City Line Center Theatre
7600 City Avenue,
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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.
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