Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Erie, PA Theaters in 1948, Warner, Columbia, Strand and more

Erie, PA Theaters in 1948: Warner, Columbia, Strand, Regent and more

Ad in the Erie Daily Times from April 2, 1948
Let's see how many Erie, Pennsylvania movie theaters that you remember. We'll start with the biggest, the Warner Theatre on State Street. If you went to the Warner on Saturday, April 3, 1948, you could see 17 big cartoons beginning at 10 a.m. for only a quarter plus tax. That included two hours of cartoons for kiddies of all ages, such as Bugs Bunny, Little Lulu, Daffy Duck and Tom and Jerry. What kid would say no to that?

You could see three big westerns at the State Theater on Friday April 2, 1948; a matinee was 25¢, the evening show was 33¢, and children cost 17¢ each, plus tax. The Columbia and the Strand offered the typical night fare with first or second run features.

There were plenty of neighborhood theaters, such as Hillcrest at 2505 Peach Street, the Folly at 26th and Poplar, the American, the Lyric at 548 West 18th Street, the Gem at 4th and Cherry, the Regent at 1019 Parade Street, the 18th Street Theater and the Aris Theater. (The Lake Theatre at 921 East 26th Street shows up in the 1957 Erie city directory.)

Warner Brothers controlled three theaters: the Warner, the Strand and the Columbia.

Here's a picture of the Warner Theatre on State Street about 1965.

Joanne Marchant Heim said, "In 1971, Congress used the anti trust law to force the movie studios to sell their theaters and Warner was forced to seel it's Warner, Strand and Stanley Theaters. The Columbia in Erie was gone by then. Warner sold the Strand and Warner in Erie to Cinemette, Inc."

Cinema 18 opened in 1968 on West 18th Street.

Here is a list of Erie movie theaters from 1918 which includes the Columbia, Folly, American, the Gem and more. In this list, the Strand was located at 922 State Street and the Majestic was at 20-22 West 10th Street. Did the Strand later move to 13 West 10th Street (the current home of the Erie Playhouse)?

Which theater was your favorite?

Enjoy more fun and fascinating reflections on the history of Erie, PA at: Old Time Erie


  1. I remember going to the movies up on E 26th street somewhere between the area of Country Fair and Wilson school. Warner was my favorite

    1. That, I believe, was the Lake Theater.

  2. .thanks for sharing

  3. I remember the Warner Theatre and on Saturdays'they ran the cartoons..sometimes 17 and sometimes 50 cartoons for 25 cents. There would be an actual line around the block! I remember Warner Bros. playing Tarzan and the scarey movie, Them,which was about giant ants...scared me half to death...the screen was very large. I remember the Sheas' Theatre where the Davis family appeared and Sammy Davis was just a young kid that could tap like no one else. His dad did some tap dancing and his Uncle, who had a wooden stump for a leg danced very well also. Even though I was about 11yrs. old, I knew that Sammy would be a star someday. He and his family stayed at the hotel by the train station for blacks. They weren't allowed to reserve a room in the Lawrence Hotel...glad those days are over! There was a stone water fountain on the corner of the Perry Square Park accross the street from what was then, the old Police station that had four water fountains and had a sign that declared "for Whites only and one for "for Blacks only...I was very young but didn't like that.

  4. remembering the lyrics theater during my childhood days, actually lived above the theater with my mother and sister, 1963-1965, just wish i could find old photos of the theater,i beleive there were only 4 apts above the theater. good old days of little italy . anonymous