Carman Theatre

Germantown Avenue and Roy Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19140

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jangraves
jangraves on February 10, 2013 at 7:02 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.

barjer2001
barjer2001 on May 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm

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

Brad Smith
Brad Smith on December 17, 2009 at 7:46 pm

As shown in this 1961 PhillyHistory photo ( http://tinyurl.com/ygqoj7l ) 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: http://tinyurl.com/yem9eou. As shown in this Google satellite view ( http://tinyurl.com/yfx8r5q ), the lot now seems to be filled with old cars. This photograph ( http://tinyurl.com/y98olul ) 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.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on May 9, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Here is a 1961 photo. The theater was closed at that time.
http://tinyurl.com/qkgtqb

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on March 3, 2009 at 11:10 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
kencmcintyre on January 16, 2008 at 3:37 pm

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:
http://tinyurl.com/yso9f6

negrilman
negrilman on October 16, 2005 at 4:07 pm

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

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on October 1, 2005 at 10:13 pm

A Gottfried organ Size 4/15 was installed in the Carman Theater in 1927.

topcat60
topcat60 on August 13, 2005 at 4:07 am

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

topcat60
topcat60 on August 13, 2005 at 4:02 am

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/

jdemarco29
jdemarco29 on January 6, 2005 at 5:10 am

In the 1960’s the Carmen was converted to a roller skating rink. They gave out free admission passes to the local school children during the Christmas (oops, I mean Winter Holiday) vacation and during the summer.

KenRoe
KenRoe on December 13, 2004 at 7:26 pm

The opening date of the Carman Theatre was 1st January 1928.

KenRoe
KenRoe on December 4, 2004 at 8:49 pm

The Theatre Historical Society of America visited Philadelphia in June 1985 and in their published guide book for the visit, the final demise of the Carman Theatre began when;

‘pipes in the ceiling of the closed theatre froze and burst in 1978. It rained in the Carman for nearly a week washing off the stuccoed walls, but the tiles remained. For six weeks the wrecking ball hit the house in 1978’

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on December 1, 2004 at 2:14 am

There are ten thumbnail photos of the Carman theater here:
View link

RickB
RickB on December 1, 2004 at 1:51 am

I once found some newspapers from 1954 and ‘55 that contained ads for the Carman; the burlesque policy was in force at that time. (A comic listed as a coming attraction was Billy “Cheese and Crackers” Hagen—what a nickname!) Around 1976 I took a ride past there on the #23 trolley; the building was still up and there were some signs on it advertising a church or revival meeting but it was hard to tell if they were current or old. It was still quite an imposing structure.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 26, 2004 at 4:50 pm

The theatre was named in honor of owner William Carman, who, in 1920, opened a 600-seat movie house on Germantown Avenue, according to Irving Glazer’s “Philadelphia Theaters.” Eight years later, Carman built a much larger theatre just across the street, and continued to operate the first as the Galard. “The new Carman was the most elegant of all the theatres built in North Philadelphia, and was fitted with tiles and other ornaments from the Tunisian Building of the 1926 Sesquicentennial Exposition,” Glazer wrote. The interior was designed as an ancient Moorish palace, with stuccoed walls, Saracenic arches, fountains and wrought-iron balustrades.“ An undated exterior photo that appears to be from the 1950s shows the Carman as a mecca for "Glorified Burlesk.” Stripper Ann Perri and comedian Al Rio were headlining at the time. Glazer gives the architect’s name as W. Ellis Groben, rather than William E. Groben.