Benner Theatre

6054 Castor Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19149

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theziggz on March 1, 2023 at 12:07 pm

Does anyone know the last movie that played there?

rivest266 on October 6, 2016 at 6:11 pm

January 21st, 1942 grand opening ad in photo section. Ad says 6054 Castor Av, TheALAN.

TheALAN on December 28, 2014 at 3:33 pm

The street address given for the Benner, 6056 Castor Avenue, is incorrect! During the Benner days, 6056 was an Oriental business, part of the three attached stores (6056, 6058 & 6060 Castor Ave.) on the end of the block that are connected to the former theater. The correct address for the Benner Theatre is 6052-54 Castor Avenue.

WilliamWhite on January 16, 2014 at 2:15 pm

I am now painting a watercolor (10"14") of the Benner as of the night little me was “fired”. Living on Lardner, McKinley Sts. it was my favorite theater. When finished, you may have a copy at any copying/postage cost. Bill White .

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 18, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Alan: Such discrepancies often arise from the fact that old theaters are likely to be reseated at some point in their history, reducing their original capacity in order to provide more leg room and, sometimes, wider seats. But then, both figures might come from The Film Daily Yearbook, which is not always the most reliable source, but it is often the only source we’ve got. Personally, looking at the size of the auditorium in Google’s satellite view, I’d have guessed that this house opened with more than 700 seats.

TheALAN on December 17, 2013 at 11:44 pm

There seems to be a discrepancy on the number of seats that the Benner Theatre had. On the heading, it states 450 seats while under the photo George Quirk states that the theatre opened in early-1942 with 700 seats, all on a single floor. Does anyone know for sure?

WilliamWhite on December 16, 2013 at 2:20 pm

As a 15-year old I was “fired” by the Benner’s manager, replete with his red sport coat, for failing to open the exit door at a 9 PM intermission. My “pass” was torn asunder! I vowed never to be fired again: I later spent 40 years at The Inquirer and never missed a day! Bill White of nearby Lardner Street.

Stosh on May 2, 2009 at 1:51 pm

I grew up at the corner of Frontenac and Benner in the 1950’s and each Saturday would be movie day for my pals and myself. Kids' matinees were 25 cents (evening adult admission was 75 cents).

Kids' shows were typically a few cartoons, a serial and a Western, but some Saturdays featured special all-cartoon shows. There were on-stage yo-yo demonstrations and contests sponsored by the two big yo-yo companies, Cheerio and Duncan.

My first real date was with a girl on my
named Sheila. We were both around 10 at the time and our parents let us go to the movies together – at night, yet – and we walked there and back.

Saw lots of great movies there; I especially remember the horror flicks like ‘Attack Of The Crab Monsters’ and great movies like ‘Three Coins In The Fountain’, ‘Seven Brides For Seven Brothers’ and ‘G.I. Joe’ and remember the huge lobby and the handsomely-decorated theater quite well, considering that I left Philly 50 years ago :–))

Great memories!

kencmcintyre on September 14, 2007 at 8:26 pm

The Benner, Tyson, Erlen, Crest and Castor were all run by A.M. Ellis Theaters of Philadelphia in the early eighties. General manager was Martin Ellis. I had a girlfriend in NE Philly at that time and went to most of these. I don’t remember the Erlen, though. We also spent a lot of time at the Orleans 8 and the GCC Northeast.

HowardBHaas on September 4, 2007 at 11:45 am

shown last night on Fox TV Channel 29 news as an office building now, part of story on closure of AMC Orleans 8:
View link

kencmcintyre on January 22, 2007 at 6:08 pm

Here is a short article on some local theaters:

hondo59 on March 15, 2006 at 11:17 am

The Merben had 2000 seats on one floor and it had an odd projection booth that seemed to be suspended within the auditorium. Remember? I’ll bet you saw all those films for less than one admission price today…

kidimi on March 15, 2006 at 9:33 am

In the summer after fourth grade, in a single week before I went to camp, my mother and I saw eight movies in seven nights at these theaters. I will always remember that fondly. I especially loved seeing the double feature PLANET OF THE APES and FANTASTIC VOYAGE. I think that was at the Merben.

hondo59 on March 15, 2006 at 5:34 am

I saw “Starman” at the Benner in early 1985 so it was open until then. This was one of several neighborhood theaters in the NE that were still open in the 1970s and into the 1980s – Tyson, Castor, Crest, Mayfair, Merben. The Devon was showing x-rated fare at this time before changing back to standard movies as the others closed. They all showed 2nd-run movies. The Mayfair and Merben showed double features.

kidimi on September 14, 2005 at 8:52 am

Isn’t there also still a Lenny’s Hot Dogs in South Philly?

raymondgordonsears on August 14, 2005 at 3:26 pm

Just passed this location on Friday, it is a medical office. rg

Budcoboy71 on June 7, 2005 at 1:52 am

I saw the movie Airplane here as a kid. We lived in the 6600 block of Horrocks street and I remember that my friend and I walked here by ourselves, enjoyed the movie and walked back home again without incident — no parents present. I dont think a coupla 8 year olds could do that kind of thing today. Things were so different back then. Anyone remmeber Lenny’s Hot Dog’s that was down the street from this theater? Lenny’s had this crazy red, white & blue circus motif going on and (to my recollection) only served hot dogs & sodas…etc.

Cinedelphia on May 31, 2005 at 10:51 am

I saw “The Empire Strikes Back” on a second run at this theatre. It was one of the better old Oxford Circle neighborhood theatres, second only to the Orleans (before it was destroyed by twinning). A wide theatre with a real large wall to wall Cinemascope screen but no Dolby Surround or stereo capacity.

JamesCraven on March 30, 2005 at 6:14 am

Today, the building serves mostly as a medical office center.

sears on July 3, 2004 at 7:50 pm

The theatre closed Nov. 1985. It was a brick building with one story stores