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This is a true gem in Central Penna. Have traveled there many times from Lancaster, Pa since it’s restoration. The sound system is better than any other theatre in the area. The screen is one of the largest. Would rather drive the 25 miles to see certain films – “Star Wars”, “Titanic”, “Chicago”,“The Patriot”, “Cold Mountain” Etc. – at this theatre than drive 2 miles to the local multiplex of shoebox theatres! A member of the staff, many times the owner, actually stands in front of the auditorium to welcome everyone and to kindly let them know if your enjoyment of the film is hampered in any way! This is what movie-going is all about!
The Marieta Theatre has been closed for many years now. It is still standing and from the outside looks like it could reopen. A few years ago someone was interested in reopening the theatre. There was supposedly a survey done to see what the interest would be in patronizing the reopened location. However, nothing ever came of it. Consequently this small town in Lancaster County along the Susquehanna River has no local theatre. For it’s last few years of operation it was playing subruns with an occasional special night of silent films complete with live organ music. However, if the theatre would ever reopen, the seats should be replaced. From our last few visits I do not think there was one seat left with any springs in it. I would bet they are the original seats!
I saw “2001” for the first time at Loew’s Capitol on June 1, 1968. I saw it a second time at the Warner Cinerama on Oct. 4, 1968. When the Warner closed on Feb. 8, 1987, New York City no longer had a theatre capable of Cinerama projection.
I am not a New York City resident. However, I had been in the Capitol Theatre twice in visits to the “Big Apple.” My last time was to see “2001”. What a marvelous theatre. Its demolition was a loss to NYC. I would have enjoyed seeing the theatre as it was originally designed. Years later, sitting in the nondescript, boring, and plain Gershwin Broadway Theatre I realized that is close to where the Capitol was located. Whatever developer, architect, designer came up with the idea to replace the Capitol with the Gershwin should have their license revoked!
Also the King Theatre was ahead of its time. There was no balcony to the theatre. However on the upper level where the projection room was located, there was a “theatre party room.” Back when I was in elementary school, my parents surprised me with a birthdy party in that room. We watched the movie “There’s No Business Like Show Business” from that room after the party. There was also a “Mother’s Room”. Parents could take their “unsettled” children to that room so they did not disturb the audience. But they could also see and hear the movie from that room. Even better than today with the popularity of “mom’s matinees.”
I failed to mention the theatre was converted to Cinemiracle for a reserved seat engagement of the film “Windjammer”. The large screen was removed after the engagement. In Jan. 1981 the theatre operation was taken over by Angstadt and Wolfe. The theatre policy changed periodically from reduced admission reruns to occasional first runs. However, on May 2, 1982 the theatre was closed and put up for sale. It was eventually sold to the local Housing Development Authority and converted to apartments for the elderly. The facade and marqee still are there. But the theatre building itself now has windows for the apartments.
The King Theatre was at 419 E. King St. and opened in 1950. It had 1,350 seats when it opened. When Cinemascope was added about 100 seats were removed. The theatre was twinned in 1971 and each theatre had about 525 seats. It was called the King Twin theatre. The Comet Drive In was located West of Lancaster and was sold and demolished in 1979. The SkyVue Drive in was East of Lancaster and was sold and demolished in 1981. Leahad operated ten theatres in Camp Hill, Pa., Lebanon, PA., Steelton, PA., Mt. Joy,PA., Lititz,PA., and Elizabethtown, PA. In addition they operated the Strand Theatre in Lancaster which was a subrun theatre located on Manor St. This theatre opened in 1910 as a nickelodeon. Was used for boxing in the 1920’s. The theatre was closed in the early 1960’s and stood empty for a number of years. Was torn down in 1964 and the land has even since been a parking lot. The four theatres mentioned by someone else were all located in the 100 block of North Queen Street in Downtown Lancaster. The Capital (Hippodrome), Grand, and Hamilton Theatres were operated by Stanley Warner. The Boyd (Colonial) was operated by the early Shapiro Co. that became the Sameric Chain if I remember correctly. All four of these theatres were torn down in the late 1960’s in the name of “urban redevelopment.”