Lindy Theatre

6902 Elmwood Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19148

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.

Architects: William Harold Lee

Functions: Retail

Styles: Atmospheric, Oriental

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Lindy Theatre

Built on Elmwood Avenue at 69th Street, the Lindy Theatre opened March 12, 1928, with “The Jazz Singer” starring Al Jolson. Ticket prices were ten to fifteen cents in the afternoon and fifteen to twenty-five cents for evenings. The theatre was named after Charles Lindbergh, the American pilot who in 1927 became famous for the first solo, nonstop flight across the Atlantic from near New York City to Paris. The theatre was designed by architect William H. Lee and seated 1,430.

The Lindy Theatre’s entrance foyer was in Chinese green and gold, and had yellow and black tile fountains topped by Chinese-tile peaked roofs. Mandarin staircases led upstairs to the mezzanine lounge.

Philadelphia’s first semi-atmospheric auditorium was designed along the lines of a family temple in Kuangtung, China, especially with colors of black, gold and red. The decoration gave the impression of being outdoors. The walls were Chinese stone with panels in gold leaf depicting oriental flowers. Exit doors were replicas of the ancient gateways of Wanheim. The piers were surmounted by Chinese lanterns of cut stone set with panels of mica. Chinese lanterns at both ends of the auditorium had pierced iron and brass frames. Bronze deities lined the walls. The ceiling had the appearance of the midnight sky and had depictions of snowflakes, birds and butterflies. Painted ceiling beams were also of eastern style. Ceiling murals were of fire eating dragons, in gold and silver leaf.

Curtains on the 48 foot wide stage opened to reveal a proscenium drop painted to represent a wealthy Chinese home with decorated doors opening and closing before the screen. Organ chambers resembling Chinese pagoda temples flanked the proscenium and were in bronze-gold colors. A United States theatre pipe organ was in the orchestra pit.

After opening with “The Jazz Singer” the Lindy Theatre showed subsequent run movies, with films changing twice weekly. It was operated by Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp. The Lindy Theatre closed on August 28, 1952 with Anthony Steel in “Ivory Hunter” & Marie Windsor in “Outlaw Women”.

It was converted into a supermarket. The building became a thrift store and by 2019 was an indoor market named Waterside Market.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft, Howard B. Haas

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

kencmcintyre on January 9, 2010 at 7:12 am

Looking at the building today, it is unrecognizable. Just a box.

TheALAN on February 9, 2014 at 8:17 am

Isn’t this small photo copyrighted?

TheALAN on February 9, 2014 at 8:31 am

The Lindy was Philadelphia’s first semi-atmospheric theatre. The Circle Theatre, in Frankford, was Philadelphia’s only true atmospheric theatre, although it would not open until the following year, 1929. The Circle was designed by William Harold Lee, AIA (1884—1971) of Philadelphia.

dallasmovietheaters on February 17, 2022 at 5:46 pm

The Lindy Theatre closed permanently on August 28, 1952 with “Ivory Hunter” and “Outlaw Women”

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