Charles Theatre

2217 Atlantic Avenue,
Atlantic City, NJ 08401

Unfavorite 3 people favorited this theater

Showing 21 comments

michaeljayklein on July 22, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Oh yes, I have very fond memories of The Charles. I spent my entire teenage years going there every time they ran a new picture. I guess I should mention Mr. Tannenbaum always let me in free—he was a friend of my dad’s (man, was I lucky!) I’d see ANYTHING that was playing there—I even sat through “Barry Lyndon” without the benefit of my prescription glasses, as I accidentally had broken them earlier that day. Yes, it was a very fine theater, and I do remember the color TV as I’d sit there watching it before the movie and Mr. Tannenbaum and I would talk—he was a very nice man; always treated me like an “adult”. I remember he was a very good looking man (my mom always said he reminded her of actor George Montgomery in a way).

Someone earlier mentioned a balcony in the theater, but I’m almost certain there was none (?) If somebody can correct me, please do!

I think The Charles, as I remember it, was not doing too well, although they would always get the really “hot” movies when they came out and had huge lines outside (I remember seeing “The Exorcist” and “The Godfather” there to name a couple), but along with the “class” pictures, I can remember seeing a SLEW of great exploitation pictures there—to this day, I can remembering bopping in as usual, totally unaware of what the movie was or what it was about and that week they were showing “Halloween”. SCARED the living works out of me, and I recall walking the six blocks home sticking very closely to the curb on Atlantic City so that if anything jumped out at me from an alley way, my feet had a head start.

Thanks for remembering The Charles, Mr. Tannenbaum and for including a nice picture of it—that alone brought back tons of memories.


Note to Mr. Chuck Workman above: Yes, I was at the premier of your film! I remember it! And the reason I especially remember this is because Mr. Tannenbaum’s wife was at the ticket booth that particular night, she didn’t know me from Adam, and I had to scrounge up the $3.00 myself that time! So you didn’t get cheated Chuck…

brooklynfilm on July 8, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Hey Jill! How is your Dad? I miss the old Theatre days sometimes!

jillperry on March 21, 2014 at 4:44 am

The Charles Theater was owned by Charles Tannenbaum but run and operated by George Perry and Perry Management. It was a venue for many movie premieres as the casinos came revitalized Atlantic City. A movie premiere I recall it hosting was “Sammy Stops the World” with Sammy Davis Jr, which was about his life, and he and his buddies attended the opening with a gala at Caesars following it. This was the first of premieres I was allowed to finally attend being old enough. The Charles had a beautiful balcony and stayed up to the times as best as it could. It was the first theater at the time in the area to have the big sub wolfer speakers when the came out for Battle Star Gallactica. It was eventually sold to the casinos and became a parking lot.

brooklynfilm on December 31, 2011 at 8:13 pm

I think I may still have a 35mm trailer for ‘The Money’ in storage… small world.

brooklynfilm on December 31, 2011 at 7:14 pm

I used to date the niece of the manager from the Tilton Theatre in Northfield, NJ and Charles (co-owned the Tilton) would let us sit in the closed balcony during the weeknights. Sweet.

kencmcintyre on September 23, 2009 at 11:55 pm

This article from the Uniontown (PA) Evening Standard is dated 11/21/63, the day before the Kennedy assassination:

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) â€"A general alarm fire broke out early today in a movie theater about 13 blocks south of Monday’s disastrous hotel fire in this resort city. The movie house, the Surf
Theater, was closed for the night and empty when an alarm sounded at 1:23 a.m. Ten residents of apartments above the two-story, stucco theater escaped from the building without injury, firemen said.

The flames, believed to have started in the projection room, were brought under control within a few hours. Fire Chief Warren Conover estimated damage at $50,000. The theater, on Atlantic Avenue, is a block from Convention Hall. Today’s general alarmer came less than 72 hours after the Surfside Hotel disaster that so far has claimed 12 known dead, with 13 more missing and 10 buildings destroyed.

