Trans-Lux Theatre

200 Colonial Park Plaza,
Harrisburg, PA 17109

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Trans-Lux Movies Corp.

Architects: Drew Eberson

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Trans-Lux Theatre

The Trans-Lux Theatre was one of but a few theatres that was built from the ground up specifically for Cinerama. It was located in the Colonial Park Plaza Shopping Center seating 1,000. The luxury theatre was equipped to present films in 70mm, 35mm and the new at the time D-150 process. The Trans-Lux Theatre was opened on September 21, 1966 with Omar Sharif in “Doctor Zhivago”.

The theatre was done in a contemporary design, with landscaped exterior gardens, the façade featured a large amount of glass.

The lobby had walls of red and bronze textured vinyl, contrasted with terrazzo floors of beige and white. Past the antique white box office through another set of doors was the lobby where a vast expanse of custom designed black and gold carpeting starts and leads into the auditorium.

The auditorium walls were lined with flowing gold shadowed striped draperies. The 1,000 seats were the self rising style which were the latest available at the time. The seating sightline was engineered to permit excellent vision. The carpeting extended to the stage and practically touched the curved screen.

The projection and sound system utilized a Victoria projector which was a multi purpose 70mm and 35mm unit. It was coupled with six channel high fidelity stereo sound. Thirteen loudspeakers surrounded the backstage and auditorium area. The Cinerama screen measured 70ft by 35ft on the curve.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

muviebuf on November 26, 2004 at 9:53 pm

Sadly the Trans-Lux lasted as single screen for only about nine (9) years before being twinned up with a wall up the middle in what was a typical of the hatchet jobs of that era. In an attempt to soundproof they made the center wall of extra thickness resulting in two long bowling alleys with screens near the top of the ceiling. (It did seem to help sound bleed however). The Trans Lux name for the twin operations was the Blue and Gold theatres (each was done in seperate matching colors). While still in Trans Lux hands at least the theatre was maintened with some degree of quality.

The Trans Lux was sold the twin in the late in the late 70’s to Sam Shapiro’s Eric Corporation of Philadelphia. Sameric Theatres (as they were known) had a “zero maintence” philosophy for all of their locations and the theatre soon fell into disrepair.

In 1986 the Colonial Park Mall wished to expand the mall space out into the parking lot where the then free-standing theatre stood. Thus Sameric got to open a 4 plex inside the mall itself (which is still operating today by FunTimeCinemas as a discount house) in exchange for giving up its lease and letting the mall tearing down the old Trans Lux.

Soon after acquistion by Sameric the Trans-Lux’s 70MM Victoria Projectors were taken a few miles down the road and installed in the Eric East Park Center. The East Park’s set of Century 70MM JJ were in turn installed somewhere in Philadelphia (I believe it may have even been the Boyd).

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on March 10, 2005 at 3:50 am

I think the original Trans-Lux Theatre that ever opened was The Trans-Lux Theatre on Market Street, Philadelphia. This theatre later closed as Eric’s Place Theatre under either the Sameric Theatres or United Artists Theatres ownership.

dennisczimmerman on March 10, 2005 at 7:30 am

The Trans Lux Theatre was on Chestnut St. It was closed before United Artists purchased the Sameric chain of theatres.

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on May 17, 2005 at 2:22 am

My fault on location of Trans-Lux Philadelphia. I knew the Eric’s Place (Trans-Lux)Theatre closed between June 1991 and May 1993, but Sameric Theatres was already owned by United Artists.

UA used the Eric Theatres name on almost all of their Philadelphia operations from 1988 to 1991/93, with the exception of UA Cheltenham Square 8, which opened after Merton Shapiro sold Sameric Theatres Co. to United Artists in 1988.

carolgrau on June 19, 2009 at 4:24 am

The Trans Lux had a pair of cinemacannica V8’s at first with Strong Futura II lamps. When they twined they took 2 V8’s from a theatre in Lebanon Pa. put platters in Leb. and 4 V8’s in Harrisburg. Trans- Lux is now a Boscov’s department store.. The Eric East Park Center opened with Norelco AA II’s 35/70 Never ever had a JJ in the place.Get your facts straight.

n8urboy on March 4, 2013 at 3:02 am

Correction to the above message from carolgrau: The original location of the Trans-Lux Theatre is now an open parking area adjacent to, and south of, the Colonial Park Library. The Boscov’s Department Store now stands where the Colonial Lounge & Bowling Alley once stood. I was hired as manager of the theatre in June, 1966, stayed through it’s construction and grand opening, and resigned shortly thereafter, in October, 1966. I found it impossible to work under New York management.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 23, 2021 at 11:06 am

The September 21, 1966 issue of Motion Picture Exhibitor said that the new Trans-Lux Theatre in Harrisburg was slated to open that night with “Doctor Zhivago.”

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