Showing 101 - 125 of 238 comments
The Lititz Theatre was torn down in the late 1950’s or early 1960’s due to the expansion of the bank building next door. I was never in this theatre, but I remember it had the typical rectangular marquee so many theatres had in those early days. The Chertcoff Chain was headquartered in Lancaster. In 1950 they built and operated the King Theatre on E. King St. in Lancaster. That was a very large one floor theatre with over 1,300 seats. They also operated the Strand Theatre in Lancaster, which was a second run theatre. They also operated theatres in Mt. Joy, Pa., Elizabethtown, Pa, Steelton, PA, Lebanon, PA, Camp Hill, Pa. Gradually all the theatres were closed and some demolished. Even the King Theatre has been converted to apartments for the elderly, but the marquee and lobby remain.
The marquee is still on the front of the building. But the entrances have been closed off if I remember from the last time I drove past the building. It is indeed a Fraternal Hall and from what I understand, the auditorium has been altered to be used as a banquet hall. I was never in this theatre. Growing up my Grandparents lived in the nearby town of Mt. Joy, Pa. and we would go to the Joy Theatre in Mt. Joy when I was visiting them.
The Joy Theatre has just been added to this website. I was working with a person in the Spring of 2007 that was interested in buying this theatre. I have pictures of the outside and inside of the theatre. It is my understanding that it is currently on the market for $650,000.00. I had taken pictures of the outside of the building both front and rear. Then I got in contact with the real estate office which uses what used to be the theatre lobby. I made arrangements to meet him and he took me into the theatre. It is in realatively good shape considering it has been unused since the 1960’s. The seats are gone. But the murals are still on the walls and the screen is still there on a small stage. However, the screen is torn. I think it held about 500-700 seats when it was in operation. There were two aisles separating three sections of seating. I had talked to a Stacy Rutherford last year. She is (or was if she is no longer there?) the manager of Main Street Mount Joy. They are really looking to get Main Street back on the map. And were hoping someone would develop the theatre. There are nine apartments and two retail establishments included in the entire building. The one retail is a pizza/sandwich shop which is operated by the owner of the building. He was last year looking to sell, because he wants to retire. I notice if the $650,000.00 price is accurate, he has come down in price from last year. Anyway the phone number for Stacy Rutherford is 717-6534227. Her email address is
John S in York: Yes they built an Eric Theatre in Lancaster. However, it was not a copy of the Eric Harrisburg. It was built in downtown Lancaster as part of the urban renewal after they tore down an entire block of buildings on both sides of the street. Included in the demolition was four movie palaces. One of which had two balconies and another one had one balcony. Anyway, the Eric was built in the concrete monstrosity they build to replace what was demolished. It was tucked away in a corner next to the “new Hilton Hotel” which replaced the original locally owned Brunswick Hotel that was also demolished. I think the original theatre had about 800 seats. It opened in the Fall of 1970. The theatre was twinned in the Fall of 1973 and reopened at Christmas. The theatre was closed on Labor Day, Sept. 4, 1995. I think as of today it is still sitting there empty. The whole concrete boondogle which started out with a movie theatre, shops, and offices is now basically empty. They are trying to get federal funding to tear it down and “re do” the block to look like it did prior to its demolition in 1967. Makes sense to me! They called that block seedy in 1967. Now it is a disaster.
Ken mc: Yes that is correct. I worked for a short period of time in 1966 at the Fulton Opera House in Lancaster. They were showing movies at the time, and MIlgram Booking Service was the booker of the films that were shown. I remember they convinced them to play “Sound of Music” starting in June 1966. They were figuring since it had been playing at the Eric Theatre in Harrisburg for months, they were figuring it would last at the Fulton until early Fall. It was a reserved seat engagement, but only presented in 35mm with no stereo sound. However, it lasted for 17 weeks and at least one stage show had to be postponed because the movie was still showing. The weekly gross had to drop below a certain level before the engagement could be ended.
Well, on Sept. 28, 2007 this shopping center theatre became a reduced admission “subrun” operation. They have a matinee admission of $3.00 and an evening admission of $4.00. That is about half of what the “first run” theatres in this area charge. However, beginning on Sept. 28th they are showing “Shrek 3” , “Pirates 3”, “LIve Free or Die Hard” to mention just three of the six theatre attractions. Sad to see, but without digital sound and stadium seating as all the other local theatres have, it is understandable.
