Carman Theatre

Germantown Avenue and Roy Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19140

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Carman Theatre - Philadelphia, PA - 1937

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The Carman Theatre opened in 1928. The architect was William E. Groben, who also designed the Oxford Theatre in Philadelphia, and redesigned the Hiway Theatre in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, in the 1930’s.

The Carman Theatre was razed in 1978.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

topcat60 on August 12, 2005 at 11:02 pm

I remember the carman long after it was closed. I lived at 11th and germantown ave and could see the name carman on the roof. my friends and i would buy 5 cent candels and walk around in there. It was very dark in there and the stage and screen were there but the seats were gone. They were storing cars in there. I seem to rember up the front entrance there was red carpet and there was still adds hanging in the glass fixtures in the wall. since i was a kid i didnt think to take them. But there was alot more to the carman than people no. This place was huge. it had so many stairs that led up to dressing rooms. There were so many rooms in that place we got lost very easy. It was water damaged because my friend fell through the stage and we pulled him out. My father was an usher there in the 50s and 60s. I remember standing on westmorland street and seeing it demolished. and even tho it was closed when i was a kid i felt sad to see it go. I think there were lion heads fixtures out side the front of the building that were saved. I could be wrong. If anyone has any pictures or more history on the carman id like to no what i missed. thanks.. Leo rawle/

topcat60 on August 12, 2005 at 11:07 pm

Ps. Does any have any pictures or information about the centry movie theatre at 6th and erie ave? north philly.

negrilman on October 16, 2005 at 11:07 am

in the mid 70’s the carmen was used to store trucks. at that time i was buying used auto parts ,and i had a chance to explore the old theater. there was an garage door busted thru into the side of the theater for truck access.all the seats were gone. the wrought-iron railings and balustades were disasembled and lay in piles. in an upstairs room piles of old papers littered the floor. i dug out a few old carmen payroll receits for the late 40’s and early 50’s. i still have two of them hand signed by stubby kaye (he made $275.00 for that week, – tax and commision)and one signed by the manager of the original amature co. i later want back to look for more interesting papers ,but they were all gone. it had all been cleaned up and trashed!! one can only wonder what was lost
i also still own two small decorative pieces of the ballasrade-railing that once surrounded the orchestra pit and other areas of the theater. these artifacts are available for sale if anyone is interested

kencmcintyre on January 16, 2008 at 10:37 am

Here is an expanded version of one of the PAB thumbnails posted by LM on 11/30/04. The photo is from the Irvin Glazer collection:

HowardBHaas on March 3, 2009 at 6:10 pm

31 Aug 1940 Box Office mentioned a screening at this theater of “The Howards of Virginia” with in person appearing the Director, Frank Lloyd & star Martha Scott

kencmcintyre on May 9, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Here is a 1961 photo. The theater was closed at that time.

Brad Smith
Brad Smith on December 17, 2009 at 2:46 pm

As shown in this 1961 PhillyHistory photo ( ) that includes a Roy Street sign, the Carman Theater was located at the southeast corner of Germantown Avenue and Roy Street rather than Germantown and Allegheny Avenues. This is another view of the Carmen Theater, also taken in 1961: As shown in this Google satellite view ( ), the lot now seems to be filled with old cars. This photograph ( ) of the Carman Theater was taken in June of 1937 by George Mann of the comedy dance team, Barto and Mann.

In my comment of 15 December 2009, I made a mistake indentifying the Galard Theater (originally called the Carman Theater) located across the street at 3226 Germantown Avenue ( /theaters/10345/ ) as the Carman Theater at the corner of Germantown Avenue and Roy Street.

barjer2001 on May 13, 2012 at 11:29 am

My grandfather, Sylvan Katz, was the manager of the Carman in the 20’s-40’s.

jangraves on February 10, 2013 at 2:02 pm

My husband’s great grandfather, William Carman, built the galard and carman theatres. His grandfather, George Graves, owned and ran the carman from 1928 til 1945. My husband never saw it in person..would love to see interior pictures.

togunner on April 24, 2016 at 11:37 am

My name is Ken Carman. My grandfather Walt Carman along with his two brothers were born and raised in Phila.. I don’t know much about his ancestry. I was always told his father was a banker in Phila. during he depression he committed suicide. I was hoping someone can tell me if I could be related to William Carman? My grandfather never spoke to us or my father of his ancestry or were he grew up in Phila. Please write me back if any one has any info. or needs more information. Thank You Ken Carman!

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