Eric's Place Theatre

1519 Chestnut Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19102

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Eric's Place

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Trans-Lux Theatre opened on December 31, 1934, as a newsreel theatre. Thomas Lamb designed the theatre in an Art Deco style. It had 500 seats, and for the first time in Philadelphia, rear projection from behind the screen.

Newsreels and short subjects declined with the advent of television, so the Trans-Lux Theatre became a first run movie house, stating with “Enchantment” on December 25, 1948. Disney’s “Cinderella” was showcased in 1950. Jose Ferrer, the star of “Moulin Rouge”, appeared in person in 1953 at the preview showing of that movie. Due to the needs of Cinemascope movies, projection was moved to the theatre’s rear in early 1955. Cary Grant and Philadelphia’s own Grace Kelly appeared in person August 2, 1955, for the gala benefit world premiere of “To Catch a Thief”. Movies shown included Peter Seller’s comedy “The Mouse the Roared”(1959) and Stanley Kubrick’s “Lolita”(1962).

The theatre closed from March 8 to March 17, 1965, for refurbishing. The front was remodeled in Italian marble and a new outside box office. New lobby furniture and new light fixtures were installed. Red carpet was added. The walls were covered with white and gold fabric. The ceiling was given a blue and white star effect. The Road Show presentation of “This Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines”(1965) was here.

The Sameric Corp. acquired the theatre and renamed it Eric’s Place Theatre. In 1970, Philadelphia theatre architect William H. Lee, a year before his death, remodeled the theatre. The exterior was given a 1970’s Art Deco Revival look, though simple in comparison to the exquisite original facade. “Star Wars” played here for almost six months in 1977.

Eric’s Place Theatre closed in 1993 and was vacant until 2006, when it reopened as a shoe store.

Contributed by Bryan, Howard B. Haas

Recent comments (view all 27 comments)

spiritof76
spiritof76 on July 5, 2007 at 7:50 pm

It was renamed Eric’s Place for the owner’s grandson, Eric Shapiro. He was a wealthy young kid who liked to party. He died of a drug overdose.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on August 8, 2007 at 12:55 pm

The Philadelphia City Archives has produced copies of historic photos for exhibit and for sale this month at the WCAU building at 16th & Chestnut:
View link

The Trans-luxe and the Arcadia /theaters/3955/
also on same block of Chestnut, are included.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on February 13, 2009 at 12:16 pm

How funny to see the Google view of Chestnut Street as it is today. Starting from the theater going east, I managed an Arby’s on the corner of 15th and Chestnut, circa 1983, that is now a Wendy’s. Before it was Arby’s there was a restaurant in that space called the Busy Butcher. Going around the corner on 15th the Royal Bank building occupies the space of the former Budco Goldman. Tempus fugit.

LeifJonker
LeifJonker on July 4, 2010 at 12:28 pm

I saw a triple feature of RE-ANIMATOR, CAGED HEAT and THE MUTILATOR at Eric’s Place in 1985. Thanks to everyone for posting the links to the photos!

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on July 4, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Nice 1986 Marquee photo.

alps
alps on October 3, 2010 at 3:29 pm

Crazy Bob, I was just trying to figure out, what did the projectionist at the Trans lux, being a black man had to do with anything?

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on January 23, 2012 at 10:57 am

Here’s a link to an exterior photo during the record-breaking run of “The Red Shoes”: blogspot.com

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on July 24, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Vince Young tells me that “Magnficient Men” road show was 35mm here, not 70mm.

dennisczimmerman
dennisczimmerman on July 24, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Howard – MY comment in June 2005 mentions that the first time I patronized this theatre was during the roadshow engagement of “Magnificent Men.” I was disappointed in the screen size as it was the smallest screen I had ever seen in a movie theatre especially for a “roadshow presentation.” The traverse rod curtains actually opened and passed in front of the exit doors on either side of the screen to disappear into the wall coverings. HOwever, as I said the screen, which was located between the two exit doors, had to be one of the tiniest movie theatre screens. I would be interested to know exactly what size it was. Granted the theatre was not that big either, but it was still a disappointment after viewing movies at the Boyd, Stanley, Goldman, Fox, Midtown, etc. I would venture to say that even some of the multiplex screen sizes today are bigger than this one was. – Dennis -Lancaster.

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