Beach Cinema

110 Main Street,
Bradley Beach, NJ 07720

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markp on November 2, 2018 at 5:42 pm

Theatre will close after last shows this sunday Nov 4. Theatre sold to owners of The Showroom on Asbury Park.

marcnata on November 2, 2014 at 7:29 am

Projection quality and sound have greatly improved, but the authentic smell of urine still persists! Love the independent spirit of this place, even if it plays mainstream movies weeks after first run, and good restaurants all around it (ex. FINS two doors down). We go there about once a month.

markp on April 1, 2014 at 11:42 am

Theatre is now digital as of the middle of March.

markp on November 30, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Does anyone know how this theatre made out after Hurricane Sandy? Any damage? And are they going to be able to convert to Digital projection, or will they fall victim to this senseless transformation.

sandpiper on November 19, 2008 at 1:07 pm

Surprised to see only one passing reference to Vic’s. That’s what made (makes?) this the go-to spot for birthday parties on the shore. You and the 20-40 kids from your class go to the theater to see Star Wars or the Right Stuff after school, then go across the street to Vic’s, where the class mothers order up 8 to 10 pies and you get to tear into your presents. Classic.

judithblumenthal on July 17, 2008 at 2:26 pm

I enjoy reading about the Beach Theatre, which as I previously wrote was my teenage
Palace long ago. I think they changed the
program about twice a week because we
were always there. And would trek to the Francis Sweet Shop on Main Street for
banana splits afterward. I’m so glad you’re still around. Francesca

GaryCrawford on October 17, 2007 at 11:18 am

Just a note to say thank you to the folks who keep us going by attending our shows.

teecee on August 19, 2006 at 9:15 am

Recent article:

Beach Cinema makes movie-going friendly
Home News Tribune Online 08/12/06

Look! Up in the sky, it’s a â€" yes â€" single screen movie theater, in 2006.

And could it be any more small town America-Jersey Shore-ish?

Like the movie maven-local guy that he is, John Esposito runs the Beach Cinema on Main Street in Bradley Beach, the only full-time single screen movie theater in Monmouth and Ocean counties.

Esposito, a Long Branch native who worked his way up the movie theater operation ladder for the Walter Reade theater chain, lives just a few blocks away from the theater and is on the scene most days and evenings. He has operated the old-fashioned theater, with its deep proscenium stage, red curtains, 500 seats and benches for chatting before the feature begins, for nearly 30 years.

The Beach Cinema has a small but select staff of friendly folks handpicked by Esposito, who has hung movie posters from great films of the past in the lobby. Prices are low for admission and concession items, and Beach movies can be watched without cringing at violence or cupping your ears over crashing soundtracks. Esposito leans toward features rated PG-13 or less, most often eschewing R-rated movies.

“It’s like a family; that’s why it’s lasted so long,” said Mary Mazza of Long Branch, a cashier at the Beach Cinema for more than 20 years.

Besides mostly family fare on the big screen and a family feel among staffers, prices also are family friendly. Popcorn costs $3 and $4; drinks are $2 and $2.50; candy is $1, $2 and $2.50. Regular admission prices are $5 at night, $4 for weekend matinees and $4 on Monday nights.

Esposito hews to the classic in projection equipment, too. Projectionist Gary Crawford of Neptune, an employee from the beginning of Esposito’s ownership, still operates a SuperSimplex 35MM projector from the 1930s.

It was refurbished seven years ago.

“It’s still in great shape because the craftsmanship years ago was much better than it is today,” Esposito said.

Opened in 1925 as The Palace, and taken over by Esposito about 30 years ago, the Beach Cinema is the kind of movie theater that you’ll remember fondly when you rekindle memories of your Jersey Shore vacation.

