Movie Theatres on the
in Ocean City, New
early years of the 20th century, theatres have held a prominent place
on the Ocean City Boardwalk. First opening as playhouses for vaudeville
acts, later presenting silent films to fascinated crowds, and eventually
showing modern films with modern equipment. This page is an amateur's
account of the old movie houses by the sea.
By 1989, only four theatres had survived the years of
fires, and development. Only three still ran movies. The Village,
Moorlyn and Strand were the last of the old theatres, with the youngest
having been built just before World War II. Today only the
Strand and the Moorlyn run movies.
This history was written from my many interviews with former
employees, photographers, and from my amateur research of documents,
box-office records, and old blueprints. I was employed as a
projectionist starting in 1977 and quickly developed a real interest in
the history of these old buildings.
In the 1980's the projectionists worked much as they did 50 years
earlier. There was no automation in the projection room (except for one
auditorium in the
Moorlyn Twin). Film reels ran for 20 minutes, screens
were lit with carbon arc lamps, and film was rewound with a hand crank.
As a projectionist from 1977 to 1989 I spent countless hours sitting in
a small projection bunker minding the machines as they hummed and
Helen Shriver Schilling inherited the theatres from her father,
William Shriver, and owned them until 1989, when they were sold to a
front company that turned out to be owned by local competitors. The
buildings were quickly gutted and converted into multiplexes, keeping
none of the old theatre charm or quality. Most people familiar with the
buildings, the history, and the owner were disappointed with the
transformation. Planning Board and Historical Commission meetings and
resolutions failed to prevent the haphazard conversions. Newspaper
articles of the time spoke of a piece of history lost. Hopefully, these
pages offer a glimpse at a modest but interesting Old Movie House
industry on the boardwalk, now gone.
Click here to see aerial view of the boardwalk
I enjoy getting comments from
visitors as well as corrections and helpful information. My
amateur research is based on souvenirs from the theaters,
photographs and a few public records. Bob Marts of Senior Studios
used to indulge me in long discussions of speculation about the
boardwalk timeline, and I will miss his friendly conversations.
But I'm always looking for clues to the missing pieces of this
Please Sign my
View my old Guestbook
I have a few more old blueprints to go through, and I have
boxes and boxes of box office
statements to skim through
from the Moorlyn, Showboat, Strand, Park, Village, and Surf. I
like to look up certain dates to see what was playing when I was
born, or on D-Day, or opening day for the new Strand. There are interesting
notes in there, like when they were closed for Kennedy's
funeral, or when the Moorlyn first opened with a movie with Sound. I hope to find these treasures and scan a few.
I would love to find: A picture of the Village after
the fire, but before 1933 when the seaport front was added.
Here is the Moorlyn just after being moved. It shows
that the multi-sided corner was not removed when they moved it.
This is sometime before 1932 because the old marquee is still
picture showing Moorlyn had moved by July 1929.
Boardwalk frontage, 1910, taken from Young's Pier.
Most of the images on these pages are from
postcards. Many of the black and white photographs are
from Senior Studios in Ocean City, used by permission. The
color photographs are my own snapshots.
Web site by Jim Laymon