Majestic Theatre

42 W. Independence Street,
Shamokin, PA 17872

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MAJESTIC Theatre; Shamokin, Pennsylvania.

The Majestic Theatre was built in 1917. It was operated by Buckley Amusement Enterprises of Shamokin. Buckley also operated the Capitol Theatre in Shamokin, the Elk Theatre in Mahanoy City and the State Theatre in Mt. Carmel. The Majestic Theatre was situated next to the Victoria Theatre, a much grander edifice. Around 1921 the Majestic Theatre was equipped with a 4 manual Moller organ.

The Majestic Theatre was originally a first run house, showing mainly MGM features into the mid-1950’s. It then started showing mainly B movies from Republic, Allied Artists, and Monarch. It had never been equipped to show large screen fare.

It was demolished in the 1960’s to make way for a J.C. Penny department store.

Contributed by Gary Hoy

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

garyhoy on October 18, 2006 at 10:23 am

I forgot to mention that the Majestic would give “Monday Tickets"
to anyone attending on Saturday. The regular child addmission was
15cents for a matinee but with a Monday Ticket a kid could go for 9 cents. Since Monday was washday for the local moms they were happy to give up the 9 cents to get kids out of the way while they did
the laundry. In the late 50s it was always a double bill at the
"Midge” usually something like the Bowery Boys and a Western. Stictly B movies. The Shamokin Theaters also had student prices.
In the 50s after 5:30 the admissions were 20 cents at the Capitol
and Majestic and 21 cents at the Victoria for children. Student
price was 40 cents and required proof of status a “student card"
which was issued by the local schools. Adult fare was 65 cents.
The local newspaper did not print reviews of movies however they
did have daily columns for each theater giving highlights of what
was playing. Since these items were supplied by the local theaters
they were always positive. I also remember that there were no
Sunday movies in Shamokin until the mid 50s. There was a city wide
referendum on whether or not to allow Sunday movies. The local churchs campaigned against allowing Sunday openings for theaters.
I remember the Salvation Army was at the front of the campaign to
stop Sunday Movies. But Sunday Movies were an idea whose time had
come and the theaters won the referedum and the right to show movies
on Sundays. It was at this time that the Victoria started running
a short film encouraging church attendence. The message was "Don't
send your children to church, take them.

The Majestic was the smallest of the three local theaters but had
a beautiful triangular marquee with a big stylilized neon M in front.
It also had the largest poster display in town a 6sheet poster board
that would have posters literally plastered to it. The side of the
Victoria has 8 large display cases which featured three sheet posters
of coming attractions. In later years after the Majestic stopped showing first run films the 6 sheet board (84" x 162 inches) was used
to promote films at the Capitol.

David_Schneider on April 27, 2016 at 10:55 am

My late mother, Rita Dusick, grew up in Shamokin on South 1st Street in the 1930‘s, 40‘s and 50‘s and moved away probably by 1960. She graduated from Coal Township High School in 1952. (Does anyone remember her and/or her family?: father John J. (who was a Justice of the Peace and died in 1963), mother Victoria Wysocki, sister Marian.)

I visited Shamokin for the first time in September of 2013 during what I called my “PA Trip ‘13“. … I found it moving to walk upon streets my mother inhabited before I was ever a concept.

At the Shamokin-Coal Township Heritage Museum in the American Legion Building on Independence Street next to the Public Library (210 East Independence Street), I bought a locally produced book called “Matinee Memories” about the movie theaters of Shamokin, including some that existed before the Victoria, Capitol and Majestic.

I have uploaded a photo of the cover and the inside cover in the photos section.

The author, Garth Hall, passed away in January 2016, and I got the impression the book was only available from him/the museum.

The inside cover says the project was prepared for The Northumberland County Council For The Arts & Humanities. Perhaps they have copies for sale or perusal and can be contacted by clicking here.

Maybe the Shamokin-Coal Township Public Library next to the museum has a copy or can tell you where to find one.

And there is the Northumberland County Historical Society to try if other options don’t pan out.

You could include the photo of the book when emailing these places so they know what you are asking about.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on April 29, 2017 at 2:01 pm

Motion Picture World, February 2, 1918 page 705 has several paragraphs about the new Majestic, which pushes the construction date back to about 1917. It mentions the white terracotta facade (consistent with the photo above) and lists the seating capacity as 1100 upholstered seats on the main floor and 950 wicker seats in the loges, though, confusingly, it says “there is no balcony.” The owner is listed as J.F. Higgins. The organ is listed as a Barkoff, a company utterly not associated with theatre organs.

MarkA on April 7, 2020 at 3:55 pm

According to Bynum Petty’s book, “An Organ A Day, The Enterprising Spirit of M.P. Moller,” Moller’s Opus #3306, a four manual, 50 stop, pipe organ was installed in the Majestic Theatre around 1921. The console found its way to Maryland to the home of a theatre organ enthusiast, who in turn sold it to another enthusiast, who was to install it in his home, with Moller pipe work, not from the Majestic. I helped moved the console. It was a bear to move as the exterior was solid mahogany. The interior frame was solid wood.

I last saw the console in the mid-1980’s and never saw it again. The fate of the Majestic’s pipework is unknown. The Moller was a concert type instrument, not quite the theatre organ Wurlitzer built, although it had tuned percussions and trap. Several years later, Moller would build theatre organs much like the ones built by Wurlitzer, Kimball and Robert-Morton.

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