Goldman Theatre

30 S. 15th Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19102

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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 88 comments)

Mikeoaklandpark on September 1, 2016 at 5:52 pm

Yes Planet Of The Apes played there in the late 60’s. I think it was before Funny Girl.

Coate on September 16, 2016 at 1:10 am

hdtv267… “Planet of the Apes” opened at the Goldman on April 24th, 1968.

Mikeoaklandpark on September 18, 2016 at 9:37 am

So Planet Of the Apes was before Funny Girl which opened in Oct 1968.

Coate on September 20, 2016 at 10:11 am

hdtv267…. Advertisements in the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper.

Coate on September 23, 2016 at 8:30 am

hdtv267…. Take it up with veyoung52, the Philly area resident who looked up the info on my behalf.

veyoung52 on September 23, 2016 at 4:20 pm

To whom it may concern, Planet of the Apes opened at the Goldman on April 24, 1968, and not one day earlier! Advertisements in both the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Evening Bulletin indicate clearly state that Apes opened as the incoming feature of an “All Day Prevue” (a Philadelphia exhibition protocol in which the incoming feature is paired with the outgoing film to produce a double-feature billing for one day) with “The Secret War of Harry Frigg” as the outgoing film. The Variety magazine issue of May 1, 1968, in the “film grosses” section also states without reservation that the first week of “Apes” at the Goldman ended and was tracked by Variety on April 30. It grossed $47,000, btw. I’ve posted photos.

Coate on October 2, 2016 at 1:59 pm

Hopefully this “Planet of the Apes”/Goldman opening date incident will serve as a lesson for those naive or irresponsible enough to rely on the IMDb for such information.

walterk on October 4, 2016 at 1:39 pm

Coate, the information IMDb supplied was right. The person posting failed to note that April 3 was the United States release date for “Planet”, which was clearly stated by IMDb, and not necessarily the date it began its run at any particular location. Without further research to confirm, it was a stretch to assume it opened at the Goldman on that date and post that misinformation. I’m surprised that person has not acknowledged their mistake and apologized, as they expect others to do.

Coate on October 5, 2016 at 2:42 pm

walterk…. The IMDb info on “Planet of the Apes” is NOT correct (or, at the very least, lacks context). The fact is “Apes” opened in at least two U.S. markets in the February/March ‘68 period. And while my research shows the film did open in at least a few markets during the week of April 3rd, most “keys” opened it after April 3rd. And, of course, the second- and third-tier markets opened it even later than that. And yes it would be nice if the person in question would chime back in and acknowledge the mistake, especially since they were dismissive of my correction claim.

SethLewis on July 24, 2017 at 11:49 am

I’ve been going through old copies of the Inquirer on the last few days…I lived in Philly in the late 70s – shocking reminders of how oddly programmed Center City theatres were in those days – kung fu, hard core porn and horror double features that were rougher than NY’s 42nd street and this in the mainstream Budco and Eric houses before they were acquired by AMC and UA respectively. The only ones that seemed not to show porn were the Milgram theatres but they made up for it with blaxpo and kung fu. I’m not being judgemental – I appreciate this went with the times just seems so odd in retrospect especially when there were good studio films and foreign films being made

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