Budco Hatboro

43 N. York Road,
Hatboro, PA 19040

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A great, small town movie house that played first-run movies until the early 1980’s, then became a second-run $1.50 house. Battled with the borough over metered parking and conversion to twin during its last few years until being demolished and replaced with a Wendy’s restaurant. Ironically, shortly after the theater was demolished, the meters in town were removed as a courtesy to shoppers on York Road to keep them from going to the Willow Grove Park Mall.

I remember seeing “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” for the first time in the mid-1970’s, “Tron”, and a double-bill of “Sleeping Beauty” and “The Black Hole” (I kid you not).

Contributed by Todd Erwin

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

TommyMaguire
TommyMaguire on January 26, 2006 at 1:09 pm

Saw many films at the Budco Hatboro in the mid 1970s. Some of the ones I remember were quite bizarre. I saw first run documentarys like “Beyond & Back” and “In Search of Noah’s Ark” as well as the very odd “Doberman Gang” starring a very elderly Fred Astaire. Fantastic theatre. If it could have survived another year or so, it would still be around today. Still cringe whenever I see the Wendy’s Restaurant that replaced it. Such wonderful memories. At least we still have The Baederwood and the Highway theatres down in Abington and Jenkintown.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 26, 2006 at 2:44 pm

Here is an article about the demolition dated 8/10/84:

Wreckers raze Hatboro Theater

Demolition workers on Thursday began to level the Hatboro Theater to make way for a new Wendy’s fast food restaurant. The theater died for lack of parking, said Claude J. Schlanger, president of Budco Theaters. The theater, at 43 N. York Road, Hatboro, provided silver screen entertainment for 40 years in the borough. The last film, “Terms of Endearment,” was shown on July 22.

The 500-seat theater could have been divided to provide twin screens, but there was not enough parking to make it worth “twinning,” said Schlanger. The theater parking lot has 100 spaces, but, ideally, it should have 400, he said. “We probably could have gotten away with 200 parking spaces there,” said Schlanger. He said some of the existing parking spaces were taken up by nontheater patrons unable to find parking elsewhere in the borough. “Hatboro is a terrible place to park,” Schlanger said.

The “multiplexes,” theaters with up to 10 screens, are replacing the single-screen theaters in shopping centers where parking is abundant, said Schlanger. “The more screens, the better the
business,” he said. “With only a single screen, It’s difficult to book pictures,” Schlanger said. The Hatboro Theater did not have a stage or the significant historical qualities that might
have attracted efforts to save it, said W. Charles Schrader, who played a central role in the effort to preserve the Keswick Theater In Glenslde from demolition. The Keswick Theater opened 55
years ago with a vaudeville stage and a movie screen. It continued as a commercial movie theater until 1980. The Glenside Landmarks Society, which now owns and operates the Keswick, obtained the theater in 1982. The stage is now used for plays, shows and concerts, attracting regionally and nationally-known artists. The building now is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“It’s doing well on live performances,” said Schrader, “but we would consider offering classic movies.” He said the landmarks society is looking into acquiring the 35-millimeter projectors that were used in the Hatboro Theater.

JohnMessick
JohnMessick on December 26, 2006 at 3:09 pm

Any pictures of the Budco Hatboro?

VincentPrice
VincentPrice on February 27, 2007 at 11:40 pm

If anyone is curious, the Wendy’s suddenly closed up at the end of 2006.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on February 28, 2007 at 12:24 am

Wendy’s took a hit nationwide after the finger in the chili scandal last year.

raymondgordonsears
raymondgordonsears on June 24, 2009 at 11:49 am

Wendy’s is still closed and boarded up. No buyers. The keswick does not have any projectors or screen. Live shows only. rg

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on February 23, 2011 at 4:25 pm

When did the Hatboro changed the front of the theatre from the 1938 photo, to the 1983 photo? The theatre had a great looking marquee in 1938.

ronnie21
ronnie21 on February 7, 2012 at 9:07 pm

as you can see in the photo section, BLOOD BEACH played here in early 1981

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