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.

Born and raised in Berks, I am fascinated by the style, design & culture of the mid-late 20th century. I started this website to research and build a collection of the places, things and stories I have heard about my entire life. Read more here.

5 Replies to “Fox North Theatre”

  1. My Parents used to own and operate Salvator’s Pizza right next to Jack DiFrancisco’s barber shop in Muhlenburg Shopping Plaza from 1972-1978. I went to the Fox North quite often in my youth. Took my Dad to see Star Wars there on opening weekend although he snored through the entire thing. It was a grand theater compared to other suburban area theaters in Berks.

    1. Wow, I loved eating at Salvatore’s pizza, never forget the funniest story he told me about his bathtub overflowing, odd how we remember some things.

  2. I was leaving work at Weis Market in the Muhlenberg Shopping Center on my motorcycle when a guy & his small son pulled out of the Fox Theatre parking lot right in front of me, I never had time to hit the brakes and hit his car broadside and I flew over the whole car, I didn’t get hurt, but my motorcycle was totaled, I was so angry at the guy that he locked his doors and would not get out of his car until the police came! His insurance company bought me a new Motorcycle! That what I remember most about the Fox Theatre!

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