Strand Theatre

900 Boardwalk,
Ocean City, NJ 08226

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jlaymon on June 23, 2008 at 2:40 pm


Yes I think they have torn down all the Adventure Village buildings now. I stopped by there not-too-long-ago and snapped a few pictures of what remained:

It was funny because the demolition guys there didn’t look very friendly at first and probably didn’t want someone poking around their project. But when I said Hi and showed them the old postcards of the place, they really took an interest and let me take all the pictures I wanted.

Lost Memory,

Yep. 70 years old. I almost forgot this is a big birthday year. It opened on August 11, 1938.


Technically, that is the same boxoffice out in front, but it isn’t used. They had promised the Planning Board and Historic Commission years ago that they would keep it. They covered the surfaces with stucco and it has been rotting for a while now (unless someone recently repaired it).

I believe tickets are sold at the side entrance (which was originally the rear auditorium exit).


Mikeoaklandpark on June 23, 2008 at 10:34 am

Looking at the picture, is that still the box office in the front? I know the enterence is now on the side like the Moorlyn. It’s amazing how the Frank’s ruin every theatre they get their hands on.

kencmcintyre on June 23, 2008 at 9:16 am

Jim, you mentioned Adventure Village back in February. The old buildings were being demolished when I drove by there last month.

TheaterBuff1 on February 20, 2008 at 12:01 am

You’re lucky they let you scavenge those backlit celebrity photos, Jim L, because here in Pennsylvania of late, or at least here in Philadelphia where I’m currently residing, when an historic building gets condemned for demolition, no one, not even the historic societies, is permitted to scavenge anything of important historic significance or value beforehand first. It seems to be some sort of a new policy. Several weeks ago I went down to Center City Philadelphia to see those two historic buildings on north Broad Street that were getting torn down to make way for the Pennsylvania Convention Center’s expansion. When I took note of several architectural features on the buildings' front facades that I believed could be removed and made use of elsewhere, I walked over and asked a hardhat if there was any way they could be scavenged before the wrecking ball had its final say. “Nope, everything goes!” he told me flat outright, and that was it. End of conversation. It was straight to the point and very cold. But, as I say, it appears to be the new policy. At least here. Out with the old, in with the new.

As for Adventure Village, I don’t know if it was the same thing, but I rembember when commuting between Pennsylvania and Ocean City seeing an array of small Disneyland-like buildings comprising what either was a miniature golf course or small amusement park for kids, so I’m now wondering if that’s what you’re referring to. It looked really interesting, and I’m now kicking myself for never stopping there to check it out firsthand. If it was the same thing you’re referring to, perhaps my memory distorts, for what I remember looked like a tiny medieval village straight out of the Brothers Grimm. As I recall, though, the last few times I saw it it looked like it was no longer open — one of several tried-and-failed enterprises along the Black Horse Pike route. In fact, it looked that way to me as far back as I can remember, as if it was something left over from the 1950s.

Anyway, getting back to the here and now, I hear that Ocean City today is in the process of getting an all-new 9th Street causeway and that some of the movers and shakers there are predicting it will become the next big new attraction in their ever ongoing effort to displace the Ocean City seashore environment as being the main one. As in, “Forget coming to Ocean City for the beach; come see this all-new bridge we’re building!”

One thing I always loved about the STRAND is that it never tried to override the main reason why people came to Ocean City. Rather, it was always tastefully run in a way that was complementary to the shoregoing experience. On many a rainy night when we couldn’t do anything else we were always grateful for the STRAND. And looking at those images you posted, Jim L, I’m amazed how the beauty of Ocean City’s own Grace Kelly is so ongoingly timeless! Even to this day we can look at that photo of her and just say “Wow!” As for the other celebrities in the backlit photos, did they all have ties to Ocean City as well? From what I’ve heard, many used to come stay at the Flanders. If so, what a truly classy era it must’ve been!

jlaymon on February 19, 2008 at 5:12 am

Thinking about Zaberers and Charlie Pumpernickels makes me remember the little amusement park we used to visit as kids. It was Adventure Village. It was also on the Black Horse Pike. It was a little town and old west style buildings that resembled a town square with a theater, bank, general store, etc. You would walk around the little town and check out all the buildings. On a regular interval, the Keystone Cops would chase a bad guy around town. So there were amusements and performances.

