Fans Theatre

4032 Market Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19104

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Loew's Inc.

Architects: William Harold Lee

Previous Names: Knickerbocker Theatre, Fay's Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Fans Theatre

The Knickerbocker Theatre opened by Marcus Loew on August 31, 1914 with the play “Bought and Paid For”, vaudeville and a photoplay. It stood on Market Street near N. Preston Street. The theatre was designed by William H. Lee and could seat 1,826. In 1918 Loew’s sold the theatre to Edward Fay and the theatre was renamed the Fay’s Theatre. In 1925 a Kimball organ was installed. Edward Fay sold the theatre in 1931. In 1948, it received another new, albeit fairly similar (and unusual) name, the Fans Theatre. The Fans Theatre closed on August 25, 1963 while screening a triple bill program: Vincent Price in “Diary of a Madman”, Stewart Granger in “Gun Glory” & Glenn Ford in “The Sheepman”. On that day 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 6 comments)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 15, 2005 at 10:31 am

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 11:44 am

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 9:13 am

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

dallasmovietheaters on February 20, 2022 at 11:07 am

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.

DavidZornig on January 12, 2023 at 5:21 pm

August 25, 1963 photo added courtesy Brook Solway. “Gun Glory” 1957 and “The Sheepman” 1958 were also being shown the day the theatre closed.

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