Kent Theatre

2459 Kensington Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19125

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Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 19, 2014 at 5:34 am

TheALAN & pham: Google Maps are not always accurate, especially when the street address and Zip Code are incorrectly given when the theatre page is first submitted. In this case, the address & Zip Code are correct, but it is a block off. The Google Street View has been set to the correct location.

Pham
Pham on January 18, 2014 at 6:59 pm

Hi “TheALAN” You are right in what you said about where the Kent Theatre was located. That map is incorrect.

TheALAN
TheALAN on January 18, 2014 at 3:55 pm

The theater opened in 1890 at Kensington Avenue and E. Cumberland Street and was originally called the People’s Theatre. The architect was George Plowman & Co. of Philadelphia (1406 Chestnut St.) and the client was Mercantile & Store Company. —Source: PAB

Note: The accompanying map shows the theater on Kensington Avenue between E. Letterly Street and E. Hagert Street. THIS IS INCORRECT! The theater was on Kensington Avenue between E. Cumberland Street and E. Letterly Street.

TheALAN
TheALAN on January 18, 2014 at 12:55 pm

TheaterBluff, this is not the forum for your political nonsense. Give it a rest and stay on-topic! … and no one cares what you meant to say!

Pham
Pham on May 15, 2013 at 11:44 pm

The Kent Theatre is a big part of my childhood. I worked there as an usher in 1959 to 1961. Jack Levy, (Uncle Jack), was the manager at that time. He died shortly after I left to join the Air Force in 1961. I use to enjoy watching him give out the lucky bucks on Saturday. The Kent had to be one of the most beautiful buildings. The design was just great. I often wondered what it was like when it was an Opera House. We had a great crew that worked there when I was there. There was Ronnie K, Ronnie J, Jimmy, and me, Richard F.. It is such a shame that a wonderful land mark such as the Kent Theatre had to be torn down.

PhillyBob
PhillyBob on March 22, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Moviegoer1 – I have the EXACT same set. It was my grandmothers who lived on Somerset St years ago. I was a movie projectionist and in 1985 a friend of mine and I were actually looking to buy the building from a doctor who owned it down in South Philly. It just needed too much work. I worked at the TLA and 22 other theatres in Philly from 1978 to 2003. I used to go to the kent when I was very young… I think “Batman” was one of the last films there!

Moviegoer1
Moviegoer1 on October 5, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Hi i was wondering if someone could help me. My mom has a full 92 piece set of dishes that are from when the kent theater did a giveaway dish night as im seeing it was called. The only thing is we cant find nothing on these dishes. Her grandmother gave them to my grandmother who passed them down to her and she wanted to know if anyone had any info or where i could maybe find something on them ive been searching all over and cant find anything. The like a cream color wit 18k gold trim around them and stamped onto the bottom of each piece says Georgelyn Sunset Canonsburg Pottery Co. Ive searched all over with this info i have and cant seem to find anything someone help me please thank you

Telstar
Telstar on January 13, 2009 at 11:06 pm

Wow! So, something reminded me of the Kent Theater in Philly where I grew up so I Googled it and happened across this terrific site.
I loved reading all the prior posts and especially the photos.
Yes, most Saturday afternoons included the Matinée at the beautiful Kent where, at least when I went, one would enjoy the Coming Attractions, Three Stooges, 20 Cartoons and a movie such as King Kong, Dracula, Frankenstein, The King and I, “etcetera, etcetera, etcetera”. I remember “Mr. Levy” was in charge. I attended the Visitation B.V.M as well and did get up on stage after winning one of those “Lucky Bucks” one Saturday. Great memories, great Theater!

wildside
wildside on December 29, 2008 at 10:51 pm

The Kent Theatre was demolished in 1989, not 1990. I watched the theatre be demolished.

slotr1
slotr1 on April 18, 2008 at 7:47 pm

Great photos,bring back a lot of memories in that building.So does the name george mariner,I remember you from Visitation.Oh man what a long time ago..

