Eric's Place Theatre

1519 Chestnut Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19102

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teegee on October 16, 2016 at 8:42 pm

I came across this in MOTION PICTURE HERALD March 15, 1941 about news reel theaters in Philly. I was surprised to see it mentioned the Karlton as a second-run house.

Two Phiadelphia News Houses

In Philadelphia, there are two center-city theatres dedicated to the newsreel. The 493-seat Translux, operated by the Translux Movie Corporation, and managed by Harry Jordon, opened in January, 1935. Hourly programs are presented with the admission “always 25 cents” (plus tax), from 10:30 A.M. to 11:30 P.M. daily, 10 A.M. to 12 midnight on Saturday and 2 P.M. to 12 midnight on Sunday.

Four newsreels are edited to form a half-hour review and four shorts complete the program. Newsreels are changed twice weekly and shorts once a week.

The editing of the newsreel follows a regular pattern, first emphasizing foreign news, then local, national defense and sports. Since the advent of the European war, news shots of the conflict have taken prominence. However, according to the management, in recent weeks, not much has been coming through to satisfy the patrons. First pictures of a battle or invasion are advertised by one-sheets in front of the house. Blow-ups are used for regular advertising. When war newsreel pictures are unusual special attention is given, as the pictures of the incendiary bombing of London were sold as “The Burning of London.”

The other Philadelphia newsreel house is the News Theatre, operated by William Goldman Theatres, Inc., independent circuit. Seating 385, the house was first opened in 1937 with a policy similar to that of the Translux, offering shorts and edited newsreels. The following year, the house experimented by featuring a revival instead of the short subject. This proved so successful that it was adopted as a regular policy. As a result, the News offers a two-hour program, changed weekly, of a feature picture revival and a 25-minute giant newsreel, edited from all five newsreels. The house is open from 10 A.M. to 11:30 P.M. weekdays, 10 A.M. to 12 midnight on Saturday and 2 P.M. to 12 on Sunday, charging 15 cents until 6 P.M. and 25 cents (plus tax) in the evening.

War news is the chief newsreel attraction, according to the management, but interest is equally keen when there is some item of special importance. Moreover, during the football season news shots of the principal games are as popular as war happenings.

In January Warner Brothers gave special attention to the newsreel at two of its second run houses in the downtown area, the Karlton and the Palace. A 25-minute digest from the five newsreels is presented and advertising follows the headlines of the day.

rivest266 on October 9, 2016 at 5:05 am

December 31st, 1934 grand opening as Trans-Lux in photo section.

rivest266 on October 7, 2016 at 3:33 pm

This opened on December 20th, 1974 along with the Eric on the Campus, Eric Montgomeryville Twin, and the Leo Twin. Its grand opening ad can be found in the photo section.

Shadowbat on June 27, 2016 at 4:42 pm

The building will become “Hoops” a store by Foot locker. The Eric’s place marquee has been exposed for now:

HowardBHaas on June 10, 2016 at 3:40 pm

Movie theater floor plan:

alps on May 26, 2016 at 8:10 am

If memory serves, two of the producers of the film, a married couple named Bauer, lived outside Philadelphia, this explains why Gary Busey was there.

HowardBHaas on May 26, 2016 at 4:59 am

Robert Ford, an employee, posted this (at Friends of the Boyd Facebook page) – Eric’s Place. 1978. We premiered the Buddy Holly story. Gary Busey was there. I don’t recall if there were other celebrities there. I wasn’t sure who Busey was at the time. One of the guys pointed him out to me as he descended the steps from the upstairs lounge. This was a special preview that night..very cool! I remember thinking, with the clothes and the hairstyle, that he appeared to be someone that could have went to school with. I was stationed inside the theatre (usher) and got to see most of the movie! Loved it!! Went to the record store that next payday and got the soundtrack album which I still have and play occasionally. (it’s still in great condition).

grscott on December 26, 2014 at 8:13 am

I worked at most of the SamEric movies from 1974 – 1986, thru high school, Temple and part time after college. Eric’s Place, D&D, Mark 1 (under the Holiday Inn on Market Street), Rittenhouse 1&2 and the SamEric. From what I was told the Duke was named after John Wayne (friend of Sam Shipiro) and Duchess after the dog. Eric’s Place was named after Mert’s son who committed suicide. There was a big mural at Eric’s Place and the center piece was John Wayne in cowboyoutfit showing a young boy (Eric) his sidearm. I was the asst mgr ar Eric’S Place when Star War’s played there for 6 months and then moved to the Mark I for another 6 months.

dennisczimmerman on July 24, 2012 at 1:02 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.

HowardBHaas on July 24, 2012 at 12:03 pm

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

alps on October 3, 2010 at 12:29 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?

TLSLOEWS on July 4, 2010 at 11:45 am

Nice 1986 Marquee photo.

LeifJonker on July 4, 2010 at 9:28 am

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!

kencmcintyre on February 13, 2009 at 9:16 am

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.

HowardBHaas on August 8, 2007 at 9:55 am

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.

spiritof76 on July 5, 2007 at 4:50 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.

Crazy Bob Madara
Crazy Bob Madara on April 8, 2007 at 8:36 pm

I visited the Trans-Lux booth in early seventies. They were showing “The Last Picture Show”. I Remember the projectionist giving me a tour of the booth. He was a black man, and he said that he used to work in Atlantic City.

smut666 on September 13, 2006 at 3:06 am

Here’s a picture of eric’s place inside 2 years ago.

HowardBHaas on July 30, 2006 at 2:12 pm

Here’s a link to original exterior in 1934, Lamb design:
View link

HowardBHaas on July 30, 2006 at 8:28 am

Here’s a photo from 2004:
View link

And, a photo today:
View link

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on June 12, 2006 at 3:07 pm

Here is a link to a current photo of United Artists Eric’s Place Theatre, now a Finish Line store:

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on June 4, 2006 at 2:17 pm

Here is a link for a 1974 Sameric Theatres Co. advertising that includes Eric’s Place Theatre, as well as Sameric Theatre, Eric Mark I Theatre, Duke & Duchess Theatre and Eric Wynnewood Theatre:


Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on January 11, 2006 at 6:05 pm

Here is a link to a picture of the Eric’s Place Theatre, when it was the Trans-Lux Theatre.

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on August 23, 2005 at 6:21 am

The Eric’s Place Theatre is still rotting away. Nobody wants to build inside the theatre. The two theatres near it were converted into other uses, the Arcadia Theatre in now a Mandees womens store, and the Stanley Warner’s Karlton / William Goldman’s-Budco-AMC Midtown Twin theatre is now the Prince Music Theatre.