It wasn’t open long, only a few seasons before it closed. But the buildings have been there ever since, slowly decaying behind a stand of trees. I read now that they are finally going to tear it all down to make way for something new.

Just thought I would mention it.

And back to the STRAND. Those backlit movie star portraits have survived:


TheaterBuff1 on February 14, 2008 at 8:59 pm

That sounds familiar. But again, no specific recollections as to why. And again if I saw a photo it would probably all come rushing nack to me.

Mesntime, just to go way back (though given how fondly I remember it it doesn’t seem all that long ago to me), does everybody remember Chris' Restaurant in Ocean City? It was right there on the bay south of 9th Street Bridge, and of all the restaurants I ever ate at while at the Jersey Shore, it was by far my favorite! At that restaurant they had tables and chairs set up outside on the back deck overlooking the bay, and seriously, if you’re going to eat seafood and really want it to be meaningful, nothing short of that will do. In that sense Chris’s really spoiled me. If I recall correctly, it shut down immediately following the summer of 1972, and I could never quite understand why. For EVERYBODY loved Chris’s it seems! But alas, it left us too soon.

kencmcintyre on February 14, 2008 at 6:50 am

You may also recall the restaurant across the street from the McKee City Zaberer’s. It was called Charlie Pumpernickel’s. Also gone now.

TheaterBuff1 on February 14, 2008 at 12:35 am

As I recall, there was a “Zabererville” when you traveled from Ocean City down to Wildwood — not the name of an actual town, mind you, but simply another Zaberer’s Restaurant located down that way. I assume the two restaurants were linked somehow. In trying to Google more info on the one located on the Black Horse Pike, and perhaps bring up a photo or two, all the links seemed to have to do with the one enroute to Wildwood, which I’m guessing was not wiped out by the casino tsunami, or at least not as immediately. Looking back now, that was really weird how all these things of such seeming permanence were wiped out so quickly. Zaberer’s. Tony Mart’s. Watson’s Restaurant in Ocean City. The Smuggler’s Shop on the Ocean City boardwalk.

As for the polar bear on the roof of Zaberer’s, I honestly don’t remember it. But I’m sure that detail will come back to me the moment I see a photo of it…if there’s any around. And just out of curiosity, what was the story behind Zaberer’s anyway? Surely there had to be an interesting story behind all that outlandish exterior decor it had. In looking back now, it reminds me of that scene in EDDIE & THE CRUISERS when Eddie goes to that special private place he has set up in that junkyard.

kencmcintyre on February 13, 2008 at 2:32 pm

Don’t forget the polar bear on the roof.

jlaymon on February 13, 2008 at 9:12 am

I remember Zaberer’s from when I was in high school. We had a few banquets there. It was pretty interesting. I seem to remember a few different dining areas, a gift shop, photo booth, and lots of decorations.

I don’t know if this link will work, but here is an aerial shot of the Zaberers location.

View link

hondo59 on February 13, 2008 at 8:37 am

Zaberer’s has been an empty lot for many years. The last time I drove by the site was 2005.

TheaterBuff1 on February 12, 2008 at 11:50 pm

I remember Zaberer’s! Sadly, one of the first casualties when casinos quickly took hold in Atlantic City. I never went to eat there — regretfully — because I just assumed it was a thing of permanence and would still be around when I got older. I think we all felt that way. But when that time came, there was just this big huge empty void so to speak. At least I got to see it from the outside on many occasions passing by, it being one of the most eccentric buildings I think I’d ever seen in my life. I assume, though, that the food served inside was not quite as eccentric. When I vacationed regularly each year in Ocean City, I had an older friend I’d meet up with each summer who went there regularly. And upon his return from Zaberer’s he always boasted of the lobster Neuburg and blueberry cheesecake he had. So much so that I got to wondering if they ever served anything else!

