Merben Theater

7145 Frankford Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19135

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dallasmovietheaters on February 18, 2022 at 4:03 am

The Merben Theater was opened on August 16, 1950 with “The Big Hangover.” It closed with the Philly favorite, “Rocky,” on October 6, 1977.

dawnd on June 20, 2015 at 4:53 pm

I saw Jaws there when it first came out in 1975. It played there for a year right before the theatre closed. I remember that cavernous auditorium well. There was a terrible thunderstorm that day, and it made the movie even more scary! Tomorrow I’m going to see it again on the big screen for the 40th anniversary, although I’ll be 3000 miles away from where I first saw it. It’ll be awesome!

rivest266 on May 24, 2014 at 11:58 pm

Grand opening ad at

also in the photo section

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on August 21, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Funny,I saw “OLIVER” with my Cousin when visited me in Georgia from Ohio.

Cinedelphia on January 31, 2010 at 6:09 pm

I saw “Oliver” at the Merben when I was a kid visiting my cousins in NE Philly. I recall it being a decent sized theater in relativly good shape at the time. I do remember it being on the narrow side which limited the size of the screen, especially for ‘scope presentations.

HowardBHaas on March 30, 2006 at 7:23 am

Sam’s son Merton ran the Sameric Corporation after Sam died. A grandson, Eric died young & was memoralized by the naming of so many of the theaters as Eric. I don’t about others.

hondo59 on March 30, 2006 at 7:15 am

I read in the MIDWAY Theater entry that MERBEN name came from the first three letters of his sons' names.

HowardBHaas on March 30, 2006 at 6:57 am

Magaziner was the architect. Shapiro was the client. The Boyd theater later knew Shapiro as he who bought it in 1971 for the Sameric Corporation. Irv Glazer’s hardback book on Philadelphia theaters makes clear that Shapiro was the client.

hondo59 on March 30, 2006 at 6:31 am

I agree with Jack. The Merben was completely razed and a parking lot occupies what was auditorium area. The walkway between the existing buildings was the entrance/boxoffice area.
I didn’t know that the Concord Roller Rink was NOT a theater. It looks as though it was converted into a roller rink.

jackferry on December 21, 2005 at 1:41 pm

Nearly the entire Merben building was taken down for use as a parking lot. The storefronts along Frankford Avenue that were in front of the Merben were kept. The Merben was at 7145 Frankford Ave. The Mr. Storage place at 7049 used to be the Concord Roller Rink. I understand the Concord was originally planned to be a theater, but was actually built specifically for use as a roller rink. (I spent many Saturdays in the 70s at the Concord and the Merben.)

For what its worth, 7049 Frankford was sold in September 2005 for $1.2 million.

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on December 4, 2005 at 6:16 am

Either way, this theatre was ,as I recall, that Sam Shapiro owned seperately from his Sameric Theatres chain.

The 2 Sam Shapiro theatre building owned propteries, the Midway Theatre and the Uptown Theatre, were leased to Pacific Theatres' RKO Stanley Warner Theatres division, until they closed, in the Midway’s case, 1977-79.

raymondgordonsears on October 24, 2005 at 11:44 am

hdtv267, Is the storage building at 7149 the old skate rink? It looks like it was a movie theater at one time. rg

raymondgordonsears on October 24, 2005 at 10:37 am

hdtv267, I was on Frankford Ave. today and the Merben is the medical office. The next block down at 7149 is a building with the marquee made over and what appears to be the lobby the entrance to the storage area which would be the aud. IS this the old skate rink. rg

raymondgordonsears on August 29, 2005 at 1:15 pm

The shell of this theatre is a storage center with the upright sign still there. The name MERBEN is gone. The medical center is next to it.

JamesCraven on August 29, 2005 at 1:36 am

The property is now a medical office building and parking lot.

raymondgordonsears on April 1, 2005 at 4:50 pm

Saturday May 6.1961 this theatre was playing “BEN HUR” Exclusive N.E. showing. 2 Shows 1:30 and 8pm. Roadshow engagement. rg

geormarin on January 28, 2005 at 5:38 pm

i have 2 great memories of the MERBEN the early 70’s they screened “the alamo” and “gone with the wind”.i wasn’t around in 1940 so seeing “gwtw” on the big screen was a great thrill.

veyoung52 on November 27, 2004 at 8:54 pm

I remember a large projection booth positioned below the balcony but elevated off of the orchestra floor. There were also television sets on view in the downstairs lobby for those who wanted to view this latest wonder. It didn’t go out with a whimper, though. One of its final attractions, “One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest,” ran for what seemed to be months on end.