Pearl Theatre

2047 Ridge Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19121

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Showing 21 comments

TheALAN on March 29, 2014 at 9:13 pm

TheaterBluff1 not only muddies the water, he causes an entire mud slide.

kencmcintyre on February 2, 2010 at 9:38 pm

Here is an August 1976 photo from Temple U:

spectrum on October 17, 2009 at 6:51 pm

From the aeriel google photos it looks like the Pearl theatre (the original one) has been razed – just an empty lot now.

kencmcintyre on February 3, 2008 at 7:56 pm

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

TheaterBuff1 on December 19, 2006 at 5:34 pm


Sorry about the long delay, everyone, but I just received confirtmation today, Dec. 19, 2006 — a bit to my disappointment and I’m sure to Mr. Haas’s and everyone else’s as well — that the all new Pearl Theatre, named in honor of the former, does not have digital projection. Apparently the Philadelphia Inquirer was given not quite correct information in the excitement of the theater’s newness, digital projection having been confused with digital sound, which the all new Pearl Theatre does have. So in terms of a Philadelphia first, having digital projection still remains open.

TheaterBuff1 on December 14, 2006 at 7:22 pm

Reality check:

rg, when you say the all new Pearl is a “very plan looking theatre,” do you mean “plain” rather than “plan,” that is, that it’s a very “plain” looking theater, or that it’s a very well “planned” out looking theater? For in the one or two photos I’ve seen of it so far it looks to me like it’s very well planned out and hardly plain. So if you could just please clarify I’d very much appreciate it. Thanks!

HowardBHaas on December 14, 2006 at 1:26 am

That movie is one of 8 movies now at the Pearl. It is also being shown in many other Philadelphia area theaters. Like the Pearl, most aren’t showing it in digital projection. Newspapers aren’t always accurate.

TheaterBuff1 on December 13, 2006 at 9:09 pm

It just so happens that Deja Vu was the first movie shown at the all new Pearl, while we know from the info Mr. Haas has provided us with that this movie was released in digital cinema format. That doesn’t prove that the new Pearl has digital projection, of course, but it does present the possibility. Meantime, I’m awaiting to hear back confirmation that the Pearl has digital projection, and when I get confirmation — either way — I’ll post it here.

HowardBHaas on December 12, 2006 at 6:06 am

Reality is that theaters advertise digital projection. Below is from Fandago, for (Regal) United Artists King of Prussia, from googling-

11:45am I 2:15 I 4:45 I 7:15 I 9:40

Deja Vu
PG-13 • 2 hr. 8 min.

Click on RED SHOWTIMES to Buy Tickets
DLP (Digital Projection) Showtimes More Info >
1:10 I 4:10 I 7:25 I 10:35

Theaterbuff can copy & paste the 1st time the Pearl does the same, if the Pearl has digital movie projectors!

raymondgordonsears on December 12, 2006 at 1:32 am

TheaterBuff1: You take all the FUN out of reading these reports. I was in the theatre business in its hay day. When theatres were theatres not boxes. Those days are gone and today is today. Ref. the Pearl, once again just call the theatre and find out. As for me I WILL NOT be reading reports headed by TheaterBuff1. That’s my reality check. rg

TheaterBuff1 on December 11, 2006 at 5:23 pm

Just to do the big reality check, the two most recent comments posted above can be summed up as “muddying the waters, the one posted by Mr. Haas where he said "King of Prussia is not subject of this thread,” and the one posted by rg where he states that I — TheaterBuff1 — “LOVE to muddy the waters in everyone of [my] reports.”

For the reality is this: The all new Pearl Theatre might have just broken the longstanding and senseless impasse and become the FIRST theater in the city of Philadelphia to have digital projection. The truth of that, if it is true (and right now I’m concluding it is true because Philadelphia’s leading newspaper said as much), is exciting. That’s on the plane of reality. And leave it somebody using the user name “rg” to see that excitement I feel over this event as “muddying.” Rg, you’ve got to do a big reality chack of yourself and the things you say, okay?