The Beach Cinema is at 110 Main St., Bradley Beach. More information is available by calling (732) 774-9089.

longislandmovies on July 28, 2006 at 4:44 pm

one of the best stories in CINEMA TREASURES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

teecee on July 28, 2006 at 3:15 pm

Palace Theatre Program from April 9 1938:

View link

asadsack on January 19, 2006 at 5:58 pm

In the early 60s, my family and I would live in Bradley Beach for
the summer. About 4 or 5 summers. I know we went to this theater
because I remember it was nice but small. And besides, it’s located
right across the street from Vic’s, which is a shore landmark in it’s own way.
I really enjoyed my summers in Bradley. So much is gone now.

teecee on December 16, 2005 at 2:12 am

A classic scene
Beach Cinema turns 80 with retro flicks and real butter on the popcorn
Friday, December 16, 2005
Star-Ledger Staff

When it opened 80 years ago, the Bradley Theater, now the Beach Cinema in Bradley Beach, screened “The Goose Woman,” a silent melodrama with a notable performance by Louise Dresser as an alcoholic ex-opera diva who implicates the son she resents in a murder.

This weekend, in celebration of that Dec. 26, 1925 opening, current owner John Esposito is programming “White Christmas,” the Three Stooges and Mr. Magoo for $2 a ticket.

It’s an old-fashioned programming trio — feature (“White Christmas,” 1954 with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen), short (“Three Little Beers” with the Stooges), and cartoon (“Bon Bon Parade” with Mr. Magoo).

“We want everything to be nostalgic,” Esposito said. “I’ve kept the theater very traditional, similar to going to the movies in the 1940s and ‘50s.”

The single screen, 550-seat theater draws an older audience in their 40s and up who like “classy, not trashy,” Esposito said.

Esposito, 61, lives in Bradley Beach, near the theater. He was 16 when he got his first job as an usher at the Baronet Theater in Long Branch. He recalls his “military style” light blue uniform with gold epaulets on the jacket and dark stripes down the trouser sides. The first movie for which he ushered was “By Love Possessed” with Lana Turner.

He worked his way up to assistant manager and manager at various movie theaters in Monmouth County. In 1977 he took over Beach Cinema (newly renamed after having been The Palace for many years). Four years later he and the late Al Schoenfeld bought the theater.

The 12 mostly part-time employees (except for full-time projectionist Gary S. Crawford of Neptune) wear simple uniforms, such as white shirts with black vests or green and white shirts with the theater’s logo.

Films play there after first runs elsewhere. The theater is open seven days a week. Prices are $3.75 to $4.75 for admission and $1 to $4 for refreshments. Popcorn is popped daily in the lobby just before show time and drizzled with real butter, Esposito said.

“Don’t you love that smell? It drifts right into the theater. We’re like a living museum here.”

judithblumenthal on October 26, 2005 at 9:51 am

Now I remember where Sally and I had the most lavish daily banana splits and sundaes after a movie at THE PALACE (Now BEACH CINEMA). It was THE FRANCIS SWEET SHOP on Main Street. You’d think they’d have made us fat, but we spent so many hours jumping the waves that I always lost 10 lbs. every summer. If I can find my childhood friend Sally, maybe we can come to your party. Francesca

GaryCrawford on October 26, 2005 at 9:40 am

Thanks to all for the great comments about our “living museum”. We are presenting an 80th anniversary show on Fri-Sat-Sun, Dec 16-17-18, 2005, of Bing Crosby in “White Christmas”, a 3 Stooges short, trivia contest and door prizes, history talk about the theater, and a few other surprises. Fri-Sat-Sun evening shows at 7:30, Sat-Sun Matinees at 1:30. We opened as a motion picture venue on Dec 26, 1925, and we are having a gala 80th birthday party!

Gary Crawford, Beach Cinema Projectionist

judithblumenthal on October 24, 2005 at 5:28 am

When I was a kid my family spent several sunny summers in Bradley Beach, New Jersey. My friend Sally and I saw at least two, maybe three movies every week at The Palace. Because the program changed every few days. The name seemed ironic, even then, because we were New Yorkers, used to more palatial theatres, but we loved that every seat had a good view—and the price for children was only 7 cents! I do remember me and Sally crying our eyes out at “Lassie Come Home”, even after we left the theatre and walked home down Main Street. We comforted ourselves with sundaes at the Sweet Shop. I don’t know the exact year, but I’m sure the film experts out there can age me significantly.

teecee on July 5, 2005 at 9:11 am

A Wurlitzer organ, opus 1229, was installed in this theater on 12/19/1925.

