Strand Theater

315 Market Street,
Sunbury, PA 17801

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Showing 1 - 25 of 40 comments

Jack Theakston
Jack Theakston on February 10, 2014 at 1:58 pm

I was referring to the “before” picture. Those poster cases and fixtures are similar to the ones that were installed by Lempert’s crews in all of the Comerford theaters during that period.

Patsy
Patsy on February 13, 2013 at 9:46 am

Thanks gentlemen for your informative comments. I have been in contact with the grandson of Michael De Angelis. He has posted on the Stage Theatre CT link and has provided his email address there!

jeffreyt
jeffreyt on February 12, 2013 at 2:37 pm

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.

Jack Theakston
Jack Theakston on February 12, 2013 at 2:25 pm

I suspect this theater was actually opened around 1928, owned by the Commerford Amusement Co. chain. If that is the case, I also suspect the original architect was Leon Lempert, Jr. The lobby in the BoxOffice magazine article looks a lot like Lempert’s Capitol in Rome.

Patsy
Patsy on July 7, 2012 at 8:51 am

When I saw the photo with the great marquee it made me smile then I read….“I am not certain of the date it closed, but I believe that like the rest of Market Street, it fell victim to nearby malls. The once thriving Market Street is now a shadow of its former self. The building is now used as an electrical supply warehouse.”

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 7, 2012 at 8:45 am

Strand renovations described in this 1951 trade article: boxoffice

jeffreyt
jeffreyt on June 22, 2011 at 9:22 am

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.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 21, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Mr. J. M. Blanchard was mentioned as the operator of the People’s Theatre in a couple of 1913 issues of The Moving Picture World. In the November 1 issue, he was cited as being displeased that a cinematic version of “Quo Vadis?” was not being made available to movie theaters. The producers were attempting to attract an audience that didn’t usually attend movies, and they advertised that their production had never been shown in a movie house, but only in regular theaters.

The regular theater that showed the movie in Sunbury was probably the Chestnut Street Opera House, the only such theater listed at Sunbury in Julius Cahn’s guides during the period. Despite its name, the opera house played vaudeville for much of its history, and might have shown movies as part of the programs. If so, it should be added to Cinema Treasures.

jeffreyt
jeffreyt on June 21, 2011 at 7:24 am

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.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 18, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Boxoffice Magazine has moved its archive from Issuu.com to its own web site, in a section called The Vault. The article about Harry Zimmerman is now at this link.

I’ve come across a couple of references to a movie house in Sunbury called the People’s Theatre, which was in operation by 1913. No address is available, but I’m wondering if it might have been an early aka for the Strand or the Rialto.

In the vintage photo of the Strand at Strandsunbury (the one taken when the street was flooded) the entrance building, at least, was of a style that could have dated from the early 20th century. The theater could have been built behind it at a later date, of course, and the lobby run through an existing building.

jeffreyt
jeffreyt on June 18, 2011 at 10:05 am

Pictures can be seen at:

www.strandsunbury.com

Patsy
Patsy on January 17, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Is the marquee still there? Probably not!

Patsy
Patsy on December 29, 2009 at 5:02 pm

norelco: Thanks! Quite the story and may Whitey rest in peace!

carolgrau
carolgrau on December 29, 2009 at 4:38 pm

The story is a well known fact with people familliar with the Warner in Pittsburgh, Pa. The one projectionist named Whitey had died in the upstairs booth..For years after that you would feel icy cold air and get a blast of fresh cigar smoke.. He had smoked cigars all his life… One day his long time friend came by to visit me,, When allm of a sudden the air got cold and you could smell a strong odor of cigar smoke..I was rewinding a 40 minute reel of film and Whitey’s friend said WHITEY if that’s you turn off the rewinder… You could see the switch go into the off possition and his friend who was very old and took forever to get up there made it down to the lobby and out the front doors in seconds…He himself died 2 weeks later…

Patsy
Patsy on December 29, 2009 at 4:19 pm

norelco: The above Boxoffice link features the obituary for Mr. Zimmerman! Amazing that you were there that very night. Please share the ghost story you told with me in a recent email…not sure what theatre it was though. Thanks.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 29, 2009 at 4:06 pm

jeffreyt: Sorry for the delayed reply, but my email provider has been blocking my Cinema Treasures notifications for a couple of years and I’ve only just started getting some of them again. The scan of the Boxoffice item about Harry is at this link.

Patsy
Patsy on December 29, 2009 at 9:03 am

If your or any town is lucky enough to still have a DeAngelis designed theatre, it is worth saving even if the theatre has been altered in a big way or in a small way though small alterations are better and easier to correct!

Patsy
Patsy on December 29, 2009 at 8:59 am

I’m a big fan of DeAngelis designed theatres so am always interested in anyone’s photos! Thanks.

Patsy
Patsy on December 29, 2009 at 8:59 am

jeffreyt: I’m interesting in seeing photos @ Thanks!!!!!!

jeffreyt
jeffreyt on December 29, 2009 at 8:51 am

Hey Patsy
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.

carolgrau
carolgrau on December 27, 2009 at 7:47 pm

Yeah, Patsy I do,, but they were not good ones for awhile,, I mean Mr. Zimmerman died and if I would'nt have been there , who knows.. I guess it was meant to be… But yes it was quite a gem…

Patsy
Patsy on December 27, 2009 at 9:16 am

norelco: At least you have personal memories compared to the rest of us.

carolgrau
carolgrau on December 26, 2009 at 7:47 pm

IIt was a very nice Theatre, I worked the booth one night to help them out in a jam, more of an emergency.. But looked around after the show was over and was very impressed…

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on December 26, 2009 at 7:14 pm

You are so right Patsy!!!

Patsy
Patsy on December 26, 2009 at 7:04 pm

My hometown had a DeAngelis designed theatre, the Grand/Westfield NY. Sadly, it was demolished so there aren’t many DeAngelis theatres still open or still standing of the 18 DeAngelis designed theatres listed under his name. Maybe there is hope for this one though the Granada in Beaver Falls PA is about to come down on December 30, 2009! What a sad note to end 2009 on!