Theater Owner Never Liked the Smut Business; Philadelphia’s last X-rated movie house, Forum Theater, goes dark

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from www.nydailynews.com – It’s curtains for Philadelphia’s Forum Theater, one of the best known — and last — X-rated movie houses in the city.

The Forum showed its final porn film on Nov. 30, paving the way for a cleaned-up era on some of the last seedy blocks of Market St., a key link between east and west Philadelphia.

There are grand plans for development, including apartments, cafes and shopping, and the person behind the post-smut revitalization is none other than New York porn king Richard Basciano [pictured].

Basciano made a fortune peddling porn in Times Square during the 1970s and ‘80s at theaters like the infamous Show World. He was paid about $14 million after the state condemned his buildings during the late 1990s as Mayor Rudy Giuliani moved to clean up the area.

Basciano, 87, also invested in Philadelphia real estate, including the once lucrative Forum. He was slow to sell the property even as the Internet killed off adult theaters.

Now, Basciano says he never liked the smut business. He says he’s ready to see more revitalization along Market St. and he’s been courting city leaders with plans for a project he called the “gateway to Philadelphia’s Market Street West,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reported

Though the exact plans for the two-block development is still being hashed out, Basciano, who once called himself Giuliani’s “nemesis,” apparently has designs on businesses as tame as a yarn store, the Inquirer reported.

Demolition of storefronts is also on the table, and it’s unclear if the Forum will fall.

The once-rundown neighborhood around the theater has grown far more upscale in recent years. It’s now home to high-rise Murano condos and a Trader Joe’s grocery store.

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