RickB
RickB on February 14, 2008 at 5:14 am

Here is a shot of the Kent marquee, long after closing.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 21, 2008 at 5:56 pm

There are 13 images for viewing on the Philadelphia Architects and Buildings site. Don’t try to expand the thumbnails without a subscription:
http://tinyurl.com/2g875d

Here are two expanded views, from the Irvin Glazer collection:
http://tinyurl.com/youqw2
http://tinyurl.com/2euers

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on October 8, 2007 at 8:33 pm

…And I meant to say, “There May As Well Have Been a War,” sorry about that!

TheaterBuff1
TheaterBuff1 on October 8, 2007 at 8:16 pm

Back during the Reagan years when his ill-advised economic policies were rapidly transforming once thriving Kensington into looking like bombed out Beirut overnight, and I do mean that quite literally, I wrote a song about it at the time called “They’re May As Well Have Been a War.” In the song I make reference to a once glorious movie theater all boarded up, its marquee sign shattered amid the rubble and debris of a once happy place. The Kent was that theater.

johnm001
johnm001 on October 8, 2007 at 4:07 pm

I spent more hours of my childhood at The Kent, than anywhere else. The post above that mentions “Uncle Jack” and the “Lucky Buck” brought back wonderful memories. It did have a stadium-seating balcony, which started at the floor. You could walk up from inside the theater, or via a back staircase in the lobby, that took you to the top of the balcony, where you could walk down. A few row up was a large clock, that many kids wanted to sit behind. What a shame that it’s gone.

sarablue626
sarablue626 on June 19, 2007 at 2:56 pm

Hi..does anyone know where I could find a picture of the kent? I was only 1 when it closed but I lived down the street from it & remember my mom telling me how she went there as a child. I’d love to see pics of it & other landmarks from that area. thank you

Coasterbear
Coasterbear on April 30, 2007 at 7:41 pm

I still remember attending the “Kent Theater” as a child. I saw “The Ten Commandments” and “Ben Hur” there.The theater was huge inside and I recall there, instead of having a balcony, had stadium type seating that started at floor level and went up to the ceiling. It was a beautiful theater with a large chandelier hanging from the middle of the ceiling. I drove past the site where it stood last summer only to see a vacant lot. Such a shame for a gem such as this!

hondo59
hondo59 on March 10, 2007 at 4:25 am

It was located on the east side of the Frankford elevated trains not far from Mighty Mick’s Gym and the Tropical Fish store featured in the Rocky movies. The marquee didn’t jut out far because of the “el”. This building was signifacantly wider than it was deep. My understanding is that the loge area was similar to today’s stadium seating rather than a separate balcony.

geormarin
geormarin on January 28, 2005 at 5:13 pm

the theater closed in 1967.the marquee outside had the words: “closed for repairs.please visit the nearby midway theater”.those words (through all kind of weather) stayed on the marquee for nearly 15 years.it was demolished in the early 1990’s and it is now a basketball court.the kent was basically a second run theater meaning someone like me, who was too young to see “the ten commandments” in the 50’s, got a chance to see it at the kent in the mid 60’s.

BrendanStryker
BrendanStryker on January 13, 2005 at 6:45 am

I spent many happy days at The Kent. On Saturdays you got 2 features, plus cartoons. On Sundays, you got 3 features! Saw tons of films, there. It cost 25 cents. Between the features, on Saturdays, the manager, “Uncle Jack”, would get on stage and call ticket stub numbers. If you had one of these “lucky buck” numbers, you went up on stage, and “Uncle Jack” would ask you your name and what school you attended, then he would give you a 1 dollar bill; which was a lot of money back then. It was a happy, wonderful time!

RickB
RickB on November 9, 2004 at 8:26 am

I’m pretty sure that the online sources that mention this theater have the address wrong; it was near Cumberland Street, which should make it something like 2449 instead of 2649. Demolished by the ‘90s at the latest (the Inquirer ran a picture of a neighbor sitting in a seat in the half-razed theater) and closed long before that, probably in the mid- to late '60s.