And only in South Jersey at that time could they pull off having a restaurant look so whacky and outlandish yet be so extremely formal when you went in. Nonetheless, what a crazy but wonderful era it was!

What’s there in place of Zaberer’s today I wonder?

kencmcintyre on February 12, 2008 at 11:01 am

There used to be a restaurant called Zaberer’s, out on the Black Horse Pike, that would loan you a suit jacket if you didn’t bring one to wear. The days when people would dress up to eat out or walk on the boardwalk are long gone.

TheaterBuff1 on October 17, 2007 at 11:12 pm

Thanks for the additional great photos, Ken MC! In looking at them, though, I’m amazed how people interpreted how they should “appropriately” dress when at the Shore back in those days. For it just seems so out of sync with what the environmental conditions demand. It must’ve gotten awfully hot and uncomfortable for them at times! Quite seriously, they must’ve gone through clothes like crazy! For how many times can you sweat in a three-piece suit and it still remain wearable? For there wasn’t any air-conditioning back then, nor were there even any washing machines yet, were there? And no deodorants yet or whatever. It’s hard to picture what it must’ve been like from today’s perspective!

TheaterBuff1 on October 16, 2007 at 10:16 pm

Thanks for clearing that up, Jim-L, as it just didn’t match up with the Strand I’ve always known. It’s positioning on the boardwalk was clearly all wrong.

kencmcintyre on October 16, 2007 at 7:54 pm

Perhaps the old Strand should be added as a separate theater.

jlaymon on October 16, 2007 at 5:56 am

That’s a great (1932) picture of the original Strand which was located between Moorlyn Terrace and 9th. It burned down in the fall of 1937 (70 years ago this month). The new Strand was built on the corner of 9th and Boardwalk in ‘38.

Thanks to Ken for posting that picture!

TheaterBuff1 on October 15, 2007 at 10:23 pm

As much as I feel that looks like a great theater — and my gosh, will you look at that crowd! — if I’m not mistaken, it’s a DIFFERENT Strand. Nonetheless, thanks for sharing it with us though!

TheaterBuff1 on September 14, 2007 at 9:50 pm

With THE UNTOUCHABLES being the last movie I saw at the Strand Theatre, which was at the end of the 1987 summer, I can attest that it was still being managed very well even as late as that. For so much else about Ocean City, NJ by that point, at least so far as legacies go, was clearly over by then, done in and then followed up by silence as it were — a silence which for the most part has held firmly ever since. And it’s a silence, one backed up by a great deal of hostility, not to mention big money and highly corrupt government, that makes it extremely difficult if not impossible to glean good ideas from Ocean City at this very late point in time. Not only is every possible mechanism in place to prevent Ocean City from ever being a great legacy again, but also to prevent the truth of what actually happened there from ever being fully told, and even to prevent what once existed there from being replicated anywhere else.

Shy of a massive miracle, Ocean City never can be great again, and that much is clearly understood. But that’s far from saying that Ocean City is completely irrelevant at this point in time. From the historic accounts of Jim_L and others, my own memories and that of others, a great deal of that which is very valuable with regards to the future can still be acquired from there. But acquiring this information is very much like walking through a mine field. For instance, you obviously cannot approach the Frank Company and say you’d like to learn as much as you can about the Strand Theatre before they ruined it and expect them to be in any way helpful, as those currently trying to restore Cape May, NJ’s historic Beach 4 Theatre know firsthand. It’s like trying to get a straight answer from Cain about what became of his brother Abel. Not only does the Frank Company not want this information known, but it will use every ruse at its disposal to prevent this information from being acquired and built upon anew, whether in Ocean City, Cape May, or anywhere else it can prevent such from happening. That’s not to say acquiring such information is impossible in light of the formidable obstacles the Frank Company imposes. Rather, it’s just to point out what’s entailed. In brief, when walking through the mine field, if getting to the other side in one piece is the goal, it helps to know where the mines are planted and where and where not to step enroute.

kencmcintyre on September 14, 2007 at 5:28 pm

In 1981, the almanac lists the Moorlyn Twin, Strand and Village as Shriver theaters. General manager was Arthur W. Oehlschlager, as noted above.