The Eden Theatre was opened in 1969 by ABC Theatres. It went through a few operators, until Budco Theatres from the Philadelphia area took it over in 1976 or 1977. The theatre was twinned in 1978. One theatre had 390 seats and the other theatree had 360 seats. Budco Theatres was taken over by AMC Theatres in Jan. 1987. The theatre closed on Jan. 23, 1997 when AMC did not renew the lease. The building was owned by the same company which had the neighboring Eden Resort Inn. The theatre reopened on 2/7/97 being run by another company as a reduced admission rerun location. However, the theatre closed permanently on 5/30/98 and was demolished and replaced by a Sheetz Gas and Mini Mart.
Here in Lancaster Co., Pa, we have two theatres which are still standing, but have not been used for years. The Joy Theatre in Mt. Joy, PA is complete except for seats. The owners have been using the theatre for family storage. The lobby has been divided up into offices. I have pictures I took of the inside of the theatre earlier this year. The building housing the theatre has two retail establishments (the owner of the building has a “pizza shop” in one of them). There are also, I think nine apartments in the building. In addition, in Marietta, PA the Marietta historical association is in the process of restoring the Marietta Theatre. The Marietta Theatre is listed here on Cinema Treasures. They are restoring it, but, according to local newspaper articles, have no definite plans what to do with it when it is ready for use.
Krupa Family: I have a scrapbook of pictures I took, newspaper articles I saved about the closing and demolition of the theatres. Do you live in the Lancaster, PA area?? I even have the Journal of the Lanc. Co. Historical Society that has the article you mentioned. I have been promising to get together with another CT member so he could look at the stuff I have, however, there just does not seem to be any time. There were three theatres on the one side of the street. The Hippodrome which was later renamed the Capital, the Hamilton, and the Colonial which was later renamed the Boyd. I remember the long long lobby and foyer of the Capitol Theatre. Anyway, I would be more than happy to exchange info and stories.
To add to “My Dream” by Fever Dog on Sept. 9th – I would reopen the Boyd Theatre with the Cinerama screen used in the 60’s,70’s. The ushers and usherettes would wear the style of uniforms back then – red blazers, white shirts, and gray slacks/skirts. I would show only the Cinerama and 70mm epics of days past – “HTWWW”, “2001”, “Lawrence”, “Indy Series”, “Ben Hur”, “MFL”, “SOM”, etc, etc. There was something lacking when the Boyd became the Sameric and that large curved screen was replaced with a still large flat screen. And movie presentations of today are totally lacking the magic and charm of the movie palaces of yesterday. You were transported even before the movie started. As I have mentioned on this thread many times, growing up we drove regulary the 60 miles to see the big screen epics at the Boyd. And I think people would do it again. Give the true movie lover/goer a reason to skip the shoe box megaplexes of today, and they will in a heartbeat.
This theatre opened in the early 1960’s as a single screen location. It had the capability of 70mm projection. In fact, if memory serves me right, the opening attraction was a 70mm reserved seat engagement of “Lawrence of Arabia.” This was a strange theatre. The auditorium reminded you of an airplane hanger or a gymnasium. It had a rounded roof like an airplane hanger and the interior had exposed steel beams and roof which were painted blue with “white clouds” painted on the ceiling. The curtains and side wall curtains were yellow. There was a “loge” section on either side of the auditorium and for the reserved seat attractions, tickets were priced higher for those seats. “Sound of Music” played in 70mm reserved seat here for over a year. I believe it opened in 1966. Sometime years later it was twinned. I am pretty sure it sat empty for a number of years before being demolished. Do not even remember whether this theatre was still in operation when the Shapiro family sold out to United Artists, which was in 1998 or 1999 I believe.
Kenmc: That picture says it all. What a total waste! I cannot remember how long it was until something was built on that property. I cannot remember the Mastbaum. However, there was another theatre across Market Street near the Stanley that sat there unused for years. I think to this day it is still a parking lot. However, it has been many many years since I have ventured into Center City. The last time my wife and I were in C.C. we were both so disappointed in the Lord and Taylor store in the old Wanamakers store. Even the Gallery was disappointing. I am wondering whether Macy’s has improved the “old Wanamakers?” However, anything other than the eight floor “John W’s” is a let down. Anyway, could that other theatre across the street have been the Erlanger????
What a shame that the last movie palace located within Times Square is being dismantled. I was in this theatre a number of times on my vists to the Big Apple. Although, you could not compare this to the Rivoli, Capital, or Loew’s State, it was still a movie palace. And to know it is being chopped up for another drug store and restaurants is just sad. I remember seeing the two part Russian version of “War and Peace” which was being released by the Walter Reade Company, which also operated the theatre at the time. The ushers wore “Russian” costumes. Also saw “The Shoes of the Fisherman” which was not an outstanding movie, but made better by the theatre I saw it in. Oh well, I guess we better get used to the shoeboxes of today. At least for some of us we have the memory of what moviegoing was truly like in the 1950’s and 1960s!
