Benner Theatre

6056 Castor Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19149

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1985

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Benner Theatre opened in early-1942 with 700 seats, all on a single floor. The attractive auditorium had highly decorative murals on the side-walls. It closed in November 1985.

Contributed by George Quirk

Recent comments (view all 18 comments)

kidimi
kidimi on March 15, 2006 at 7:33 am

In the summer after fourth grade, in a single week before I went to camp, my mother and I saw eight movies in seven nights at these theaters. I will always remember that fondly. I especially loved seeing the double feature PLANET OF THE APES and FANTASTIC VOYAGE. I think that was at the Merben.

hondo59
hondo59 on March 15, 2006 at 9:17 am

The Merben had 2000 seats on one floor and it had an odd projection booth that seemed to be suspended within the auditorium. Remember? I’ll bet you saw all those films for less than one admission price today…

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 22, 2007 at 4:08 pm

Here is a short article on some local theaters:
http://tinyurl.com/3yx3fq

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on September 4, 2007 at 9:45 am

shown last night on Fox TV Channel 29 news as an office building now, part of story on closure of AMC Orleans 8:
View link

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 14, 2007 at 6:26 pm

The Benner, Tyson, Erlen, Crest and Castor were all run by A.M. Ellis Theaters of Philadelphia in the early eighties. General manager was Martin Ellis. I had a girlfriend in NE Philly at that time and went to most of these. I don’t remember the Erlen, though. We also spent a lot of time at the Orleans 8 and the GCC Northeast.

Stosh
Stosh on May 2, 2009 at 11:51 am

I grew up at the corner of Frontenac and Benner in the 1950’s and each Saturday would be movie day for my pals and myself. Kids' matinees were 25 cents (evening adult admission was 75 cents).

Kids' shows were typically a few cartoons, a serial and a Western, but some Saturdays featured special all-cartoon shows. There were on-stage yo-yo demonstrations and contests sponsored by the two big yo-yo companies, Cheerio and Duncan.

My first real date was with a girl on my
named Sheila. We were both around 10 at the time and our parents let us go to the movies together – at night, yet – and we walked there and back.

Saw lots of great movies there; I especially remember the horror flicks like ‘Attack Of The Crab Monsters’ and great movies like ‘Three Coins In The Fountain’, ‘Seven Brides For Seven Brothers’ and ‘G.I. Joe’ and remember the huge lobby and the handsomely-decorated theater quite well, considering that I left Philly 50 years ago :–))

Great memories!

WilliamWhite
WilliamWhite on December 16, 2013 at 12:20 pm

As a 15-year old I was “fired” by the Benner’s manager, replete with his red sport coat, for failing to open the exit door at a 9 PM intermission. My “pass” was torn asunder! I vowed never to be fired again: I later spent 40 years at The Inquirer and never missed a day! Bill White of nearby Lardner Street.

TheALAN
TheALAN on December 17, 2013 at 9:44 pm

There seems to be a discrepancy on the number of seats that the Benner Theatre had. On the heading, it states 450 seats while under the photo George Quirk states that the theatre opened in early-1942 with 700 seats, all on a single floor. Does anyone know for sure?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 18, 2013 at 11:53 am

Alan: Such discrepancies often arise from the fact that old theaters are likely to be reseated at some point in their history, reducing their original capacity in order to provide more leg room and, sometimes, wider seats. But then, both figures might come from The Film Daily Yearbook, which is not always the most reliable source, but it is often the only source we’ve got. Personally, looking at the size of the auditorium in Google’s satellite view, I’d have guessed that this house opened with more than 700 seats.

WilliamWhite
WilliamWhite on January 16, 2014 at 12:15 pm

I am now painting a watercolor (10"14") of the Benner as of the night little me was “fired”. Living on Lardner, McKinley Sts. it was my favorite theater. When finished, you may have a copy at any copying/postage cost. Bill White .

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