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Keiths New Theatre: 1907

Keiths New Theatre: 1907

Philadelphia circa 1907. "Entrance to Keith's Theatre." When was the last time you patronized your local vaudeville house? 8x10 glass negative. View full size.



The car is a four-cylinder 1905 Locomobile Model E Touring with side-entrance tonneau. This was the year that Locomobile discontinued all of its rear-entrance tonneaus in favor of "double side-entrance" bodies.

Sadie My Creole Lady

Sheet music from 1902 - words and music by Max Hoffmann and sung by Miss Gertrude Hoffmann.

Gertrude Hoffman

was an exotic dancer who toured on the Keith-Albee vaudeville circuit for a number of years. Her name at the top of the bill in this pic probably caused more than a little curiosity since some of her dances apparently flirted with — and at least one Kansas City judge declared, overstepped — limits of moral decency. She was married to composer Max Hoffman who, incidentally, was musical director of the Ziegfeld Follies of 1907. Gertrude dropped out of the public eye by the late 1920s/early 30s as vaudeville faded. She died in 1955.

Where was it

Does anyone know what address this was? It's extraordinary!

[1116 Chestnut Street, according to the page linked to in the "Grand Entrance" comment below. - Dave]


If you look at the photo in the article that Dave lined to, you wouldn't know that it was the same building. By 1968 (when "Ice Station Zebra" - the movie that was showing in the picture - was released) the building had all of the features of the magnificent French Renaissance style facade stripped off or hidden behind the sort of "modern" glass and steel that was popular at the time.

We've all seen too many great old buildings ruined by owners and developers who were "improving" the appearance of their building, said improvements falling out of fashion as rapidly as they came into style. I hate to say it but tearing down this building was more of a mercy killing than anything else. What made it special had died long before.

RKO Radio Pictures

Gimme a K as in Keith's.

Grand Entrance

This is such a beautiful entrance! It's over the top, but I LOVE it. I hope its still around. We have lost so many beautiful buildings and have either a parking garage or a Plain Jane block building with no architectural interest.

[Demolished in 1971. More here. - Dave]

Megaphone and Bell

All the tools needed for your modern bus driver. That and muscles like Popeye to steer the darn thing.

Amazing detail and spiffy derby hats too!

This photo has so much wonderful detail - you don't know where to look first. I can't believe this was over 100 years ago! I bet the inside of the theatre is just as gorgeous as the outside!

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