There is hope for the Marietta Theatre. The Marietta Restoration Associates, Inc. are busy restoring this 1914 theatre. The seats – which I swear were the original – have been removed. The roof has been replaced. They are trying to raise $133,000.00 to fund planning, permitting, and architectural work which the organization hopes to complete by the Spring of 2008. The structure was in disrepair as it has been sitting there unused since 1997. They are counting on the restored reopened Marietta Theatre as the start of a stimulation for the community. Although there is not a parking lot for the theatre, the number of times that my wife and I have gone there to the movies, we never had a problem finding on street parking. I have every hope that they can succeed in their mission.
Gencin: The Wonderland Theatre opened as a single screen in 1966 or 1967. In 1971 a second theatre was added. This was the theatre that was built parallel to Route 30. The original theatre was perpendicular to the highway. In 1977 the original theatre was twinned. Then in 1986 the 2nd theatre was twinned as well. Prior to the twinning, both theatres were large and very sizable screens. However, the twinning ended those benefits. They were operated for 33 years and were closed on 9/6/2001. Earl Realty, owners of Dutch Wonderland, did not renew the lease with AMC the then current operators of the four theatres. However, it was also rumored that AMC did not want to renew either as they were closing their smaller locations in favor of multiplexes with 12 or more screens. The Eden Theatre opened in 1969 and was operated by ABC theatres. Budco took over the theatre in 1976 or 1977. They also operated the Wonderland at the time. The Eden was twinned in 1978. Thus another larger theatre with a nice sized screen bit the dust. AMC purchased the Budco chain while it was still operated as a twin. However, they did not renew their lease with the Eden Resort, which actually owned the theatre. There were several operators after AMC pulled out. The last operator used the theatre as a reduced admission rerun theatre. The Eden was closed by AMC on 1/23/97. Another operator took over and reopened on 2/7/97 as a subrun reduced admission venue. However, However on 5/30/98 the Eden Closed and was demolished soon thereafter. There is a Sheetz gas and convenience store on that property now.
Gep 1: Yes above the retail shops on either side of the theatre is a second floor. The second floor extend the full front of the building(s). Fact is, I told the owner that when I walked into the sandwich shop the first time, there was no one around. I waited about ten minutes and still saw no one. He said he was fixing a problem in one of the apartments. Mt. Joy is a small town located on Route 230 between Lancaster and Harrisburg, PA. There is easy access to a four lane highway, Route 283 which runs parallel to Route 230. This connects to Route 30 in Lancaster which continues on to Philadelphia, about 60 miles farther East. There is also Amtrak Train service that stops in Mt. Joy. Trains travel from Chicago East to Harrisburg and continue to PHiladelphia. In Philly you can take North/South trains to NYC, Boston, Washington DC and points South. My wife and I have traveled to NYC by Amtrak for many a three day weekend. Leaving Friday morning and coming back Sunday night. A 8am train gets you into NYC by 11am-12noon. We used to leave NYC Sunday night around 5pm and be in Lancaster by 8:30pm. I took the camera along, but never thought about taking pictures of the outside of the theatre! I will get there again and take some pictures and will email them to you. Mt. Joy is a small town with a Main Street with a lot of potential. There are a few restaurants – Mosby’s Pub – which happens to be one of our favorites. There are a number of Bread and Breakfast Inns on the main street. There are numerous small individually owned retail shops. Stacy Rutherford is really really interested in developing this theatre. I really hope you at least email her. Next week she is going to a conference in Seattle, Washington about main Street developments. I know, just from talking to her about 30 minutes, that whatever information she cannot supply, she will get it from someone else! There is a tremendous area to draw from. Lancaster to the East, Harrisburg, to the West, and Hershey to the North. My wife and I were just at the Hershey Theatre in January to see the touring version of “Hairspray.” That theatre was built by Milton Hershey, the founder of Hershey chocolate. And I know people around here will drive to see something that is worthwhile and available to them. It is a solid brick building and the front has black ceramic tile on the 2nd floor. I really could kick myself for not taking any pictures today. It was a beautiful sunny day and I was standing across the street from the theatre and it would have made a perfect shot. The marquee is still on the front. It is triangular shaped, but unfortunately is filled in with the Coldwell Banker logo. Just do me one favor and contact Stacy. I think she will be able to answer a lot of your questions. The one shop owner told my wife the theatre seats are spread out all over the shops and houses on the main street! As soon as I get those pictures, I will post on this site and if you supply me with your email address I will send them to you. Hopefully, by then you will have communicated with Stacy Rutherford!
