6902 Elmwood Avenue,
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Built on Elmwood Avenue at 69th Street, the Lindy Theatre opened March 12, 1928, with “The Jazz Singer” starring Al Jolson. Ticket prices were ten to fifteen cents in the afternoon and fifteen to twenty-five cents for evenings. The theatre was named after Charles Lindbergh, the American pilot who in 1927 became famous for the first solo, nonstop flight across the Atlantic from near New York City to Paris. The theatre was designed by architect William H. Lee and seated 1,430.
The Lindy’s entrance foyer was in Chinese green and gold, and had yellow and black tile fountains topped by Chinese-tile peaked roofs. Mandarin staircases led upstairs to the mezzanine lounge.
Philadelphia’s first semi-atmospheric auditorium was designed along the lines of a family temple in Kuangtung, China, especially with colors of black, gold and red. The decoration gave the impression of being outdoors. The walls were Chinese stone with panels in gold leaf depicting oriental flowers. Exit doors were replicas of the ancient gateways of Wanheim. The piers were surmounted by Chinese lanterns of cut stone set with panels of mica. Chinese lanterns at both ends of the auditorium had pierced iron and brass frames. Bronze deities lined the walls. The ceiling had the appearance of the midnight sky and had depictions of snowflakes, birds and butterflies. Painted ceiling beams were also of eastern style. Ceiling murals were of fire eating dragons, in gold and silver leaf.
Curtains on the 48 foot wide stage opened to reveal a proscenium drop painted to represent a wealthy Chinese home with decorated doors opening and closing before the screen. Organ chambers resembling Chinese pagoda temples flanked the proscenium and were in bronze-gold colors. A United States theatre pipe organ was in the orchestra pit.
After opening with “The Jazz Singer” the Lindy showed subsequent run movies, with films changing twice weekly. The Lindy Theatre closed in 1955 and was converted into a supermarket. Today the building is a thrift store.
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