Fox North Theatre

Opened as the Fox Theatre on 21, Aug. 1964 and  was located in the Muhlenberg Shopping Center on the 5th Street Highway (Rt.222), just north of Reading. The Fox Theatre was renamed the Fox North Theatre when Fox opened the Fox East Theatre on 3 May, 1971. The Fox North Theatre was equipped for 70mm film. It had one screen and boasted 525 seats.

Fox North Theatre
Grand Opening article in the August 21st, 1964 Reading Eagle

The Fox Theatre was built and operated by Fox Theatres of Reading PA. The original manager of the Fox was Paul Angstadt who later became mayor of Reading.

At that time Fox Theatres of Reading was a weak sister in the Reading market. The Reading market was considered by the distributors at that time to be part of the Philadelphia territory and thus Fox was competing for product with the Colonial (Stanley Warner), the Embassy (Fabian), the Astor (William Goldman) and later the Eric (Sameric). All of these major chains had a large presence in Philadelphia and product was often split and pictures were often ‘blocked booked’ based upon a chain’s control of what was happening in Philadelphia. Since Fox Theatres of Reading did not have any venues in Philadelphia they often struggled to get pictures for the Fox in Reading despite being a premium 70MM house.

“I remember at one time the Fox was reduced to playing Deep Throat in 1972 for lack of product. Although the Fox did play Star Wars for over a year, it was then unable to secure “Empire Strikes Back” which played across the street on one side of the Eric bowling alley twin in mono sound while the 70MM Fox played some third rate piece of junk in 35mm. According to what we were told at the time Empire had been block booked into all of the Sameric theatres in the Philadelphia territory which is why the Fox could not get Empire.” – Muviebuf – Cinema Treasures

Fox North Theatre
Fox North Theatre pictured in 1982

The theatre closed in 1988, and the building is currently housed by a Pep Boys.

Ritz Theatre

The Ritz Theatre was located at 819 Penn Street, across from the Kissinger-Farmer’s Market. It was originally called the Crescent Theatre when it opened:

The Crescent Theatre was opened in 1910. In 1913 it was renamed Princess Theatre. It was re-named Arcadia Theatre in 1928, taking the name of the Arcadia Theatre which had burnt down that year. Closed for several years in the 1930’s, it was reopened as the Ritz Theatre in 1941. By 1950, it was operated by the Fabian Theaters chain. It was demolished in the 1950’s. –Cinema Treasures

A 1928 Reading Eagle article:

The Ritz Theatre was torn down in 1950s to make room for a parking lot.

Fabian Theatre at the Berkshire Mall

A single-screen cinema, the movie theatre in the Berkshire Mall, showed its first feature August 26, 1970.  It sat where Firehouse Subs and Five Below are now. The venue would be in operation until 1982. From 1970-1973 it was owned by Fabian Theatre, 1973-1982 United Artists and called Movies 1 2 3. It was expanded across the street to Berkshire Mall West, where Old Country Buffet used to be. Eventually it moved to it’s current location at 800 Berkshire Blvd. It was owned by Fox Theatres Management from 1982-1997, in which it was then sold to Carmike Cinemas. Carmike owned the current theatre until just a few years ago in which Fox bought it yet again.

Have any images of this theatre in it’s heyday? Would love to share them. contact@berksnostalgia.com

The closing of the mall location in 1982:

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Leows Theatre

 

The Colonial Theatre was one of Reading’s first large theatres built specifically for movies, and opened on April 15, 1917, with “Sleeping Fires”. It was operated by Carr & Schad, which had the local franchise for Paramount-Artcraft releases. In September, 1925, the Loew’s Inc. circuit took over and ran the Colonial Theatre through its peak years as home for all the major MGM releases, including “Gone With the Wind”.

In 1963, Loew’s declined to renew its lease when it expired, and Stanley Warner took over for five years. In 1968, some “indies” took over but lasted only one year.

The Colonial Theatre closed in 1969 and was demolished in 1970 to make way for a shopping mall that was never built. A similar fate awaited its rival and near neighbor, the Embassy Theatre.

Source: Cinema Treasures