Benner Theatre

6054 Castor Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19149

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: A.M. Ellis Theaters Co,

Architects: David Supowitz

Functions: Medical Center

Styles: Streamline Moderne

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News About This Theater


The Benner Theatre opened January 21, 1942 with 700 seats, all on a single floor. The attractive auditorium had highly decorative murals on the side-walls. By 1950 it was operated by the A.M. Ellis Theaters Co. chain. It closed in November 1985.

By 2022 the front of the building and its lobby had been demolished and a new-build contains a medical center. The auditorium at the rear still stands.

Contributed by George Quirk

Recent comments (view all 20 comments)

HowardBHaas on September 4, 2007 at 12:45 pm

shown last night on Fox TV Channel 29 news as an office building now, part of story on closure of AMC Orleans 8:
View link

kencmcintyre on September 14, 2007 at 9:26 pm

The Benner, Tyson, Erlen, Crest and Castor were all run by A.M. Ellis Theaters of Philadelphia in the early eighties. General manager was Martin Ellis. I had a girlfriend in NE Philly at that time and went to most of these. I don’t remember the Erlen, though. We also spent a lot of time at the Orleans 8 and the GCC Northeast.

Stosh on May 2, 2009 at 2:51 pm

I grew up at the corner of Frontenac and Benner in the 1950’s and each Saturday would be movie day for my pals and myself. Kids' matinees were 25 cents (evening adult admission was 75 cents).

Kids' shows were typically a few cartoons, a serial and a Western, but some Saturdays featured special all-cartoon shows. There were on-stage yo-yo demonstrations and contests sponsored by the two big yo-yo companies, Cheerio and Duncan.

My first real date was with a girl on my
named Sheila. We were both around 10 at the time and our parents let us go to the movies together – at night, yet – and we walked there and back.

Saw lots of great movies there; I especially remember the horror flicks like ‘Attack Of The Crab Monsters’ and great movies like ‘Three Coins In The Fountain’, ‘Seven Brides For Seven Brothers’ and ‘G.I. Joe’ and remember the huge lobby and the handsomely-decorated theater quite well, considering that I left Philly 50 years ago :–))

Great memories!

WilliamWhite on December 16, 2013 at 3:20 pm

As a 15-year old I was “fired” by the Benner’s manager, replete with his red sport coat, for failing to open the exit door at a 9 PM intermission. My “pass” was torn asunder! I vowed never to be fired again: I later spent 40 years at The Inquirer and never missed a day! Bill White of nearby Lardner Street.

TheALAN on December 18, 2013 at 12:44 am

There seems to be a discrepancy on the number of seats that the Benner Theatre had. On the heading, it states 450 seats while under the photo George Quirk states that the theatre opened in early-1942 with 700 seats, all on a single floor. Does anyone know for sure?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 18, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Alan: Such discrepancies often arise from the fact that old theaters are likely to be reseated at some point in their history, reducing their original capacity in order to provide more leg room and, sometimes, wider seats. But then, both figures might come from The Film Daily Yearbook, which is not always the most reliable source, but it is often the only source we’ve got. Personally, looking at the size of the auditorium in Google’s satellite view, I’d have guessed that this house opened with more than 700 seats.

WilliamWhite on January 16, 2014 at 3:15 pm

I am now painting a watercolor (10"14") of the Benner as of the night little me was “fired”. Living on Lardner, McKinley Sts. it was my favorite theater. When finished, you may have a copy at any copying/postage cost. Bill White .

TheALAN on December 28, 2014 at 4:33 pm

The street address given for the Benner, 6056 Castor Avenue, is incorrect! During the Benner days, 6056 was an Oriental business, part of the three attached stores (6056, 6058 & 6060 Castor Ave.) on the end of the block that are connected to the former theater. The correct address for the Benner Theatre is 6052-54 Castor Avenue.

rivest266 on October 6, 2016 at 7:11 pm

January 21st, 1942 grand opening ad in photo section. Ad says 6054 Castor Av, TheALAN.

theziggz on March 1, 2023 at 1:07 pm

Does anyone know the last movie that played there?

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