Center Theatre

1517 Atlantic Avenue,
Atlantic City, NJ 08401

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 25, 2014 at 4:53 am

The August 9, 1913, issue of Motography had this item about the opening of a house called the Colonial Theatre, but it gives a different location for it:

“Crowds flocked to the handsome new Colonial theater at Atlantic avenue, between New York and Kentucky avenues, Atlantic City, the afternoon of July 2, to attend the opening performance. Words of praise were heard on all sides for the up-to-date manner in which the new house is to be conducted and for its general appearance. Six capital pictures are shown each afternoon and evening. Chris S. Hand is the able general manager of the house and he has a competent staff of assistants.”
I don’t know if the magazine just got the location wrong, or if there actually was another, short-lived Colonial Theatre a few blocks from this one.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on April 17, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Funny Girl was shown here in 70MM

TheALAN
TheALAN on April 16, 2014 at 5:58 am

In case we missed something —

This theater opened as the Colonial Theatre in 1914, two blocks from the boardwalk. Located at 1517 Atlantic Avenue near Mississippi Avenue, it seated 1,391. Renamed the Center Theatre in 1954. Yes, the theater was capable of screening 70mm as it was equipped with 35mm/70mm Philips/Norelco projectors and Ashcraft Super Cinex carbon arc lamps. “Greased Lightning” starring Richard Pryor (Warner Bros.—July, 1977) was the last motion picture to be seen at the Center Theatre. The lettering was still on the marquee when the theatre was demolished. The site is now a part of Renaissance Plaza, a shopping center built in 1996. A KFC/Taco Bell now stands where the Center Theatre once stood.

rivoli157
rivoli157 on November 13, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Summer 1969 Funny Girl was playing at the Center.I have pics but am unable to upload

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on April 7, 2009 at 3:26 am

This is a 1968 photo when the Center was showing adult films. In the 1970s it was showing first run films, as I recall, circa 1974-1976.
http://tinyurl.com/cmpktt

edblank
edblank on May 28, 2008 at 1:18 am

I had not realized that only the Atlantic Avenue theaters stayed open in the off-season.

emayfieldz
emayfieldz on May 12, 2007 at 10:55 pm

I was an usherette at the Center in the mid-1960s for two long-run films, “My Fair Lady” and “Lawrence of Arabia.” I believe they tried the long-runs to revitalize attendance. Can’t remember how long each one ran, but seems to me over 10 weeks each. Long enough for me to know every line of every character in each film!

Crazy Bob Madara
Crazy Bob Madara on September 7, 2006 at 8:53 pm

The Center Theatre had 35/70mm Philips/Nelrelco projectors & Ashcraft Super Cinex carbon arc lamps. Ed Hiltner of Brigantine was the main projectoinist there. My last memory of the Center was in the Summer of 1976. I was running matinee’s at the Hollywood, next door, and Ed was showing a film called “The River Niger”. It was in the summer of ‘73 that the Center showed “The Devil And Miss Jones” for many weeks.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on February 25, 2006 at 5:55 pm

I was in Atlantic City in January. The area by Columbus Park has been completely redeveloped with chain stores, but no movie theater. That seems like an odd omission if you’re trying to get people out of the casinos and into the mall several blocks from the boardwalk. If the retailers are counting on the locals, they are in trouble.

teecee
teecee on February 25, 2006 at 4:19 pm

Listed in the 1970 FDY as part of G.G. Theatres.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on November 28, 2005 at 3:13 pm

Howard
Just saw your posting from Jan. The Center showed Funny Girl in 70mm as a roadshow engagement in 69. The Hollywood showed Airport and Doctor Dolittle in 70mm

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on September 8, 2005 at 7:14 pm

So where did My Fair Lady play in Atlantic City? It had to have been 70mm. And all those Todd AO films and Ben Hur. And Cinerama? They couldn’t all have been at the Virginia.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 7, 2005 at 6:44 pm

The Colonial Theatre opened in 1914 and was built for movies and vaudville. It was equipped with a Kimball theatre pipe organ.

HowardB
HowardB on January 13, 2005 at 4:42 pm

I attended movies at the Center Theater many times during the 60’s and 70’s. During that time the theater, along with the Hollywood, Shore,Virginia and Roxy were operated by George Hamid, Jr. (who also owned Steel Pier). The theater was not the ornate movie palace the larger neighboring Hollywood was, but still a great place to see a movie in its heyday. The Center’s auditorium was very wide and had no balcony. The theater’s prominant and best feature was it’s huge curved screen. I believe the theater was equipped for 70mm (especially with that big screen) but I don’t recall any 70mm
presentations there from the mid 60’s – late 70’s. I did see the Blue Max at the Center as a roadshow engagement, but it was 35mm Cinemascope. Interestingly, the only theater I recall as having 70mm
presentations during that era was the Virginia located on the Boardwalk which did not have that impressive a screen sizewise and was in fairly funky condition for a roadshow house even in the 60’s.
If anyone out there has any info on 70mm presentation in Atlantic City at theaters other than the Virginia I’d love to hear about it.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on October 21, 2004 at 9:55 pm

Correction to my above posting, the theater closed in 1978. Anyone with onformation on the other Atlantic City theaters please contact me at

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on October 21, 2004 at 9:42 pm

The theater closed around 1977. The last movie there was Greased Lightning. They never took it off the marquee and it got demolished witht he building to make way for a parking lot.

William
William on July 13, 2004 at 10:43 pm

The Colonial Theatre was located at 1517 Atlantic Ave. and it seated 1391 people.

EMarkisch
EMarkisch on July 12, 2004 at 4:37 pm

I believe that the approximate dating of the photo of the Atlantic City Colonial and Hollywood theaters should be late February to mid to late March of 1947. The clues to this dating being that there is snow on the ground and the main feature on the marquee of the Colonial appears to be “THE BEAST WITH FIVE FINGERS”. This Warner feature premiered on December 25, 1946 and went into general release on February 8, 1947. Although it was reissued by Dominant Pictures in 1956, the name of the theater had been changed to the Center two years prior.