teecee on July 1, 2005 at 8:12 am

Photo at this link:
View link

teecee on June 13, 2005 at 8:46 am

extracted from this article:
The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ), Feb 28, 1997 p018
Theater goes the neighborhood; As movie multiplexes become megaplexes, it’s nice to know the Bijou is just around the corner. (TICKET)

Beach Cinema 110 Main St. Bradley Beach (908) 774-9089

By Bette Spero

Beach Cinema in Bradley Beach lights up Main Street like a beacon. On one Monday – Date Night, when two patrons are admitted for the price of one – “Jerry Maguire” drew an SRO crowd to the 500-seat theater.

“We had to turn people away,” says Mary Mazza, the box office cashier for more than 10 years. She’s used to folks showing up an hour early just to get seats.

Here’s the quintessential cheap but cozy date for movie buffs: movie (for two), $3.50; popcorn, $2 or $3 (extra butter 25 cents), and free parking. The price is right – $3.50 evenings ($3 senior citizens), $2.50 matinees. But owner and manager John Esposito says money isn’t everything. “People like the flavor of the place,” he notes.

Doorman Ken Patterson unobtrusively stands watch at the auditorium entrance, his post for the past 13 years, and has seen a lot of movies in his time. “Too many times,” quips assistant manager Walter Wilson.

All the employees, dressed in black and white uniforms, comprise a compact, competent team when assisting moviegoers. “We’re like a small family here,” remarks Mazza.

Only the low-key Wilson stands out from the crowd by wearing a bright blue sweater. The 31-year-old assistant manager began working at Beach Cinema when he was 14, so he’s seen a lot of flicks, too. Whenever Wilson is asked how business is going, he’s likely to retort, “Depends on the movie!”

Esposito, who lives in Bradley Beach near his cinema, also broke into the movie business at a young age. While a high school student in 1969, he ushered at the Baronet in Long Branch, his hometown. Esposito spent much of his career working for Walter Reade, who owned a chain of movie theaters in Monmouth and Ocean counties. Beach Cinema was one of them, but then it was called the Palace – a stark boxy structure that hardly epitomized its name.

The setting today is simple, cozy despite its spacious capacity. Informality pervades the place.

Last month Esposito celebrated his 20th year running Beach Cinema – his name choice. Along the way, he has spruced up the place, which evokes an old-fashioned Shore charm reminiscent of summer vacations 40 or 50 years ago. Sandy feet in the aisles is de rigueur.

It’s the only full-time, single screen movie house left in Monmouth County, Esposito points out proudly, and it’s open year-round every day but Christmas Eve.

deleted user
[Deleted] on July 24, 2004 at 2:39 pm

Thanks Gary Crawford for listing the Beach, former Arcadia Theatre called Palace on this website. I believed I may have met you at the
Lyric Theatre, Asbury Park when you were projecting an American International classic. This was when I was doing the photographic work on the demolition of the Mayfair and St. James Theatres on Lake and Cookman from November 1974 – January 1975.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on July 20, 2004 at 5:34 pm

I was here this past weekend and they present a lovely show. The 7:10 Sunday show was packed, over two-thirds full, and it was great to see a big crowd in an old moviehouse. The words “Palace” are still set in the front sidewalk. There’s a well lit neon and flourescent marquee giving the name of the feature and its star player.

The auditorium is spotless, all on one level, with good seats and sightlines. Curtained walls and lighted sconces on both sides.

There is no stage curtain, but red lights gently bathe the screen while instrumenal verisons of pop hits play. No adverts or slides!

As the music and houselights fade, a slide of the theater’s logo, “BC” in olde english-type font, is shown, while an organ music fanfare is played. Wow!

This is followed by a film strip announcing “Starts Friday.” A nice touch that you don’t see much anymore.

After the one trailer plays, another filmstrip announces “Our Feature Attraction.”

And on with the show. I was especially happy to see that the image on the screen was bright and clear, and the sound system just loud enough.

Kudos to the owner and management, who obviously love running this local but charming showhouse.

William on December 9, 2003 at 10:03 am

Opened as the Palace Theatre with 690 seats.