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The Lobby was part of an early 1950’s renovation by New York theatre architect Michael DeAngelis. The theatre was owned then by United Paramount which was after it was owned by Comerford. It was open in 1910 as the People’s Theatre.
Was this theatre previously known as the Suburban ? I have aquired some movie flyers from 1938 “West Side Famuly Theatre” W. H. Manny- Manager. There is no address on this
I found mention of the People’s Theatre in a 1910 trade column in an old newspaper. By the comments, it seems that it was strictly vaudeville then.
YesJoe, the Strand was originally known as the Peoples Theatre. I have seen a couple of pictures with that name on the building. You are also correct about the original entrance. It was on the side of the building facing the square until the early 1950’s. The building you see on the coener was torn down and a new Lobby and entrance with large marquee were added at that time.
Pictures can be seen at:
There is a video online that deals with the on going renovation of the Campus. It is on the homepage of the Daily Item; Sunbury'PA’s daily newspaper
I drove by here yesterday and is’s still like the above photos.
The Capitol was built by the M. E. Comerford Amusement Co. The building that was on the thetre site burned; Comerford bought the lot, cleaned it up, and built the theatre. There is a video on Youtube that shows the theatre. It’s titled: Waverly, NY:The Golden Days
There’s nothing really special about this 4 plex. It is a typical late 70’s / early 80’s “cookie box” type theatre complex. What’s ironic is the NICE theatre in Potsville years ago closed because of a dying downtown. Now this multi-plex is closing because they obviously are hurting for business, and as the comments say, this mall is losing stores and is generally in poor shape.
The Capitol Theatre is indeed still in use as a church and yes, the marquee was used for the church sign.
Check out this theatre on Facebook. A few old photos, old programs, etc.
Try your local Food Service Suppliers (like SYSCO)
This building now houses a graphic arts / design shop.
Movietime and myself have toured this building twice in the last 3 years. The balcony is intact and the booth is still there. The lobby has a drop ceiling and has had partitions put up for offices but the space is still the same. The main auditorium has been gutted though and is used primarily as a warehouse. It probably could be resurrected as a theatre but with 12 screens less than 5 miles away, it would probably be a struggle. (and cost a lot ) I do have recent photos if anyone is interested.
Also, DeAngelis didn’t actually design the theatre. He was responsible for the new lobby and front of the building which was done in 1951. There was some remodeling done in the auditorium (the screen was moved forward) but I think the rest was cosmetic.
The Rialto burned on December 27, 1978. There is a picture of the theatre burning on the Daily Item – Sunbury, PA Website
Click on Photos, then Photo Gallery, and then Historical Photos and Front Pages.
There is also a picture from the 60’s that has Sunbury’s other theatre, the Strand, in it.
Hey Joe Vogel
Can you tell me where I can see the scans of Boxoffice magazine with these 2 articles ? We have started a Strand Theater website and would possibly like to include these. We are looking for any information and photos so any help would be appreciated.
I live 20 miles from Binghamton and am very familiar with these theatres. The reason for the combined marquee is the Comerford chain which owned these and all the local theatres, basically wanted to save money and build one marquee.
By the way, I have tried to contact the owner through the real estate broker and have had no luck (not even a call back) as I would like to tour both theatres and take photos.
I operated this theatre in the late 70’s. The research we did before opening (for a certificate of occupancy) showed the building opening in 1928. I’m not sure where the information on the top of the page came from, but I don’t think it is accurate.
Hey Lost Memory
The American opened in 1928; 4 years after the organ was installed ?
I have just learned from a past employee of this theatre that it was once named “Victoria”
Here’s a scan of a ticket from the early 1970’s:
Here’s a 1950’s vintage outside shot:
I just had a “Tour” of the Strand with Movietime and a friend from Sunbury. Phase One Marketing who owns the building have expanded several times including the buildings on either side of the Strand building in October. It was interesting to see what they’d done with the theatre; unfortunately, there isn’t much semblance to the theatre anymore. The balcony is still intact; it is now used as meeting space. The lobby has been partitioned into offices and cubicles; the old manager’s office is now a Men’s Room ! The old Ladies Room is now a pass-thru to the building next door which was The “Steinhaus” years ago. They do have a “Wall of Fame” which has TONS of old photos going back all the way to the early 1900’s. We may get some copies; if so I will post them. If any members of Cinema Treasures are curious and want to see the photos I took, contact me and I’ll see what I can do.
Here’s a couple of pics from the 1960’s
Here’s an outside shot from early 1978 (sorry about the quality)