Fox Theatre chain reserach info needed

posted by popcornn on February 7, 2007 at 4:35 am

Does anyone know where I can find the history of the Fox Theatre chain? With all the theatres out there named ‘Fox’…I can only assume that it is/was a chain or company of sorts.

Comments (10)

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on February 7, 2007 at 7:01 pm

In Philadelphia, PA, the Fox Theatre, located on the SW corner of 16th and Market Street, was originally owned by The Stanley Company of America (AKA Stanley Warner Theatres), until the late 1940’s, when National Theatres, and then Milgram Theatres Co. acquired this theatre. This Fox Theatre closed in 1980.

The building design for this Fox Theatre is the exact same design as the Loew’s State Theatre/State Twin Theatre in NYC.

There were also two Fox Theatres that Milgram Theatres built and operated that were outside Philadelphia. They were: the Fox Willingboro Theatre and the Fox Levittown Theatre. The Fox Levittown Theatre was located on Lincoln Highway (Business US Route 1), in what is now called Langhorne Square Shopping Center. This theatre closed in the late 1980’s as United Artists-Eric I-95 Twin Theatre, and was replaced by a Chuck E. Cheese Pizzeria. The Fox Willingboro Theatre was located on NJ Route 130.

raymondgordonsears on February 8, 2007 at 4:18 am

I beleive the Fox Theatre in Willingboro was owned by the Fox Family. Budco theatres of Doylestown, Pa. managed and operated the theatre in the 60’s. The two sons of Fox also were involed with their father. I was dist. manager with Budco and this was one of my hardtops. If you need more info let me know. rs

johntru on February 8, 2007 at 9:32 am

Fox Theatre is the name given to several large movie theaters dating from the late 1920s either built by movie mogul William Fox or subsequently purchased by the Fox West Coast theater chain. Many of these grand “movie palaces” were built with a mish-mash of architectural styles drawn from Asian, Indian, Persian, and Moorish influences. The theatres still standing today share almost identical histories of decline and falls into disrepair with subsequent campaigns to save, restore and preserve the architectural relics. Some campaigns succeed, as in Tucson, Arizona, where the Fox Theatre re-opened in January 2006 after remaining closed for thirty-two years, or in Fullerton, California, where a non-profit community project is actively restoring the theatre. There is also a Fox Theatre, originally named the Electric Theatre, in Springfield, MO, which is currently used as a church. It is located on the northeast corner on Park Central Square.

johntru on February 8, 2007 at 9:45 am

Fox Theatre (2211 Woodward Ave. Detroit, MI 48201-3467) near Grand Circus Park in downtown Detroit, Michigan is a National Historic Landmark from the Roaring Twenties. The Detroit Fox is the first and the largest of the Fox Theaters. With 5045 seats, it is the second largest theater in the country after the Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

View link

GWaterman on February 8, 2007 at 2:07 pm

The Detroit Fox is an almost-identical twin of the St. Louis Fox. Both are magnificent.

popcornn on February 8, 2007 at 3:05 pm

Thanks for the info. What a great website, eh? (FYI ‘eh’ is the Canadian version of the American ‘huh’) ;–)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 8, 2007 at 7:13 pm

Wikipedia’s article on the Fox Theatre Circuit is pretty thin. I’ve thought about expanding it myself, but haven’t had the time. In fact, all the Internet sources on this subject are pretty thin. There’s a decent thumbnail biography of William Fox on the website of the St. Louis Fox Theatre, here. He started with a Brooklyn nickelodeon in 1904, and through expansions and mergers with other companies built the chain into one of the world’s largest before losing control of it in the early 1930s.

Fox took over the West Coast Theatre Circuit, which became its largest division, in the 1920s. West Coast was itself the result of a series of expansions and mergers. You can find a few bits of information about it on the Internet by doing Google searches on the names “Turner and Dahnken”, and “Turner, Dahnken and Langley”, which were predecessor companies. They also operated some theatres under the name T&D, but T&D Junior was a later company they started, not part of Fox.

Most of Fox-West Coast ended up in the hands of National General Theatres in the 1960s, and then much of it became part of Mann Theatres (including Fox’s flagship and most famous theatre, Grauman’s Chinese.) Today, of course, most of the Fox empire is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, parent company of the various Fox Television operations.

fmbeall on February 10, 2007 at 3:38 pm

The beginnings of the Fox chain can be found in the book “Upton Sinclair Presents William Fox” available in most libraries. The West Coast chain was bought in the late 20’s by William Fox, along with Fox Midwest, Fox Wisconsin, Fox Evergreen, etc. The entire Fox chain was split up during the depression, and the result was “National Theatres”, a division of 20th Century-Fox during the mid-30’s. After the 1948 US Consent Decision when the motion picture studios had to give up their theatre, the chain became “National General”. In the 80’s, Ted Mann purchased the chain and renamed it Mann Theatres. By this time it was mostly centered in Southern California. It exists as such today.

STRAND6 on February 12, 2007 at 12:25 pm

National General Corporation operated Fox Eastern Theatres, which was a large chain before they were bought by Mann Theatres in the early 1970’s.

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on May 20, 2009 at 9:08 pm

The Fox Theatre in Levittown, PA (known as Eric i-95 Twin Theatre in late 1980’s) was owned by Steve and Remy Fox, until they sold the theatre in the mid to late 1980’s to Sameric Theatres.

The Fox Theatre, located at 16th & Market Street, in Philadelphia was owned by William Fox, then Alexander Boyd, then Warner Brothers Inc. (operated through their Stanley Warner theatre chain), then finally by Milgram Theatres.

National General/Mann Theatres sold their New York City theatres (aka Fox Eastern Theatres) to RKO Century Warner Theatres in the early 1980’s.

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