THANK GOD for the Philadelphia Film Society!

On Monday, it officially announced the acquisition of the historic Prince Music Theater, on Chestnut Street near Broad.

The beloved theater had been shuttered since October, when the theatrical organization that occupied the building - the American Music Theater Festival - failed to find new leadership after its board chairman died.

Prince reps tell me that the beleaguered theater had been in a constant state of bankruptcy but was being floated by its board chairman. The local branch of that organization eventually dissolved. But with help from the Wyncote Foundation, which supports arts and culture in Philadelphia, the Prince lives on.

"The thought that such an important building could possibly become just another retail location would have been devastating to both the film and arts communities in Philadelphia, which drove us to find a solution," said film society executive director Andrew Greenblatt.

Plus, it has sentimental value to me. Years ago, it was the first place I saw Tigre Hill's "The Shame of a City" on the big screen. (Thanks to him and probably Sharon Pinkenson for the reporter comp.)

Johnny Doc keynotes Irish reception

Mover-and-shaker labor leader

John Dougherty

, a/k/a "Johnny Doc," will be standing in the same place that Vice President

Joe Biden

stood last year when he gives his keynote address to the Greater Pittston Friendly Sons of St. Patrick banquet, in Luzerne County, next week.

Biden delivered the principal speech last year. This year, it's Doc's turn at the 101st annual banquet, which recognizes individuals who champion Irish causes.

"I am fond of telling people that the best way to never forget where you come from is to never leave," Dougherty said.

"I never left the Irish-American neighborhood in South Philly in which I was born and raised. Likewise, I've never forgotten my Irish roots."

The banquet is St. Patrick's Day, March 17, at 5:30 p.m. at The Woodlands Inn and Resort (1073 Highway 315, Wilkes-Barre).

Guy with Philly ties in 'American Crime'

One of the stars of ABC's "American Crime" has a strong Philly connection. Elvis Nolasco, who plays Carter Nix on the show, studied acting in Philadelphia. The show premiered Thursday.

Although he originally hails from New York, Nolasco studied at Community College of Philadelphia, and has performed at the Freedom Theatre (1346 N. Broad St.), Arden Theatre (40 N. 2nd St.), Walnut Street Theatre (825 Walnut St.) and with the Philadelphia Young Playwrights, according to his bio.

He's also guest-starred in "NYPD Blue," "Law & Order SVU" and "Third Watch."

But here's my favorite part: The actor was in a film made by one of my favorite moviemakers of all time - Spike Lee, in "Clockers," alongside Mekhi Phifer and Delroy Lindo.

People Paper people

Former Daily News TV critic David M. Friedman will be speaking at the Rosenbach Museum (2008 Delancey Place) at 6 tonight to tout his new book, Wilde in America: Oscar Wilde and the Invention of Modern Celebrity.

The book chronicles Wilde's tour of America and explains how he made himself the first celebrity, according to Friedman.

Also, DN theater writer Chuck Darrow can be spotted playing bass with his band, Nasty Habits, which is opening for Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes on Saturday night at the Scottish Rite Auditorium (315 White Horse Pike, Collingswood, N.J.).

Email: dehuffj@phillynews.com

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