My wife and I made the short drive to Mt. Joy today. I talked to a gentlemen in the Real Estate office, which is located on the street front of the theatre. He told me to go next door and talk to the owner of the pizza/sandwich shop who is the owner of the entire building. I talked to the guy. He claims his name is Dennis, but I really think he had a hard time understanding me. So I do not know whether he was just repeating my name or what. He is 70 years old and looking to sell the entire property. He told me the theatre has a stage and it is between 40 to 50 feet wide. He did not give me the depth measurement. The only thing missing from the theatre is the seats. The building has been maintained, the murals are still in tact on the walls. His phone number is 717-6535910. He said he would be more than willing to show any body the theatre. However, he did not offer to take me on a tour. The man in the real estate office recommended that I contact a Stacy Rutherford in the Mt. Joy Chamber of Commerce building. Since it was just a block away, I went over to see if she was in. She is a lovely young woman. She is the manager of the Main Street Mount Joy Community Commitment organization. Her phone number is 717-6534227. Her email address is: www.msmj.org I explained to her about the Cinema Treasures web site and that I had been emailing a person interested in taking over a small town central Pa. theatre. As I said she was a lovely young women and was very knowledgeable about the theatre and Mt. Joy in general. I would contact her first and she could fill you in and do some preliminary info work as well. She said the town is committed to bringing their Main Street back and feel a reopened theatre with various shows could be the turning point. So, please at least contact her for more info. I hope this is helpful. I would really like to think that perhaps with this information, I have gotten a ball rolling in the right direction. Keep me posted!!!!
P.S. The Mount Joy Chamber of Commerce never answered my email. I believe it is this weekend that the Marietta Restoration Association is hosting a “drop in” at the Marietta Theatre in Marietta, PA. That theatre is listed on this website. Evidentally, from the article I read in the Lancaster Newspapers they are trying to drum up some interest in reopening that theatre. I know that has a small stage, because the screen was at the back of the stage. I am going to check the Lancaster Newspapers website and see if I can pull up the small article that was in the paper. If I can I will add another comment and give the details of the event.
Geo 1: As soon as Spring gets here to Lancaster Co., I am hoping to visit Mt. Joy and see if I can talk to the owner of the theatre. If I can get to see the inside, hopefully will be able to take some pictures. If I do that, I will reply to this website again and can possible email you any pictures I take. I would really like to see this theatre utilized again. And it would be thrilling for me to be able to say that I helped it happen. If I can arrange a tour for some future date, would you be able to participate? It certainly sounds from Kristens comments the owner is definitely interested in getting the theatre operating again. Would certainly help his “pizza joint” to have a supply of customers from an operating theatre! Dennis
John – Sorry for the delay. No I do not have any pictures of the Joy Theatre. Just remember going there when I was a kid (10-12 years old) when visiting my Grandmother who lived in Mt. Joy. I had sent an email to the Mt. Joy Chamber of Commerce asking if they could give me any information as to the ownership of the theatre or any contact information. No one there had the decency of replying to my email. I know I have read in the Lancaster papers how the Mt. Joy Chamber and area business people are trying to revive the “main street.” A operating movie theatre would go a long way to do that. But I guess no one took my email seriously. I just know what the restoration of the Allen Theatre in Annville has done to that community and think it can happen on other main streets as well. Have you ever gone to the Allen. It is worth the trip! Granted it is a college town with Lebanon Valley College located there. However, it has quite a wide range of patrons. Most times when we have gone there there was more older patrons than college patrons. Of course, I guess that depends on the movie. “Dreamgirls” is supposed to be their next attraction. With the Lucas sound system installed by Clair Brothers that should be an exceptional place to see that movie! Now that the holidays are over, perhaps we can meet somewhere and I can loan you my scrapbook and collection of articles on movie theatres in the area. P.S. – Is this site getting slower again? Lately it seems to take a long time after you long on to get anywhwere!
John: Dennis from Lancaster. Can I jog your memory about this theatre? I was never there, but didn’t this theatre have a reserved seat engagement of “My Fair Lady” back in 1965? I vaguely remember “MFL” playing here during the time that “Sound of Music” was playing in 70mm reserved seats at the Eric in East Park Center? I know “SOM” played for almost a year, but I do not think “MFL” played that long at the Uptown. I just remember at the time being impressed that two theatres were playing reserved seat engagements and I thought Harrisburg had it “the big time.” I was still traveling to Philadelphia to see the reserved seat showings!