Now with regard to King of Prussia just to show how off base Mr. Haas was reality-wise, the digital projection King of Prussia’s multiplex theater has, up until this event, was the closest known use of digital projection in the Philadelphia area, which all told — rationally speaking — made little sense, since Philadelphia,too, is part of the United States, and likewise entitled to all the privileges and advances King of Prussia currently enjoys. Meaning that if King of Prussia has such advances, but Philadelphia is being withheld from such, due to political, prejudicial or whatever reasons, then yes, absolutely King of Prussia becomes a subject of this thread. That’s stating the situation as it stands on the plane of reality. The rest is all just b.s. And right now, based on what I read in the Philadelphia Inquirer, my conclusion is that the all new Pearl does have digital projection in some of its auditoriums, and by that I mean for exhibiting movies, not merely slides. If I’m wrong about this, well, as they say, the burden of proof lies on the accuser.

raymondgordonsears on December 11, 2006 at 10:26 am

THEATERBUFF1; Why not contact the theatre to find out what they have! This is NOT a big deal. You LOVE to muddy the waters in everyone of your reports. EASE UP!

HowardBHaas on December 11, 2006 at 2:00 am

Almost daily, I spot mistakes in newspapers.


There are almost NO digitial projectors used for movies on the East Coast. They are very expensive.

King of Prussia is not subject of this thread.

TheaterBuff1 on December 10, 2006 at 7:46 pm

Howard, other theaters throughout the U.S. have switched over to digital projection, and quite successfully so from what I understand. The big megaplex in King of Prussia has it. And with the Pearl’s having seven screens, why wouldn’t they take the risk of testing it out with at least one or two of their auditoriums, particularly right now when so many digital projection oems are willing to help finance theaters that agree to give it a chance? It would make for a very sad mystery if the Pearl didn’t, while I’m preferring to give them the benefit of the doubt. So what confirmation do you have, if any, that none of their auditoriums have digital projection? And if they don’t have it, even though the newspaper said they did, why the heck not?

HowardBHaas on December 10, 2006 at 11:14 am

I know what you read. I stand with my comment above.

TheaterBuff1 on December 10, 2006 at 6:38 am

Howard, as you can see in the first Philadelphia Inquirer article (which I cut and pasted in my first commentary at this theater page), it says: “The new Pearl, which can accommodate 1,300 people, features digital projection and surround-sound systems and stadium seating with plush high-back chairs.” (It’s the 6th paragraph down from the top.) Meantime, when reading the Inquirer article when I saw it in the paper, I, too, wondered about that platter system the accompanying photo showed. But with seven screens, I assume what was meant was that some its auditoriums use the old-fashion platter/film system while others have the all new digital cinema projection technology. Maybe with your insider leads you can find out more the specifics on it. For I can only just go by what I read in the papers.

HowardBHaas on December 10, 2006 at 2:48 am

There may be some confusion here, but I believe the Pearl has digital sound rather than digital projection. Digital projection has not yet reached Philadelphia. The first Inquirer article about the Pearl had in print edition a photo of a platter, which wouldn’t be used for digital projection.

TheaterBuff1 on December 9, 2006 at 6:44 pm

Though off to a rough start, the all new Pearl Theatre — named in honor and memory of the former — has now arrived on the scene in a very positive way (see this article)

And may it continue on this positive course it now appears to be solidly on, a real inspirational story in the history of movie theaters if ever there was one! And though I’m not fully sure, I think it might be Philadelphia’s first digital cinema. An historic first, in other words!

TheaterBuff1 on December 7, 2006 at 7:54 pm

This is a link to a December 7, 2006 news article relating to the all new Pearl Theatre in North Philadelphia (named in honor of the former) and should be a real eye opener as to how backwards and barbaric the city of Philadelphia has gotten since movie theaters flourished here last:

I hope though that those who’ve created this new theater will hang tough in the face of it, and that those trying to spoil it for everybody will find their way to toilets capable of flushing them away…

TheaterBuff1 on December 2, 2006 at 8:13 pm

This article appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer Saturday, December 2, 2006 about an all new theater in North Philadelphia called “The Pearl,” and named in honor of the original:

After 30 years, it’s MOVIE TIME
By Vernon Clark
Inquirer Staff Writer

After more than three decades without a movie theater, North Philadelphia is finally ready for its close-up.

Next week, the Pearl Theatre at Avenue North will open at Broad and Oxford Streets.

