Family Theatre

600 Main Street,
Forest City, PA 18421

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Site of the vanished Freedman House / Family Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened in the backroom of the Freedman Hotel saloon, Samuel ‘Roxy’ Rothafel’s first movie theater was originally opened in November 1908 for roller skating. He closed the venue a month later and reopened it as the Family Theatre for “roller skating and vaudeville” on Christmas Eve, 1908.

Roxy left the Family Theatre in 1910 and went to work for Benjamin F. Keith before moving on to the Alhambra Theatre in Milwaukee, the Lyric Theatre in Minneapolis, the Regent Theatre in New York City and many of the most important movie palaces in the Broadway area between 1914 and 1934.

The Family Theatre was renovated in 1915 and closed several years later. In 1925, a new Freedman Theatre, operated by Roxy’s in-laws, the Freedmans, opened down the block.

In 1933, when Roxy’s wife Rosa was visiting her family back in Forest City, a fire broke out at the Freedman Hotel and destroyed what remained of the original Family Theatre.

Today, a Zazzera’s Super Market sits in its place.

Contributed by Cinema Treasures

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

bluecat158
bluecat158 on April 19, 2006 at 4:58 pm

As a FC native, I had never known there was a theatre in town. Zazzera’s is ok, but rundown. Shame it used to be a theatre. I’ll check some books of mine for photos, if any are available.

itswagon
itswagon on May 5, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Check out the new book about Roxy, “AMERICAN SHOWMAN SAMUEL “ROXY” ROTHAFEL AND THE BIRTH OF THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY, 1908–1935

Melnick, Ross (2012-05-01). American Showman: Samuel “Roxy” Rothafel and the Birth of the Entertainment Industry, 1908-1935 . Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition. Pub. Columbia University. Available on Kindle.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 6, 2012 at 7:44 am

Here’s an auditorium photo dated 1915: nypl

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