Loews Colonial Theatre - Reading PA

The Loew’s Colonial Theatre

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1939 premier of “Gone with the Wind”. Photo probably from a Passing Scene by George & Gloria Meiser, colorized by me

The Colonial Theatre opened on April 16, 1917 screening the movie “Sleeping Fires”. It was one of the first theatres in Reading built specifically to display movies. Many of the older theaters had been multi-use facilities with stage performances. The Colonial Theatre was located on the north side of the 600 block of Penn Street, addressed 651. It was initially operated by Carr & Schad, which held the local franchise for Paramount-Artcraft film releases. In September 1925, the Loew’s Inc. took ownership of the Colonial Theatre. The theater’s popularity peaked between the mid-1920’s and early 50’s, during which it premiered all major MGM releases, including the famous 1939 film “Gone With the Wind”.

The Colonial Theatre

The Colonial, Reading’s magnificent new home of the silent drama, will open on Monday afternoon, when this beautiful building, erected at a cost of $250,000, will open its doors to the public, presenting a brilliant combined program of classic photoplays, and a symphony concert program which will serve dedicate one of the finest theaters in the country and introduce the Reading public to their future film home.

Loew’s chose not to renew its lease after it expired in 1963 and a man named Stanley Warner took over. By 1968 it was an indie film theater which was short-lived. The Colonial Theatre closed permanently in 1969 and was demolished in the revitalization efforts of the early 1970s – specifically to make way for a shopping mall that was never built. The entire north side of the 600 block where the Colonial sat was eventually redeveloped into an office building.

The same block today

Source: cinematreasures.org

The Colonial Theatre

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Berks Nostalgia