Vernon Theatre

5508 Germantown Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19144

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.

Firms: Druckenmiller & Stackhouse

Styles: Baroque

Previous Names: Germantown Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Vernon Theatre

The Germantown Theatre, formerly located at 5508 Germantown Avenue, just above School House Lane, was one of Germantown’s earliest theatres. It had 1,168 seats and was built at a cost of $50,000. When built in 1910, it was dubbed “The Pride of Germantown”. This was an all-purpose theatre used for stage shows, stock productions and movies. Like most theatres built back in the early days, it also had a Wurlitzer organ that was used to entertain between shows and at intermission. This instrument had 3 manuals, This theatre was distinctive in its ornate exterior façade arch, which was also duplicated inside.

On October 25, 1940, the Germantown Theatre was renamed Vernon Theatre and used solely for movies, operated by Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp. and opening with Tyrone Power in “Brigham Young, Frontiersman”. At that time it was given a modern plain façade. It was purchased and closed on May 27, 1951 with Doris Day in “Lullaby of Broadway”. The intention was to convert it into stores and offices, but it was demolished later in 1951.

A fenced off garden now occupies the space.

Contributed by DennisMcG

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

DennisMcG on June 15, 2006 at 7:41 am

I have a picture of the Germantown Theatre (before it was the Vernon)and will upload it once the photo feature is restored here.

DennisMcG on September 2, 2006 at 2:24 pm

I was born and raised in Germantown. This theatre closed before my time. Curious about it though. Anybody remember what it looked like inside? Email me at or post what you remember here. Thanks.

dodgerg on October 30, 2006 at 12:02 pm

In the mid to late 1940s, my parents used to take me into Germantown on Friday or Saturday nights for dinner and a movie. We would often eat at Horn & Hardart’s Automat on Germantown Ave.(my favorite), or a place called, I think, the “Green Street Tavern”, or “Lackies”. For a special dinner we would sometimes go to the more expensive “Imhof"s” on Chelton Ave.. After dinner we would go to one of the three nearby movie theaters: the “Orpheum” on Chelton Ave; the “Vernon” on Germantown Ave.; or the smallest of the three, the “Band Box” on a little side street off Germantown Ave. I remember seeing “Song of the South” at the Orpheum — which came out in 1946. I hope this info is helpful in dating these wonderful old movie houses.

dodgerg on October 30, 2006 at 12:18 pm

I must augment my previous posting about those “three nearby theaters” in 1940s Germantown. There were actually four. I almost forgot about the “Colonial”, one of the larger theaters, on Germantown Ave.

acer42 on July 18, 2007 at 5:40 pm

On page 47 of the Vestal Press’s reprint of the Wurlitzer Unit Organ brochure, there is a fine photo of the Germantown Theatre’s interior (stage view).

Fitlergrad on October 19, 2008 at 6:04 pm

I attended the “Grand Opening” of the refurbished Vernon Theater, formerly the Germantown. The movie that played was Brigham Young. So we can pretty well set 1941 as the beginning date for the Vernon.

dodgerg on October 19, 2008 at 11:49 pm

Wow. Thank you Steltz.

TheALAN on January 13, 2014 at 11:47 pm

From “Theatres of Germantown” — by Dennis McGlinchey
Germantown Theatre / Vernon Theatre:

“ … At some point in the 1930s, the theatre was remodeled and re-opened as the Vernon Theatre. The seating capacity was reduced from 1,800 to 1,168 seats. … ”

This timespan is the closest I can come to when the name was changed. Until someone is able to provide a more definitive date, “circa 1930s” will have to suffice. I may be able to get a closer date from Philadelphia’s L & I. If so, I’ll share.

TheALAN on April 23, 2015 at 9:39 pm

Today, the site remains an empty lot, covered with vegetation.

dallasmovietheaters on February 9, 2022 at 4:01 pm

The rebranded Vernon Theatre launched for Warner on October 25, 1940 with “Brigham Young Frontiersman.” Stanley Warner closed it on May 27, 1951 with Doris Day in “Lullaby of Broadway.” A salvage sale occurred in June and July of 1951 prior to and as the theatre was being razed.

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