Cross Keys Theatre
5931 Market Street,
2 people favorited this theater
Previously operated by: Stanley-Warner Theatres, Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.
Architects: Paul J. Henon, Jr., William H. Hoffman
Firms: Hoffman-Henon Co.
Opened with vaudeville on December 28, 1914. It was soon taken over by the Stanley-Warner Theaters chain. The Cross Keys Theatre seated 1,995, and was located on Market Street near Salford Street. It was on the same block as the Globe Theatre and Coliseum/Mayfair Theatre. All three theatres were designed by the firm of Hoffman-Henon Co. By 1915 it was screening movies as part of the vaudeville program and was converted into a full-time movie theatre when it was equipped with sound in the late-1920’s. In 1928 a Kimball organ was installed
The Cross Keys Theatre operated as a movie house until Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp. Inc. closed it on April 12, 1953 with Marilyn Monroe in “Niagara” & Rock Hudson in “The Lawless Breed”.
It remained unused for several years, and in November 1957 became the Orchid Auditorium which also contained a restaurant. Live events were held until 1962 when it closed and was later demolished to become a parking lot.
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.
Recent comments (view all 5 comments)
There is a complete description of the Crosskeys and the Philadelphia Theatres in Irv Glazer’s book “Philadelphia Theatre, A-Z. The Crosskeys was part of the Sablosky and McGuirk Vaudeville circuit that became part of the Stanley Company of America and subsequently Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corporation.
Here is a more recent view. The Enforcer art gallery is at 5932 Market. If you pan across the street to the other side of Market, the vacant lot is where the Crosskeys was.
The theater would have been on the northeast corner of Market and Salford, according to the map.
The spot where the Cross keys once stood is now a parking lot (across the street from the picture). I confirmed the location using the 1942 atlas (link below) and google street view.
John J. McGuirk and Stanley Amusement Circuit built the new Cross Keys (two words) Theatre in 1914 with a new Woolworth’s store around the corner also built and opening at the same time. The new Cross Keys opened with vaudeville including Kute, Kunning and Klever - a children’s team - and Blake’s Circus - a trained animal act on December 28, 1914. The theatre was bathed in a color palette of rose, ivory and gold. Vaudeville presented by Stanley’s Sablosky and McGuirk began to be supplanted more commonly with movies in 1923 and 1924 and, by decade’s end, the Cross Keys converted to sound and became a movie house. Sadly, assistant Manager Max Harris was gunned down in the theatre on march 28, 1928.
Stanley-Warner Circuit closed the Cross Keys permanently on April 12, 1953 with “Niagra” and “The Lawless Breed.” After a period of inactivity, Jerry P. Altman sold the Cross Keys Theatre to Jerry P. Altman who turned it into the Orchid Auditorium with a restaurant in November of 1957. It held sporadic live events for five years. It was later demolished.