Catch a Movie and See a Teen Idol in South Philly


A bustling hub of the Philadelphia public transportation network, the intersection of Broad Street and Snyder Avenue is still a place where a person can get a hot meal and the latest news. The lavish, 2183-seat Broadway Theater (seen in the background) opened in 1913, originally featuring Keith Vaudeville productions. It had been converted into a full-time movie house by the time this photo was taken in 1949. The theatre no longer stands; it was demolished in 1971 and has been replaced by various commercial ventures.

The nearby subway stop may seem like an unlikely incubator for singing talent, but many popular artists honed their chops beneath its entrance. Nearby South Philadelphia High School for Boys graduated a veritable who’s who of mid-twentieth-century singers, including Eddie Fisher, Frankie Avalon, Fabian, and Chubby Checker. Dick Clark featured these and many other of the city’s performers on American Bandstand, which aired nationally from Philadelphia on ABC-TV between 1957 and 1964.


  • “Broadway Theater.” (accessed 16 May 2006).
  • Jackson, John A. American Bandstand: Dick Clark and the Making of a Rock ‘n’ Roll Empire. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.