Folly Theater

654 W. 26th Street,
Erie, PA 16508

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Folly Theater

This small neighborhood theater is located on West 26th Street in Erie, Pennsylvania and opened on May 19, 1915, operating thru to 1952.

“It was used as an antique store but as of my last visit there in 1995 the present owners had retained the screen and original flooring. Most of the seats were removed. I suggested that perhaps old movies or newsreels could be shown while people shopped for antiques. Perhaps the owner has done this in subsequent years.” It became an indoor flea market which had closed by August 2019. It had been demolished by 2023.

Contributed by David Stear

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

vickaronomie on June 28, 2009 at 11:48 am

It breaks my heart every time I visit Folleys Antique Mall (aka, the Junk Store…) It still has the slanted floor, screen, and remnants of a curtain, but everything is rotted and water-damaged to hell! There were no remaining theater seats last I went (which was in 2007,) and for the hell of it, I plan to go in the near future to take indoor photos for all to see. Behind all the peeling paint and mold, there is a beautiful theater and I only wish I had the means to buy it off of the current owners, clean it out, restore it and once again show movies there. God knows this neighborhood needs something like this theater…

dstear on October 13, 2009 at 10:29 pm

I agree with Vickaronomie—if I had the money Bill Gates has one of my “pastimes” would be to fix up old theaters like this and have them show whatever I wanted especially when I would breeze into town; it wouldn’t matter if it made a profit since it would be endowed to stay open for my pleasure! Aside from that bit of fantasy though, I’m wondering if someone in Erie or maybe even a city/state government partnership with private funding could restore the remaining theaters in Erie and show mainly stuff like Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons and Pathe News newsreels. I have no clue where as complete a selection of old newsreels and cartoons could be found but I think a venture like this could be good for tourism if nothing else and we all know a place as dreary as Erie needs something fun and original like this.

Charlie_Brown1 on August 7, 2013 at 7:57 pm

This theater reopened for a short time in the early 1960’s. I saw Lou Costello’s last movie there, “The Forty Foot Bride of Candy Rock without Bud Abbott. That was the first and only time I was there and I wish I could go again.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 25, 2014 at 6:40 pm

The Folly Theatre is on a 1918 list of Erie’s theaters that can be found on this page at Old Time Erie, though the address is given as 648 W. 26th Street. The May 22, 1915, issue of The Music Trade Reviewnoted that the Folly Theatre in Erie had just opened. It, too, gives the old address of 648 26th Street.

This web page has a biographical sketch of B. G. Neyland, published in 1925. It says that he founded the Folly Theatre at 654 W. 26th Street in 1915, so the address was changed sometime between 1915 and 1925.

Frank Albrecht
Frank Albrecht on March 10, 2016 at 4:35 pm

Trolleyguy on December 29, 2020 at 12:00 pm

Google Streetview of August 2019 shows the building for sale and seemingly unopen.

matthewthecinemaguy on April 19, 2022 at 5:52 am

The theater was owned by Cooperative Theater Service in 1945.

rivest266 on June 11, 2023 at 12:34 pm

The Folly placed its first ad on May 19th, 1915 and closed or placed its last ad in 1952. Ad posted.

fabulousfubby on August 7, 2023 at 10:01 am

The Folly Theatre is now sitting abandoned, the flea market closed a few years ago and left everything inside untouched.

Frank Albrecht
Frank Albrecht on October 31, 2023 at 10:22 pm

Unfortunately it’s been torn down; I managed to save two bricks from it. It’s such a shame. I doubt any of the remaining closed theatres in Erie being used as warehouses still have the screen/proscenium/sloped floor in them.

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