Crest Theatre

5800 Rising Sun Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19120

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Additional Info

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

Architects: David Supowitz

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Nearby Theaters

CREST THEATER 5800 Rising Sun Ave

The Crest Theatre opened November 23, 1937 on Rising Sun Avenue at Cheltenham Avenue to accommodate the late-1930’s housing expansion in the Lawncrest neighborhood of Philadelphia. The theatre was designed by Philadelphia architect David Supowitz in an Art Moderne style with an exterior of plastic and white glass (such as Vitrolite). The theatre seated 900. It opened for second and third run movies. By 1950 it was operated by the A.M. Ellis Theaters Co. chain.

Until closing, a big sign rhymed ‘Welcome. See the BEST at the CREST’. The Crest closed the week before Christmas in 1986 with “Star Trek IV” as its last feature film. The marquee said ‘FAREWELL’. By the time it closed, a new owner of the building planned to demolish it to construct retail. The Crest has been demolished, and a convenience store was constructed on the site.

Contributed by Bryan, Howard B. Haas

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

Danashelchan on March 30, 2008 at 4:37 pm

I went to the Crest almost every Saturday when I was a kid. I lived in Crescentville from birth in 1955 to when we moved, in summer of 1966. My parents decision, I had no say in the matter. Today whenever I watch a 1960’s movie on TV, I imagine people back in that time, going to see it at the Crest. Sheer nostalgia…

kencmcintyre on May 11, 2008 at 1:07 am

I used to ride on those old deathtraps that LM displayed in his 11/3/05 photo. When they went underground, you never knew if you would come out of the tunnel alive.

jackferry on May 12, 2008 at 3:13 am

Ken, don’t pick on the poor trolley. They were green and clean before anyone ever heard of that. (It’s great to see them back on Girard Avenue.)

Betzee on May 12, 2008 at 2:04 pm

The reason the trolley went the way of many movie theatres in Philadelphia is because there was no safe way to pass them. Once you got behind one, you were stuck. Other cities had them running in the middle of the street and the auto lanes on the outside. But not ours, and this sealed their fate….

kencmcintyre on August 15, 2009 at 12:16 am

This is from the Gettysburg Times in July 1949:

Philadelphia, July 13â€" A man was shot in the back today by a policeman who surprised two men attempting to break into a theater safe in northeast Philadelphia. At Frankford hospital, William Miller, 31, was reported in critical condition. The .38 calibre bullet passed through his body. Patrolman Hugh Campbell, 62, said he was walking past the Crest theater at 2:30 a.m. when he heard a muffled thud as the safe was overturned. Listening at the door he heard the sound of a chisel on steel and quickly commanded a taxi to summon other policemen.

Cinedelphia on February 1, 2010 at 2:38 am

Only was at the Crest once…saw Scarface on a second run. Don’t remember much about the theater, except it had a much larger screen than the GCC Northeast 4 abomination that I saw the film at during it’s first run. I regret having not taken more advantage of attending the old Northeast Philly neighborhood theaters back when I moved to Philly in 1979.

calcynic on October 17, 2010 at 4:39 pm

The last flix I saw at the Crest were a John Waters film festival. It had gotten pretty shabby.

elwood on September 9, 2012 at 2:20 am

I used to go to crest movie theatre and there was also a great seafood place across the street with the best clam stew but I can not recall the name any takers

rivest266 on May 22, 2014 at 12:33 am

Grand opening in the 5th column at or photo section

rivest266 on October 7, 2016 at 9:09 pm

November 23rd, 1937 grand opening ad in photo section

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