Saturday, January 12, 2013

Strand Theatre Shows Ben Hur in Erie PA

Strand Theatre photo contributed by John E. Baker. Photo ©John E. Baker 2012.
This awesome time-lapse photo of the Strand Theatre in Erie, PA was taken by John E. Baker in 1960. Ben Hur, the massively popular film that won eleven Academy Awards, was in its '10th Great Week' when this shot was taken. Movie fans stood in line to purchase tickets at the outdoor ticket window on the left side of the building. The theater's marquee was bright enough that you could see it from a couple of blocks away at night. 

This is a shot of the newer Strand Theatre at 13 West 10th St. in Erie, Pennsylvania, which is currently occupied by the Erie Playhouse. It was designed by architect Victor A. Rigaumont, and opened in 1948. The Strand had 977 seats and in a stadium style setup. (The old Strand, located at 922 State St., was demolished.)

The Strand was operated as a movie house for many years, managed by Milford 'Shorty' Parker. 'Jaws' scared the living daylights out of me on this screen. You don't get the same effect on a TV set. Other people remember seeing Spartacus, Love Story, To Sir With Love, Enter the Dragon, King Kong, Halloween, Purple Rain and midnight showings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Lots of great memories were made at the Strand.

Shea's Theatre, across the street from the Strand, also had midnight showings:

Enjoy more historic facts and photos of Erie, PA at:


  1. I went on my first date there. We went and saw To Sir With Love.....

  2. The old Strand was seedy. As a child, I never felt all that comfortable going in there. Mom or dad would drop me and my friends off to spend the WHOLE DAY at the movie theater. I remember seeing Phantom of the Opera there. I loved the Warner theater.

  3. Back in 1966-1967, I met my future wife, Carol, at the Strand. She was an usherette and I was an usher working there under Shorty Parker and Alice Potter. Still together after all these years.