Cinema and Draft House

29-31 West Broad Street,
West Hazleton, PA 18201

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Cinema and Draft House

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This theater, which still exists, first opened at 29-31 West Broad Street in West Hazleton as the Hersker in 1915. Owned and operated by the Hersker family, it was a two-story structure with a rather narrow auditorium of approximately 300 seats and offices located on the second floor above the lobby area. It had a rectangle shaped marquee on the exterior and showed silent films until sounds pictures became the normal fare.

In 1941 the theater auditorium was expanded in width to allow for just over 600 seats and the name was changed to the Key Theater. Around the same time the theater marquee was replaced with a V shaped fixture that contained neon lights and had a small upright located at the tip of the V. With the 1941 expansion, a small stage was added and for a time vaudeville acts were featured, but these were dropped after a few years because of competition from larger area theaters. It then showed mostly first run and occasional second run films. The auditorium was done in shades of red, gold and cream and was somewhat art deco in design. Multi-colored tube lights were on the auditorium walls and a large gold curtain which still exists covered the stage and screen.

In 1969 the theater was again remodeled and the name was changed back to the Hersker Theater. The small upright on the marquee and all neon was removed. The Hersker family sold the building in the late 1980’s and the name changed to the Majestic although the theater continued to show mostly first run films throughout the period until 1992.

In 1992 the name changed back again to the Key Theater and it began showing second run films. The projection booth was updated some of the auditorium seats were replaced and the curtain covering the screen was repaired. The theater was extensively remodeled in 2003 and is currently a restaurant/bar which also shows second run films. All the theater seats were removed, the floor was made flat with tables and chairs installed. It currently seats around 250.

Contributed by Bobs

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

RJS
RJS on July 19, 2005 at 4:37 pm

You can see a picture of the Key theater marquee from 1950 here:

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RJS
RJS on July 26, 2005 at 8:54 am

An additional small image of the Hersker from early 1930’s can be seen here. Don’t click to expand the image unless you’re a member.

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