CWorkman on September 23, 2009 at 11:28 pm

My first movie, shot in Atlantic City and called The Money, premiered at The Charles. Charles Tannenbaum was a family friend and actually did us a favor, as the film was a tiny independent movie and hardly played anywhere theatrically. On the night of the “gala” opening, a few people showed up, including my parents who lived nearby. Since my stepfather was a local celebrity, the Atlantic City Press wrote about the premiere and said that the family would all be there. This information proved useful to some and my parents' house was robbed when they were at the movie.
I went often to the Charles, and also to other theaters owned by Charles, and I think a lot of how I feel about movies came from the offbeat films I saw there, and at the Astor and some of the other smaller AC theaters. Charles loved exhibition and told me he often would stop in to one of his theaters, like the Tilton, when he was a successful casino executive, and just hang out, take tickets, and smell the popcorn.
Years later I thought about buying the Margate (the Ventnor was too expensive) but never got very far with that. I watched so many movies in AC as I grew up, mostly at the Ventnor and Margate, but in uptown Atlantic City too as I got older, and so many of the films I used to use in movie montages I probably first saw on some rainy summer day at an Atlantic City theater.
The Money is out on dvd, probably available on Amazon, now called by the distributor Atlantic City Jackpot. The biggest star in it was Danny DeVito, who had three lines, but of course they put his picture on the box.

kencmcintyre on October 19, 2008 at 5:19 am

From the Hartford Cuurant, 11/22/63:

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (UPI) — The second major fire here this week destroyed the Surf Theater Thursday and routed 12 persons from apartments on upper floors. The movie house is about a mile and a half from the Surfside Hotel.

edblank on May 20, 2008 at 6:21 pm

Does anyone remember which distributor fed films to this theater when it was the Surf? – Ed Blank

michaeljayklein on November 16, 2007 at 1:29 am

Mr. Tannenbaum was a friend of my dad’s when I was growing up and he kindly let me see every movie at the Charles for free! What a nice guy! My most memorable “Charles” moment was seeing “Halloween” when it first came out. I’d go to the Charles to see any movie playing there and had no idea I’d get the heebie-jeebies scared out of me when I saw that movie! Sorry to hear it is no longer there. I moved from Atlantic City in 1984.

teecee on March 25, 2006 at 1:54 am

Still listed as part of Milgrim Theatres, Inc. in the 1985 International Motion Picture Almanac.

teecee on March 2, 2006 at 9:38 am

Listed as part of Milgrim Theatres, Inc. in the 1970 FDY & 1976 International Motion Picture Almanac.

kencmcintyre on January 26, 2006 at 5:46 pm

I was in Atlantic City at the beginning of the year. There is now a large shopping mall around the area of Columbus Park, Missouri and Atlantic Avenues.

Mikeoaklandpark on January 26, 2006 at 3:56 pm

I just saw your posting from Dec 15. Charles Tannenbaum was a nice guy. I worked at Atlantic Bank in 77 and he was one of my customers. He also owned the Capital burlesque and later the Apollo Burlesque. I grew up in Phila (great what you have done for the Boyd. I love that theater) and spent summers in AC.

Cinedelphia on December 15, 2005 at 5:08 pm

Thanks for the info. I know I saw alot of movies at the Charles that were filmed in scope (Cromwell, The Getaway, Bridge At Remagen, etc)
but it was a long time ago and my memory is a bit hazy regarding
presentation details and at that age I really didn’t know much about
scope, masking, etc. I’m glad to hear The Charles had proper presentation as the theatre was a class act for most of it’s life.
Also, Charles Tannenbaum, the owner of the Charles, also owned or
co-owned the Beach and Tilton theatres.

Mikeoaklandpark on November 28, 2005 at 3:18 pm

The Charles did have masking and offered scope presentaions, Lady Sings The Blues, Once Is Not Enough and a roadshow engagement of The Lion In Winter in 68.

kencmcintyre on September 14, 2005 at 11:31 pm

Actually, the theater would have been on the west side of the street, if I can correct myself. I have lived on the West Coast too long and automatically assume that anything going away from the beach is east.

kencmcintyre on September 11, 2005 at 2:10 am

This theater was on Atlantic Avenue near Columbus Park, if I recall, on the east side of the street.

Cinedelphia on January 14, 2005 at 3:19 am

The Charles was a nice modern theatre that specialized in foreign and
art films. They also showed high profile mainstream films such as The
Godfather. Toward the end of it’s existance the Charles showed mainly
first run Hollywood films. The one thing, if my memory serves me right (I was just a teenager when I saw films there)that I didn’t care for was the theatre’s practice of showing all films at the
aspect ratio of 2:1 regardless of how they were filmed (I do not recall ever seeing the screen masked for different formats). Unfortunately I understand this was a common practice at many AC theatres at that time. If anyone has any more info on the subject of screen masking for proper aspect ratio or the lack of at the Charles or other Atlantic City theatres I’d like to know more.