I just sent an email to the Mt. Joy Chamber of Commerce asking them if they could supply me with any information about the Joy Theatre. Told them I have been in email contact with someone who is interested in this theatre. So, hopefully, they will respond with some information. Anything I get I will pass along to you.
I just spent the last 30 minutes or so on the Lancaster Co. Historial Society and the Lancaster Newspapers web pages trying to get some information that way. The newspapers have data back to 1995 only. And I had no luck with the Hist.Soc. So maybe the Chamber of Commerce will come through for us. I would think they would be interested in seeing a property return to full operation. It would be great if this would work out! I would love to see the inside of the theatre myself. I remember it had two aisles with three sections of seating. I cannot imagine it was that big. My quess, and it is only a guess that it had about 400-500 seats.
Another theatre to consider is the Marietta Theatre in Marietta, PA.
It is a one floor theatre with a stage. I think it seated less than 500, but am not sure. Marietta, Pa. is located in the vicinity of Mt. Joy, Pa. and Elizabethtown, PA. It is listed on this site as the Marietta Theatre. Someone even submitted a picture from the outside of the front of the theatre. I know through various news articles in our local papers, that the Marietta Historical Society has taken over ownership of the theatre. It has been closed for many years, but operated long after the Joy and Moose Theatres did. The Historical Society has spent $20,000.00 to have a new roof installed on the theatre. Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures of the Joy or Moose Theatres. Both of them closed while I was still in school back in the 60’s I believe. I tried finding some pictures on the Lancaster Co. Historical Society webpage, but have had no luck so far. I was also going to try the Lancaster Newspapers web page. I’ll let you know if I have any luck. I would really like to see one of these theatre put back into operation. You would certainly have a real population area to pull from. Since Mt. Joy and E-Town are located between Lancaster and Harrisburg, PA. Even Marietta is located along the Susquehanna River and a short drive from either Harrisburg or Lancaster. And York, PA is only across the river about 15 miles. I will keep trying to get you any additional information. Did you try calling the Real Estate Office?
The Moose Theatre in Elizabethtown is owned by the Moose Lodge which is located in the same building as the theatre. The Joy Theatre in Mt. Joy was part of the local Leahad Theatre circuit which went out of business with the sale of the King Theatre in Lancaster which is listed in Cinema Treasures. Right now there is a Coldwell Banker real estate office in what was the lobby of the Joy Theatre. However from Main Street (Pa Route 230) in Mt. Joy, the actual theatre building is still standing. The address is 65 E. Maint St., Mount Joy, PA 17552. The phone number is AC 717-6532646. I would assume that the real estate office is only a tenant. So perhaps they could put you in contact with the property owner. It would really be nice to see that theatre reopened. The Boro of Mt. Joy has been attempting over the last few years to bring more businesses to the main street and consequently more people. I remember going there as a youngster with my uncle. The theatre box office was a kiosk just off the sidwalk. And there was a long outside walkway to get to the actual theatre doors and inner lobby. If my 59 year old memory serves me correctly, the theatre was one floor, but was rather large. I remember the curtains were a wide striped gray and red.
I live in Lancaster Co., Penna. There are at least three small town theatres in the county that have been unused for years. They are still standing. The Marietta Theatre, in Marietta, PA, has been taken over by the towns historic preservation group. They have spent money replacing the roof, but I do not think anything more has been done with it. The Joy Theatre, in Mount Joy, PA has been empty for years. The lobby has been turned into a real estate office, but the theatre itself is still standing. The Moose Theatre in Elizabethtown, PA is still standing in tact. Fact is both the Moose and the Joy still have their marquees. All three towns are within about 5-8 miles of each other. And they are located between Lancaster City and Harrisburg City, which is the capital of Penna.
The Allen Theatre in the small college town of Annville, Lebanon Co. has been restored and seems to be very succesful. They opened a coffee house next to the theatre and my wife and I have eaten there before going to a movie. Annville is about 25 miles from Lancaster.
I would love to see any one of the three of these theatres restored or all of them for that matter. I used to attend the kids matinees at the Joy when I was staying with my Grandparents who lived in Mt. Joy. The Marietta Theatre used to have a classic series of both talkies and silent movies. If I had the money, I would give it a try if only to relive my childhood!