College Theatre

627 S. Chester Road,
Swarthmore, PA 19081

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dallasmovietheaters on May 7, 2022 at 6:12 pm

The College Theatre launched on September 20, 1946 with “Waltz Time.” It appears to have closed with “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” on December 5, 1987. If so, that’s a good way to go out.

ronnie21 on February 2, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Closed in March of 87. I think the last movie that played here was hannah and her sisters.. and star trek IV played here a week before that.

ronnie21 on September 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm

another case of a theater where one week you would have blood beach and the next week snow white…

ronnie21 on September 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm

I noticed that the college theater played moslty exploitation and B horror movies between 1979-1982, mainly 80 and 81.. but by 1983, they went more main stream, by 84 on up, they were like family and bigger budget films..

ronnie21 on July 19, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Nightmare on elm street played here for like a week in july of 85…

ronnie21 on January 18, 2012 at 6:13 pm

chuck, i really wish i was old enough to see movies at this theater. I pass it by almost everyday. You can see in the back of the shopping center that the one part of it stands out really far in the back, thats where the theater was….

ronnie21 on January 13, 2012 at 1:45 pm

college theater from May 1983.

ronnie21 on October 9, 2011 at 10:04 pm

what happened to the 1983 photo that was on here??

ronnie21 on September 7, 2011 at 3:50 pm

Mad Max shown here in 1980 also…

ronnie21 on May 14, 2011 at 6:59 am

Any more memories or info on this theater would be appreciated. For example, i wonder what year they changed everything and turned it into a business office? Did the theater sit for a few years once it closed??

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on March 2, 2011 at 9:36 pm

The College Theatre was operated by Budco Theatres, from at least August 1974.

ronnie21 on February 26, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Mother’s day was shown here in sept of 1980.

ronnie21 on November 18, 2010 at 2:34 pm

wow, lucky you seeing forbidden world on the big screen. I wish i could have. Do you recall how the concession stand looked. or the theater itself how nice was it??

BRTarnoff on October 3, 2010 at 7:57 am

I grew up in a house across the street from The College, from the 60’s to the 80’s. The first film I was ever taken to was there, Born Free. I remember seeing 2001: A Space Odyssey there multiple times. I saw Jaws there on it’s first run, and Raging Bull. The films that played there varied in type from kiddie features to the more mature films of the ‘70’s. They even occasionally showed foreign movies here (possibly to draw the university crowd from Swarthmore College). When Nagisa Oshima’s In The Realm of the Senses played there, it was picketed for its supposed erotic content (it’s a beautifully photographed but extremely tedious movie about a self destructive affair between a fallen samurai and a geisha, very unsexy arthouse pseudo porn).

I think it was an independent house originally, the Budco chain bought it in the late 70’s or early 80’s I think, but they didn’t know what to do with it and it became a cheaper second run house before it died. It was built in the middle of a row of shops on one level, so that the lobby had a fairly steep upward rake from street level, to accommodate the more gentle downward rake of the auditorium. Due to the floor structure, I believe it was partly demolished, the front facade and half courtyard were removed,
bringing the front of the row of shops into one continuous line. (You can see the former site on Google Street View View link)

Near the end I remember seeing a lot of bad low budget sci fi there, including Starcrash, and, as noted above Forbidden World (which was the second part of a double feature, during the opening credits I remember someone in the audience shouting “No wonder it’s Forbidden, it sucks!” which has become a running joke for my friends who were there ever since.

Mikeoaklandpark on July 15, 2010 at 9:49 am

As I rememebr they showed Rocky Horror every weekend when I lived there in 1982 and 83

TLSLOEWS on June 10, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Nice 1983 photo.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 9, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Strange double feature a kid movie and an R rated Flick.

ronnie21 on December 24, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Films. show here. were. Night Shift 1982. fast times 1982. humongous 1982, The Exterminator 1980.. And final exam 1981. and Forbdden World 1982.. to name a few.

ronnie21 on December 24, 2009 at 9:17 pm

This theater closed around spring of 1987, right when the big AMCS started coming around. Lots of low budjet horror films have shown here..

raymondstewart on April 20, 2007 at 5:31 am

My first memory of going to a hardtop was at the College. I believe it was the initial release of The Jungle Book, but it could have been one of the many releases and re-releases of the Disney films in the late 60’s.