TheaterBuff1 on September 6, 2007 at 10:14 pm

I applied for a job at Shriver’s Saltwater Taffy in the summer of 1974 and was interviewed by Mr. Shriver himself — a very classy gentleman! — so I can only assume from that that the Shriver family still owned the taffy business, or at least that particular operation at 9th and the Boardwalk, at that point. And the Mr. Shriver I’m referring to was most likely the son based on the great information you’ve given us, Jim-L, although up till now I always assumed he was the original Mr. Shriver. For the man I met was elderly, yet nonetheless he just had that air about him. Like someone who had done it all, and with honesty and integrity — plus humility — every step of the way. And you suuuure don’t find businessmen like that anymore! Meantime, at that time I was very young and naive, and I actually turned the job he offered me down, my not feeling confident I could possibly live up to his high expectations. For just a day or so before I had a terrible run-in with another Ocean City businessman who was the polar opposite of Mr. Shriver — Phil Turner of Phil Turner Displays — who to this very day I continue to regard as the lowliest lowlife I ever met. And I imagine the list is verrrrry long of others who can claim the same! For one sombering thing I can remember about Phil Turner was how he was using these job applications that asked, “Are you now, or were you ever a member of the Communist Party,” which by then was long illegal. Yet Turner was somehow getting away with it for some reason…..along with everything else that could readily be described as crooked.

As for Ocean City and how it changed, what was definitely not grasped or appreciated by the sudden influx of newcomers at the time was that this seaside town had been a longstanding legacy. For a hundred years straight it had been such. And to me legacies are such that standard principles of business as you describe, Jim-L, do not apply. Or should not. But the changes that overswept Ocean City — primarily brought on when Atlantic City went the way of casinoization — were so massive, so swift, so sudden, that there wasn’t even a chance to put protective measures in place to preserve that town in the ways it clearly needed to be. When it came that all of us were totally naive at the time. While we did all expect Atlantic City to change in some fashion — though none of us accurately foresaw how — Ocean City was not supposed to be swept up in that. That was not part of the deal, for Ocean City had been great prior to then. In that, I can’t recall a single person (er, aside from perhaps Phil Turner and maybe one or two really shallow-minded realtors at that time — what we called “idiots”) who looked upon Ocean City as a “problem” that needed to be “corrected.” For to me and countless others it had been the standard-setter that all the other New Jersey resorts needed to catch up to. For it was everything that a seaside resort should be.

And as for the Strand Theatre, the way I remember it, prior to when Ocean City changed it was such a popular boardwalk attraction that I didn’t go to it very often because I was actually fearful that I wouldn’t get a seat! Rather, I always made a special point to go to it during the off times, such as after the season was over, or the last show of the evening during mid-week. And even then it had goodly crowds as I recall.

jlaymon on September 6, 2007 at 9:51 pm

Ken, Thanks for the info.
Mr. Faunce owned the business, but Shriver owned the buildings, and after Faunce died, Mrs. Shriver-Schiling decided she would own the business and hire a general manager (Arthur Oehlschlager) to run the Shriver Theatre Company.

Don’t know if this is the same Faunce family as the Absecon road. But D. Roscoe Faunce’s father did own the Faunce Theatre on the boardwalk that burned down in 1927. And his son, Roscoe (Rip) Faunce was a manager while I was there.

The Strand Theatre Company also operated the Moorlyn and Gateway Theatres at that time. Don’t know why they were left out of the almanac. But thanks again for the info!


kencmcintyre on September 6, 2007 at 7:45 pm

The 1963 motion picture almanac lists the Strand Theater Co. out of Ocean City. The Strand Co. owned the Village Theater and the Strand at that time. Owner was D. Roscoe Faunce. There is a Faunce Landing Road in Absecon, so I assume this is a family with some roots in the area.