“A lot of people said there would never be a movie theater here,” said Bart Blatstein, head of Tower Investments Inc., developer of the project. It also includes retail shops and housing for Temple University students.

“Other developers and other theater chains poo-pooed us and said, ‘It’s not going to work here.’ And they walked away. This is going to work. I think it will be a big hit.”

Blatstein said the seven-screen multiplex was named the Pearl – after the old Pearl Theatre on Ridge Avenue – at the suggestion of Councilman Darrell Clark, who grew up in the community.

The new Pearl, which can accommodate 1,300 people, features digital projection and surround-sound systems and stadium seating with plush high-back chairs.

The movie house, which will open to the public on Wednesday, is part of the $100 million Avenue North complex built by Tower Investments, a Philadelphia-based commercial developer. The complex will feature 20 retail shops and an 800-room housing facility for 1,200 Temple University students. The housing complex opened in September.

“I take great pride in doing such a significant project here in North Philadelphia,” said Bart Blatstein, head of Tower Investments. “For me it’s coming home. My dad grew up in Strawberry Mansion and I went to Temple.” Blatstein noted that his company developed the Riverview Stadium 17 theater on Columbus Boulevard and the Main Street 6 theater in Manayunk.

As noisy crews worked briskly to put the finishing touches on the multiplex and retail areas earlier this week, Blatstein stood at Broad and Oxford Streets and said, “Believe it or not, come Monday this will all be done.”

The project, which broke ground in April 2005, caps years of attempts to build a movie theater and retail complex adjacent to Temple University.

In 2002, Kravco Simon Co. and basketball great Magic Johnson planned to construct a 14-screen theater and retail shops at the site. That plan was canceled last year.

“This is one of the most significant developments in some time,” Councilman Clarke said of the Tower Investments project. “It will be a catalyst for North Philadelphia.”

The complex is the linchpin of a plan to revitalize the blocks along the North Philadelphia corridor. Other projects in the area include the refurbished Blue Horizon ballroom and boxing arena, new shops along Cecil B. Moore Avenue and plans for renovation of the Progress Plaza retail strip.

“We’re trying to recapture some of the luster of North Philadelphia,” Clarke said. “One of the things we’ve been unable to do is capture the people coming from the Liacouris Center. We’re hoping they will come back to movies and restaurants.”

Restaurants in the new retail complex will include a Qdoba Mexican Grill, KOJA Korean Japanese Grill, Nosheri of Temple Gourmet Deli, Plaza Pizza and Pita Pit. Several of the restaurants will have cafe seating along widened sidewalks, Blatstein said.

On a quick tour of the movie theater this week, businessman A. Bruce Crawley, the former head of the city’s African American Chamber of Commerce, recalled the theaters he went to while growing up in North Philadelphia.

“We had the Booker Theater on Fairmount Avenue between 10th and 11th, the Strand, the Astor, the Girard,” Crawley said. “All those theaters are gone. Where do you go for the neighborhood movies?”

Crawley said the complex “is a perfect example of what should be happening in all neighborhoods.

Blatstein said he was proud that 30 percent of the work on the complex was done by minority contractors. “It was very important to me that we be inclusive, and we did it.”

On Monday, Mayor Street, Gov. Rendell and other civic and community leaders will attend a reception marking the grand opening of the complex.

Mark Sharp, who cuts hair at a barber shop near the theater on Cecil B. Moore Avenue, said he thinks the theater would be for nearby businesses and for young people.

“I think it’s beautiful for the children,” Sharp said. “It will give them some place to go.”

Crawley said the project also offers business opportunities.

Many of the jobs at the theater and retail shops are going to be filled by community residents, said Blatstein.

“The community has great economic potential, not just with the opening of this [theater] but from the very day the first shovel of dirt was turned,” Crawley said.
Contact staff writer Vernon Clark at 215-854-5717 or

© 2006 Philadelphia Inquirer

RickB on November 30, 2004 at 8:20 pm

In its earlier years the Pearl was a regular stop for leading African-American entertainers on tour. Pearl Bailey is said to have started her career after winning an amateur contest here. The theater must have survived as a movie venue at least into the late ‘60s or early '70s, as it was still advertised in the Inquirer’s (but not the Bulletin’s) neighborhood theater listings.