Merben Theater

7145 Frankford Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19135

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Merben Theater

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The Merben Theater was opened on August 16, 1950 with seating for 2,000, all on a single floor. It was designed by architects Armand Carroll & William J. Stephenson.

There was a 14-seat television room beneath the foyer. The auditorium, which ran parallel to Frankford Avenue behind seven shop units, was plain in decoration, the only decorative elements being the contour and draw curtains at the screen end.

The Merben Theater was closed in 1977, and was later torn down. The space is now a car parking lot, although the adjoining seven shops which were built with the theatre remain, now as a single unit known as Einstein Plaza Mayfair.

Contributed by Richard J. Petsche

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

raymondgordonsears
raymondgordonsears on October 24, 2005 at 11:44 am

hdtv267, Is the storage building at 7149 the old skate rink? It looks like it was a movie theater at one time. rg

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on December 4, 2005 at 6:16 am

Either way, this theatre was ,as I recall, that Sam Shapiro owned seperately from his Sameric Theatres chain.

The 2 Sam Shapiro theatre building owned propteries, the Midway Theatre and the Uptown Theatre, were leased to Pacific Theatres' RKO Stanley Warner Theatres division, until they closed, in the Midway’s case, 1977-79.

jackferry
jackferry on December 21, 2005 at 1:41 pm

Nearly the entire Merben building was taken down for use as a parking lot. The storefronts along Frankford Avenue that were in front of the Merben were kept. The Merben was at 7145 Frankford Ave. The Mr. Storage place at 7049 used to be the Concord Roller Rink. I understand the Concord was originally planned to be a theater, but was actually built specifically for use as a roller rink. (I spent many Saturdays in the 70s at the Concord and the Merben.)

For what its worth, 7049 Frankford was sold in September 2005 for $1.2 million.

hondo59
hondo59 on March 30, 2006 at 6:31 am

I agree with Jack. The Merben was completely razed and a parking lot occupies what was auditorium area. The walkway between the existing buildings was the entrance/boxoffice area.
I didn’t know that the Concord Roller Rink was NOT a theater. It looks as though it was converted into a roller rink.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on March 30, 2006 at 6:57 am

Magaziner was the architect. Shapiro was the client. The Boyd theater later knew Shapiro as he who bought it in 1971 for the Sameric Corporation. Irv Glazer’s hardback book on Philadelphia theaters makes clear that Shapiro was the client.

hondo59
hondo59 on March 30, 2006 at 7:15 am

I read in the MIDWAY Theater entry that MERBEN name came from the first three letters of his sons' names.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on March 30, 2006 at 7:23 am

Sam’s son Merton ran the Sameric Corporation after Sam died. A grandson, Eric died young & was memoralized by the naming of so many of the theaters as Eric. I don’t about others.

HowardB
HowardB on January 31, 2010 at 6:09 pm

I saw “Oliver” at the Merben when I was a kid visiting my cousins in NE Philly. I recall it being a decent sized theater in relativly good shape at the time. I do remember it being on the narrow side which limited the size of the screen, especially for ‘scope presentations.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on August 21, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Funny,I saw “OLIVER” with my Cousin when visited me in Georgia from Ohio.

rivest266
rivest266 on May 24, 2014 at 11:58 pm

Grand opening ad at http://fultonhistory.com/Newspapers%2023/Philadelphia%20PA%20Inquirer/Philadelphia%20PA%20Inquirer%201950/Philadelphia%20PA%20Inquirer%201950%20a%20-%202420.pdf

also in the photo section

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