City Line Center Theatre

7600 City Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19151

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City Line Theatre lobby area

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened on August 31, 1949, the City Line Center Theatre was in the Overbrook Park neighborhood of Philadelphia, as part of a strip mall, City Line Center, which had a 12 acre tract, that also included 24 retail stores including supermarkets, and a huge 1,000 capacity parking lot.

The strip mall was developed by the Suburban Company that in 1930 built another nearby, outdoor mall, Suburban Square in Ardmore, PA, and in 1937 opened the Suburban Theatre.

The City Line Center Theatre was designed by Philadelphia theatre architect William H. Lee, whose theatre designs in the nearby western suburbs included the Anthony Wayne, Bryn Mawr, Narberth, and Suburban theatres. The movie operator was Fried Theatres, which had offices in 1950 at the Suburban Theatre, but by 1969 had relocated offices to the City Line Center.

The City Line Center Theatre was known as the City Line Center and was Art Moderne in style. An outside forecourt had a stand alone ticket booth. A huge circular marquee greeted patrons. All 1,530 seats were on a single sloping floor, with the projection suite overhanging the rear five rows. The original, curtained screen was 28.6 feet wide and 21.3 feet tall. There was a stage, an ushers room, and a posters room. In the 1950’s, the front of the vast auditorium was adjusted to install a curtained, huge, wide movie screen for CinemaScope movies.

In 1973 or 1974, movie operation was turned over to local Philadelphia movie theatre chain Budco, which twinned the auditorium. Budco was purchased by AMC, which continued to show mainstream movies. In 1990 or 1991, the theatre closed and was gutted, including removal of the ticket booth, marquee, and exterior forecourt, and became a TJ Maxx retail store. For years afterwards, the wording City Line Center was seen on the exterior wall of the auditorium, before being painted over.

Contributed by Bryan, Howard B. Haas

Recent comments (view all 30 comments)

bobc316
bobc316 on February 7, 2011 at 4:12 pm

i have 3 tickets from the CITY LINE MOVIE THEATRE , that theatre went out when LAWRENCE PARK BARKLEY SQUARE PILGRIM GARDENS were all closing between 1990-1993 very sad.

movieguy247
movieguy247 on March 29, 2012 at 4:48 am

I am a lifelong movie geek and the City Line Theater will always be one of my favorite movie houses. I saw so many great flicks there in the 80s- Sharky’s Machine, Clash of the Titans, Superman II, Any Which Way You can, The Jazz Singer, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, Conan the Barbarian, The Sword and the Sorcerer, Amityville II: The Possession, Lethal Weapon 1 and 2, The Hidden, RoboCop, Full Metal Jacket, Commando, American Ninja, CHUD, Exterminator 2, Get Crazy, Easy Money, The Outsiders, The Dark Crystal, Aiens, The Fly, Big Trouble in Little China, Tequila Sunrise, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Beaches, The Private Eyes and Earthbound (double feature),Nightmare on Elm Street 1 and 3, Night Patrol, Police Academy 1 and 3-6, Pet Sematary, Grandview USA, The Terminator, The Cotton Club, City Heat, Beverly Hills Cop II, The Lost Boys, The Fourth Protocol, Hamburger Hill, Hellraiser, Scrooged, Honkytonk Man, Children of the Corn, Angel, Death Wish II, Spies Like Us, Enemy Mine, First Blood, The Earthling, THe Last Flight of Noah’s Ark and 101 Dalmatians (double feature), Bachelor Party, Purple Rain, Cocoon, Christine, Sudden Impact, Heartbreak Ridge, Jumpin' Jack Flash, Black Widow and Over the Top. It’s a long list to be sure, but I have a great memory when it comes to movies.

movieguy247
movieguy247 on March 29, 2012 at 6:44 am

How could I forget these other titles- Harlem Nights, Tango & Cash, Cage, Best of the Best, Married to the Mob, The Exorcist III, Little Shop of Horrors, Hercules, Blazing Saddles (1981 rerelease), Pink Cadillac, Best Seller, The Curse, Vamp, Demons, Cobra, The Fog, Love at First Bite, A Force of One, Dead Bang, Disorderlies, Twilight Zone: The Movie, Porky’s Revenge, Under the Cherry Moon, Big, Honey I Shrunk the Kids and Tougher Than Leather. By the way, my real name is George and maybe some of you former employees might remember me. I worked at the ACME supermarket in the same shopping center from 1985-89. I fondly remember Anthony (don’t know his last name) who started as an usher but became a manager around ‘88 or '89. I went to high school with Jamie, one of the ushers ('85-'86). Who was the old lady who ran the place in the early '80s?

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on April 6, 2013 at 7:28 pm

Kevanos, the link to Youtube video doesn’t work anymore? I enjoyed that video & would like to see it again.

freddylubin
freddylubin on May 23, 2013 at 10:28 am

Anyone here remember the Saturday kiddie matinees in the ‘60s? All the neighborhood kids would meet there (some after synagogue), for whatever was showing. It cost a quarter dollar, another 15 cents for popcorn. I now teach film history, but, as Pauline Kael would say, I lost it at the City Line Center theater. Best memory: “The Great Escape”, after which we decided to set up a POW camp in the woods, and tunnel our way out. Worked on it for about two days. So, anyone….?

molly123
molly123 on October 10, 2013 at 7:54 am

I was a frequent visitor to this theater in the 50’s. living just 1 block away on 77th st. My wonderful memories include saturday afternoon matinees like “The Blob” and a lot of the great “horror movies” of the era. Ist of course was lunch nest store at the Sun Ray drugs store…usually a grilled cheese, and a lime Rickey. I believe the matinee was a nickle! I also recall the theater decked out for a movie I saw with my parents, Judy Holiday, in “The Bells are Ringing”. The entire lobby had telephones, I thought…wow how cool! Later I took a girlfriend to see another Steve McQueen movie, Bullit…was she mesmerized! The last movie I saw there was a matinee…Woodstock.

rivest266
rivest266 on May 19, 2014 at 4:20 pm

August 31st, 1949 grand opening ad at http://fultonhistory.com/Newspapers%2023/Philadelphia%20PA%20Inquirer/Philadelphia%20PA%20Inquirer%201949/Philadelphia%20PA%20Inquirer%201949%20a%20-%207145.pdf

and in the photo section.

robtadrian
robtadrian on July 19, 2014 at 11:48 pm

Saw my first 3d movies here! House of Wax revival, Comin At Ya, Parasite. Also Fish That Saved Pittsburgh, Prom Night, Halloween 2, a friend walked out of Bachelor Party when the scene with the dominatrix came on, First screening of the Twilight Zone movie (3rd in line), Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Superman 2 Purple Rain

Kevanos
Kevanos on October 3, 2014 at 11:41 am

HowardBHaas, Here is the new link to the video,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7XWne1v06Q .
                  
HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on October 3, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Thank you for the new link!

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