Goldman Theatre

30 S. 15th Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19102

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Goldman

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened in 1946 with the world premiere of “Monsieur Beaucaire” starring Bob Hope. Designed by architect David Supowitz, with William H. Lee associate architect, the 1,300-seat Goldman Theatre was designed in late-Streamline Moderne style which included a large vertical sign which was flush with the facade and continued above the roofline as a tower, with the name “Goldman” in huge letters. Originally the theatre had a rather small semi-circular marquee, which was later replaced by a larger triangular-shaped one. A screening room for the film industry was located upstairs.

The world premiere of the Civil War drama “Tap Roots” was hosted in July 1948, with the film’s stars attending. The stars and Universal officials stayed at the Ritz Carlton, where visitors received ‘campaign buttons’ like those worn at the national political conventions taking place that summer in Philadelphia. These buttons proclaimed ‘I’m a delegate to the premiere of “Tap Roots” at the Goldman Theatre’.

Actor Peter Lawford appeared in person at the theatre on October 26, 1949 at screenings of the film “The Red Danube”. The world premiere of the film noir “Wicked Woman” was hosted at the Goldman Theatre on January 20, 1954 with a personal appearance by actress Beverly Michaels. Kirk Douglas appeared in person at the Goldman Theatre for the March 15, 1955 world premiere of the western “Man Without a Star”.

A huge deeply curved screen was installed to showcase 70mm road shows starting with Walt Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” (1959), and later including “Porgy and Bess” (1959), “Spartacus” (1960) and “El Cid” (1961), “The Longest Day” (1962), “Funny Girl” (1968) and “Patton” (1970).

Local theatre chain Budco acquired the theatre in 1972. The Goldman Theatre ended its life as a single theatre September 3, 1974 with the 10:35 showing of “The Education of Sonny Carlson”, double-billed with a reissue of “Lady Sings the Blues”. The twinned theatre reopened October 2, 1974 with “The Longest Yard”, a first run, and a reissue of “Cabaret” which had previously showcased in the then single auditorium. The two 600 seat auditoriums, each had a 30 feet wide screen. The theatre continued to show movies until 1984 when it was razed and replaced by an office building.

Contributed by Bryan, Howard B Haas

Recent comments (view all 74 comments)

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 8, 2010 at 4:17 pm

A Great theatre and the stories,How about the Dad snoring during “JAWS” folks you can’t make this stuff up.

jackjs2swartz
jackjs2swartz on May 31, 2011 at 6:45 am

after leaving the randolph theatre in 71 as assostant mgr I went to the goldman theatre. because we started showing films lke mondo cane,a young booker named mitch goldman(no relation) started booking a lot of older movies for mini film festivals. for example in late ‘71 we had a garbo festival for 1 week featuring films like ninotchka, these were alsovery profitable because they were very inexpensive to rent. I promised howard some information about premiers,but i guess I get pretty sidetracked these days. i try to get back on track tomorrow.-jack swartz former asst. mgr randolph/goldman theatres.

jackjs2swartz
jackjs2swartz on June 1, 2011 at 3:50 pm

howard-to answert your question about openings with celebrities: the only one that I can recall is the opening of patton with george c. scott in attendace. goldman gave it the full treatment including cleg lights,reminded us of what used to be seen at graumans in hollywood. I was not in attendance but my freind,Alan Kosher was the asst. mgr. of the goldman at that time would have the advantage in information over me.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on June 1, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Thanks, Jack, your comments are very interesting.

SethLewis
SethLewis on June 1, 2011 at 10:58 pm

Downtown Philadelphia in the 60s had to have been a vibrant moviegoing place…By the time I got there in the mid 70s the Goldman was twinned (and atrociously)…the Studio was showing Deep Throat and the Mark 1 – a great screen in the basement of the Holiday Inn on Market Street was on dollar shows

Ross Care
Ross Care on June 2, 2011 at 8:15 pm

It also was a great theater-going city in the same era. I saw many Broadway try-outs there. It was sort of the twilight of the great Broadway musicals but I saw some unusual ones. Greatest coup: seeing Sondheim’s ANYONE CAN WHISTLE! At the Forrest, as I recall. I got Lee Remick’s autograph after the performance. I think the legit theaters may have been among the first to go.

JJC82
JJC82 on September 4, 2012 at 5:49 am

Didn’t see this mentioned in the comments, but while watching De Palma’s Blow Out yesterday, I realized the Goldman is in the film, I believe as The Apollo. The offices for the exploitation film company Travolta’s character works for is located above the theater. You can even catch the edge of One Meridian.

atb
atb on September 4, 2012 at 12:03 pm

RE: Blow Out and the Goldman Theater: Travolta makes a phone call in front of the Goldman Theater; you can see the marquee (and the multi-colored lights) in the background of the widescreen frame. His office is above the Apollo Theater (a long-gone porn theater) on Market East at City Hall.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on December 9, 2012 at 7:02 am

Today, I posted a 1960 slide of the Goldman. Arcade Building is north, as is a trolley. Marquee for the Richard Burton movie reads: The shameless things done in the name of love. The BRAMBLE BUSH.

rivest266
rivest266 on May 24, 2014 at 11:14 am

http://fultonhistory.com/Newspapers%2023/Philadelphia%20PA%20Inquirer/Philadelphia%20PA%20Inquirer%201946/Philadelphia%20PA%20Inquirer%201946%20-%209667.pdf

has the grand opening ad from August 15th, 1946. Ad also in photo section.

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