Landis Theatre

830-834 E. Landis Avenue,
Vineland, NJ 08360

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12-22-11

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Landis Theatre had a gala opening on March 12, 1937, with the movie “Hats Off” starring Mae Clarke and John Payne. The Landis Theatre is a splendid 1930’s Art Moderne style movie theatre. The trade magazine ‘The Exhibitor’ had an extensive profile of the Landis Theatre, and in the same issue, showcased it in an article on the use of glass brick, a then cutting edge, Art Moderne style material. Described was the ‘Zeppelin streamlining’ of the glass sheeted foyer wall to the auditorium. The foyer had portholes, another Art Moderne style feature. The women’s lounge was also mentioned, as glass brick to the exterior let in light, and lit up the exterior at night, but maintained privacy in the lounge. The original seating capacity of the theatre was 1,200.

The Landis Theatre was designed by distinguished Philadelphia architect William H. Lee, who designed or remodeled over 200 theatres. Some of the theatres he designed still show movies, including the Anthony Wayne Theatre and the Bryn Mawr Theatre on Philadelphia’s Main Line, and the West Shore Theatre (also Art Moderne styled) in New Cumberland, PA. The Majestic Theatre, Gettysburg, the State Theatre, Easton, PA, and the Miracle Theatre in Florida (also Art Moderne styled) are among the theatres he designed that have been restored for live shows.

Movie theatre operator Budco twinned the auditorium.

In 1987, the Landis Theatre closed and was sold to Security Savings and Loan. With the collapse of the savings and loan, in the early-1990’s, a federal agency tookover ownership of the theatre building. In 1993, local citizens formed the Landis Theatre Revitalization Organization. The City of Vineland expressed eagerness for the theatre to be restored, but then sought to buy it so it could be demolished and replaced with a Rite-Aid pharmacy. Citizens protested, and in 1996, for a dollar, the nonprofit organization acquired the theatre from the federal agency. Volunteers moved debris from the interior, cleared clogged roof drains and patched roof holes. Fundraising was difficult, so eventually the city stepped in with a redevelopment plan for the entire area.

In October 2007, the redevelopment plan included reopening the Landis Theatre for performing arts, with the original auditorium having 650 seats and expanded stage facilities. Also planned was a banquet and black box theatre with 100 seats. On April 2, 2008, groundbreaking took place for the $6.5 million renovation. On October 22, 2009, a replica of the theatre’s original sign was installed above the marquee. The theatre reopened May 22, 2010 with a concert by Bernadette Peters. In March 2012, it was reported that after suffering financial losses, the Landis Theatre is to be taken over by Appel Farm, the Salem County arts education and entertainment complex that has operated a 200 seat theatre in Elmer for 50 years. It was closed in 2014.

In 2000, the Landis Theatre was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Contributed by Ray Sotnychuk, Howard B. Haas

Recent comments (view all 45 comments)

LVP
LVP on November 26, 2009 at 6:50 pm

Howard, the best thing was the company that replicated the sign is less than 2 miles away. what a blessing they were towards the project as a whole. we got to ‘scale’ the old sign in the shop scraping layers of paint and finding the original colors. if you look close enough at the lower sign, i had the company recreate the 3 band bumper directly below the letters. look at one of your Exhibitor photos of the sign in 1937 and then a picture of the sign before the reconstruction and then look at the new version they just installed. We also finally selected Custom Windows of Denver to recreate all the upper level industrial windows. The addition has it’s steel framing in place, all stage rigging structures were installed & the stage is built. The mori (attached building) layout changed considerably. the original chef backed out and the new chef wanted a much larger operation. so now, the entire 1st floor of the existing building is a restaurant and the 2nd floor is going to be a 250 person banquet room (with floor to ceiling industrial windows, nice touch) and a small portion for theater offices. Things are really positive and everybody is looking forward to a spring opening. you should try and attend, the theater web site should be posting info on it soon. take care!

LVP
LVP on April 14, 2010 at 6:54 am

View link

news article regarding final steps of the restoration of the Landis

jpage
jpage on May 8, 2010 at 8:39 am

Landis Theater has a temporary Certificate of Occupancy and is hosting the Sacred Heart High School’s production of “42nd Street” this weekend as a soft opening.

Link to local newspaper article: View link

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on May 10, 2010 at 3:25 pm

A brief article about the theater’s reopening as a performing arts center on May 22, 2010:
View link

LVP
LVP on May 19, 2010 at 6:58 pm

awesome picture of the renovated theater in attached link. looks just like it did over 70 years ago. also went inside today, theaters getting touch ups and the adjoined restaurant is moving along. restaurant interior and addition were designed in art moderne to compliment the theater. worth the trip to just experience the rebirth of such a historic landmark.

http://www.grapevinenewspaper.com/

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on October 25, 2010 at 9:37 am

On a once-a-month basis, classic movies are being shown at the Landis: View link

jjj
jjj on June 22, 2011 at 10:48 am

Why isn’t there a current picture of the restored theater posted?

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on June 22, 2011 at 10:53 am

Somebody who has taken a photo can post it.

jjj
jjj on July 22, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Unfortunately, this beautifully restored theater is once again closed and just sitting there, a victim of poor management and local politics.

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