Ellis Theatre Chain?

posted by raymondgordonsears on April 7, 2005 at 5:28 am

PHILADELPHIA, PA — Does anyone have info on the Ellis Theatre circuit (family-owned) from the Phila., Pa. area? They operated mostly neighborhood houses.

Thanks, rg.

Comments (16)

GrandValleyHoldingsLP on April 7, 2005 at 7:03 am

Here is the PA DOS info:

Entity Details

Basic Entity Information
Entity No. 2189072
Filing Date 08/29/1955 Letter of Consent No
County Philadelphia Jurisdiction PA
Purpose –

Limited Authority No

Fictitious Owners

Instrument History
Doc Type Microfilm# Micro# Start Micro# End Filing Date Comments

FICTITIOUS NAME 5524 797 0 08/29/1955

Radioinactive on April 7, 2005 at 9:46 am

Ellis owned a number of drive-in’s in Delaware including the Ellis in Wilmington and the Chester Pike and MacDade drive-in’s in Delaware County, PA

rivest266 on April 7, 2005 at 3:37 pm

download the spreadsheet from
View link
it lists about 25 theatres from Ellis from 1950.

William on April 7, 2005 at 3:48 pm

In 1944 the A.M. Ellis Theatres offices were at 121 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia.
At that time they operated 14 theatres.
New Jersey: Camden: Liberty, Parkside
Pennsylvania: Philadephia: Admiral, Breeze, Broad, Dante, Dixie,
Doris, Erlen, New Penn, Renel, Rockland, Southern,

In 1960, their offices were at 1225 Vine Street, Philadelphia.
At that time they operated 21 theatres.
Delaware: Wilmington: Ellis Drive-In, Kerry Drive-In
New Jersey: Camden: Parkside
Trenton: Olden
Pennsylvania: Bala-Cynwyd: Bala
Coatesville: Coatesirele Drive-In
Eddystone: Chester Drive-In
Philadelphia: Admiral, Benner, Broad, Castor, Crest,
Ellis, Erlen, Regal, Renal, Rockland, Tyson
Lehighton: Classic
Upper Darby: Stonehurst
West Collingswood: N.J. Crescent

By 1968, they operated 19 theatres.
Delaware: Wilmington: Ellis Drive-In
New Jersey: Bordentown: Dix Drive-In
Pennsylvania: Bala-Cynwyd: Bala
Coatesville: Coatesville Drive-In
Eddystone: Chester
Pike Drive-In
Philadelphia: Benner, Castor, Crest, Ellis, Erlen,
Regal, Renal, Rockland, Tyson, Towers, Nixon
West Collingswood N.J.: Crescent
Allentown: Plaza

raymondgordonsears on April 27, 2005 at 2:19 pm

William: Is the Ellis chain still around and what happened to it. I’m looking for pictures of a couple of the theatres.Thanks rg

FoxFan on May 22, 2005 at 1:56 pm

To my knowledge all of the Ellis Chain was sold off twenty years ago.

Patrick H Friel
Patrick H Friel on December 18, 2005 at 9:54 am

I grew up in West Philly, around 56th and Jefferson Streets, in the Overbrook section. My neighborhood theatre was the Hamilton on Lansdowne Ave. near 63rd Street. Seating capacity was 600.

The Hamilton was an Ellis theatre until it closed in the early 60’s and converted into a church, which is still functioning today.

cindykoons on October 6, 2006 at 4:10 am

My dad worked for the Ellis family for years as a film buyer. There were three brothers I think- Martin, Sidney and Eddie. I know there is a son, Michael who is a GYN at Abington Hospital. They owned a lot of theatres in the NE philly area and also a hosiery mill down south. They slowly sold off their theatres I think and I do not believe any of the brothers are alive. It was a very lively adn interesting office to work in , as I recall. My dad lost his job around 1980 when they decided to do booking out of a NY office.

raymondgordonsears on October 6, 2006 at 9:45 am

Thanks CINDYK: I grew up going to most of there theatres. I have some photos of the theatres after they closed, but I’m looking for pictures when they were open. I have some friends at Abington Hosp.I’ll check. Thanks again for the input. rg

rbcastanley on January 26, 2007 at 2:32 pm

I am looking for pictures of the Ellis Drive In that was south of Wilmingotn, DE


EricOlsen on March 5, 2008 at 6:05 am

Does anyone have pictures of the Ellis theater of Frankford Ave from the 1950’s on? I have the one from the 40’s when it was the forum.

adam78 on December 29, 2009 at 5:29 am

I am a grandson of Martin (son of A.M. Ellis the chain’s founder). He passed away in 1981, and Sidney continued the business for only a few more years. Edmund (Eddie) was not involved in the business at all (to my knowledge), or certainly not since their father died in 1961. He lived in France for most of the ‘60s onward, and died in 2003 at the age of 83. The chain also owned a couple of bowling allies (called Bowlero), one of which was in NE Philly (Frankford Ave?). I have fond memories of accompanying my grandfather (as a boy in the early '70s) during the construction of the theatres at the Cinnaminson Mall, near my hometown of Moorestown, N.J., as well as to various movies at several of the other theatres (esp. “Silver Streak” at the Bala in 1976 or so). By this time, all of the theatres were second-run theatres, costing $1-2.

EricOlsen on February 2, 2010 at 5:21 am

Hey Adam – thanks for the info. Do you or can you get a hold of any pics of the Ellis theater inside of it or outside?



adam78 on February 3, 2010 at 5:56 pm

There were many theatres, Eric, and unfortunately I don’t have photos of any.

I do, however, have photos of both my grandfather’s and great-grandfather’s Patek Philippe watches, which I’ve inherited. I know that’s a non-sequitur…

Adam Dubin
Adam Dubin on February 25, 2012 at 3:18 pm

I just rediscoverd this photo of Abraham (my great-grandfather), Martin (my grandfather), and Sidney (my great-uncle) Ellis from 1955, holding a photo of the theaters in their chain. I would love to know where that large montage photo is now — I suspect it was lost in decades past.

Link: http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j310/amdubin/img048_2.jpg

IvanY on July 3, 2015 at 6:07 pm

My father worked for A.M. Ellis Theatre Company.

He did a lot of work for Martin Ellis, Sidney not so much
as he wasn’t around the office on Vine Street a lot. I think I meet Eddie once.

My dad was a manager and worked at the following that I remember:

New Jersey: Parkside

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia: Admiral, Broad, Renel, Castor, Crest,

                          Allentown:    Plaza (He helped to oversee the                   
                                        construction and ran it for awhile
                                        It was the 1st multiple theatre)
                          Bala-Cynwyd:  Bala
                          Upper Darby:  Stonehurst, Tower

(I grew up in Upper Darby)

Delaware: Wilmington: Ellis Drive-In

He also managed the Bowlero on Frankford Ave. in Phila, the one in Upper Darby for awhile, the one in Eddystone nest to the Chester Pike Drive-In, there was another one I can’t remember where that was also had a driving range next to the Bowlero.

The last theatre my dad worked for was the Bala under different ownership. I sort of remember when the theatres were all being sold off.

My dad died on June 23, 1989. I loved being able to go to the different theatres growing up and not having to wait in line or pay while people watched me go in and wondered who I was to get such treatment. :)

Something I won’t every forget and I got my work ethics from him.

It was an experience.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment