bill…saw Who’ll Stop the Rain for my Vietnam war film class along with Let’s Do It Again on this kind of bill
This said the Arcadia was a decent place to see a movie