Loew's Colonial Theatre

651 Penn Street,
Reading, PA 19601

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Loew's Inc., Stanley-Warner Theatres

Architects: William Harold Lee

Previous Names: Colonial Theatre

Nearby Theaters

April, 1924 program from the Colonial Theater

The Colonial Theatre was one of Reading’s first large theatres built specifically for movies, and opened on April 15, 1917, with Pauline Frederick in “Sleeping Fires”. The opening seating capacity was given as 2,000-seats. It was operated by Carr & Schad, which had the local franchise for Paramount-Artcraft releases. In September, 1925, the Loew’s Inc. circuit took over and they installed a Wurlitzer 2 manual 10 ranks organ in 1926. Loew’s Inc. ran the Colonial Theatre through its peak years as home for all the major MGM releases, including “Gone With the Wind”.

In 1963, Loew’s declined to renew its lease when it expired, and Stanley Warner took over for five years. In 1968, some “indies” took over but lasted only one year.

The Colonial Theatre closed in 1969 with Fred Astaire in “Finian’s Rainbow” & The Beatles animated feature “Yellow Submarine”. It was demolished in 1970 to make way for a shopping mall that was never built. A similar fate awaited its rival and near neighbor, the Embassy Theatre.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

TLSLOEWS on December 1, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Nice photo, you can tell that it was an old LOEWS marquee, redone for the new owner.

rivest266 on February 7, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Grand opening ad can be seen at View link (2 pages)

TLSLOEWS on July 13, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Nice ad Mike R.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on October 8, 2010 at 5:23 pm

Nice ad Mike R from another mike R.

Bruce Calvert
Bruce Calvert on October 23, 2012 at 7:05 pm

A 1924 Program from this theater is at the Silent Film Still Archive.

rivest266 on June 21, 2014 at 4:33 pm

April 15th, 1917 grand opening ad in photo section

DouglasM on January 24, 2024 at 8:31 pm

I have owned the Wurlitzer Theater organ from the Colonial since 1969.It is installed in my home & still sounds great. Does anyone on here remember when it was in the theater?

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