Fans Theatre

4032 Market Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19104

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Additional Info

Architects: William Harold Lee

Previous Names: Knickerbocker Theatre, Fays Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Fans Theatre

The Knickerbocker Theatre opened August 31, 1914, and stood on Market Street near N. Preston Street. The theatre was designed by William H. Lee and could seat 1,826. In 1919, the theatre was renamed the Fays Theatre, which it remained until 1948, when it received another new, albeit fairly similar (and unusual) name, the Fans Theatre. The Fans Theatre closed on August 25, 1963 while screening Vincent Price in “Diary of a Madman”, when sections of the ceiling began to fall (due to thieves on the roof trying to steal the roof exhaust fan which fell through the ceiling). It was demolished a year later.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 15, 2005 at 6:31 pm

In 1919 Mr. Edward M. Fay bought the Knickerbocker Theatre and gave it his name. He was also associated with a group of theatres he owned in Providence, Rhode Island, where he was born. One of them, Fays Theatre, also bore his name and was a famous vaudeville house in that city. He had also managed the National Theatre in Rochester and acquired the McKinley Square Theater in Manhattan. This information comes from a biographical entry for Fay in the volume Rhode Island – Three Centuries of Democracy.

kencmcintyre on May 8, 2009 at 7:44 pm

I’m trying to place this theater at 40th and Market, photo is from 1949. It looks like it says “Ericka” on the marquee. If you recognize it let me know.

rivest266 on October 8, 2016 at 5:13 pm

August 23rd, 1914 grand opening ad in the photo section. It opened on the 31st.

dallasmovietheaters on February 20, 2022 at 7:07 pm

The Fans Theatre closed during an August 25, 1963 showing of “Diary of a Madman.” Kids running across the roof looking for a free way into the theatre near a skylight resulted in plaster falling 100 feet and injuring patrons. The Fans had a reported crowd of 600 at the time of the incident. The theatre was listed as “Closed for repairs; open soon.” But, apparently, the 50th Anniversary in 1964 was not meant to be.

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