Virginia Theatre

935 Boardwalk,
Atlantic City, NJ 08401

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Showing 51 - 70 of 70 comments

teecee on July 5, 2005 at 9:38 am

My records show that an Austin organ, opus 627, was installed in 1916. Later in 1924 the Kimball organ was installed.

VincentParisi on May 9, 2005 at 6:26 am

The last time I saw the Shore it was I believe playing The Love Machine.
I voted to pass gambling in Atlantic City thinking this would restore the City to its former glory. Which for me meant restoring the great hotels and the great theaters. Of course this just hastened the demise of what made the city great in the first place. I now avoid it totally. Losing money fast in large impersonal casinos holds no allure for me whatsoever.
Jersey lost so much in letting its great shore towns run down. I wonder if I’m the only one who noticed. Well in allowing it I’m sure the politicos made a ton of money.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 7, 2005 at 8:35 am

The Virginia Theatre opened in 1915 and it was equipped with a Kimball theatre pipe organ.

koolart on April 23, 2005 at 3:11 pm

It was interesting to stumble upon this site while researching Skinny D'amato for an art piece to go into the new AC House of Blues. I grew up in Ventnor and remember all the summer people coming for the season and how lively everything would be for those preciious three months. Sometimes we would venture to an Atlantic City beach…usually in front of the Traymore as we locals often had pool passes and could use the facilities there. I remember laying down on the beach and looking back and noting the spectacular skyline and all those glorious old hotels mentioned above. I would get such a thrill from that vision-as if I was looking at palaces in some exotic placel
I’ve lived in San Diego for the past 20 years and rarely visit Ventnor as my parents come here each year to get away. I did go back this past Thanksgiving and I barely recognized the place. In a way that’s very sad, but at the same time, what was going to happen to AC if casinos never passed? Would those gorgeous old hotels simply have faded into total disrepair anyway and the ghetto have moved closer and closer to my little pocket of suburbia? Could you even envision walking on the boardwalk after dark back then? Casino’s have been both a saving element and a plague upon a city that we knew and loved-a high price to pay for it’s salvation. Now, it’s all changed….and so have we. So, that said….thanks for listening and I loved reading about the city of my childhood.
Lynne (age 49 and alumnus of Holy Spirit High)

Mikeoaklandpark on January 21, 2005 at 10:50 am

Yeah I was lucky. We went to AC every summer from 67-78. We spent a lot of time at the Steel Pier. We went almost every week in the latter years. We saw some roadshow films. We saw The Bible and Oliver at the Shore, Funny Girl at The Center. Do you remember Wildwood and Ocean City? All the theaters there were ruined too. Wildwood closed all the theaters except for one. This was after Frank Theatres runied them by twinning and quading the 4 theaters. They did the same to the Ocean City Theaters in 1989 when they got there hands on those theaters

VincentParisi on January 21, 2005 at 9:52 am

Then you were fortunate that your parents took you to see these movies on vacation. While I remember a few roadshows playing in Asbury as well we never went to the movies first run. Those prices would have been outrageous. We had to wait to see them in the burbs.
I saw Lord Jim at a drive-in in the summer of 65 outside of Asbury though I would have rather seen MFL at the St James or SOM at the Paramount(so what was at the Lyric?.) I wish they had taken me to ee Jim at the State in Manhattan.
Saw Dolly at the St James on a Saturday afternoon in July ‘70. Still a beautiful first run house. Non reserved but prices different for Orch Loge and Balc($3.00 and $3.50 I believe.) The place was deserted.

Mikeoaklandpark on January 21, 2005 at 9:33 am

I was also very young when all this was happening. I was born in 57 so a lot of what went on I don’t remember to well if t was the early 60’s.

VincentParisi on January 21, 2005 at 7:37 am

Mike I was so young in the ‘60s when all these places had their last flicker of glory. I remember the retirees filling the benches on the boardwalk in the evening and now imagine them visiting as young men and women in the 1920’s when the resort was at it’s height. The place to me seemed like Disneyland for adults. I looked forward to visiting on my own when I was old enough and doing everything and visiting everywhere. Little did I know that in the '70s when I would finally have my chance everything would vanish as if it had never even existed.

Mikeoaklandpark on January 21, 2005 at 6:55 am

I know and you probibly rememebr steel pier. That was so much fun. When Hamid sold that to the owners of the Million Dollar Pier they ruin it. They knocked down the big vaudeville hall and the smaller Tony Grant theater to make way for International thrill rides. Well they got screwed becuase hurricane Gloria ruined it

VincentParisi on January 21, 2005 at 6:37 am

And think of the magnificent hotels that were torn down as well. Why anybody would want to tear down The Blenheim and the Traymore. It makes me sick to my stomach. At the time I thought the casinos would bring in revenue to restore the city to its former glory. What they did was to destroy the city itself and make it nothing more than a haven for casino owners. Except for people with a compulsion to lose money very quickly why in the world would anyone want to go to there?

Mikeoaklandpark on January 21, 2005 at 5:20 am

George Hamid closed the Roxy too after the 1973 season. In 1974 he converted it into a small museum called movie world that his son ran. They only used the inner lobby for the theater and the main auditoirm was left intact. The following year it was turned into an indoor amusement park and in 1980 or 81 it burned to the ground.
The Apollo closed in Auf 1973 when there lease was up. The following year it was turned into the Apollo burlesque and porno theater.The Hollywood opened Memorial Day weekend 1977 with King King and closed for good a week later with no explanation.The Strand lasted until 1979 and than was closed. The casino’s ruined AC.

VincentParisi on January 20, 2005 at 2:24 pm

Mike you’re killing me with all this negative info on what I thought were these grand cinemas. I remember seeing the Virginia boarded up in ‘76 with porn playing at the Apollo. How sad it all was and I haven’t been to the Boardwalk since. Too hearbreaking. I never knew about the Roxy, the Center or the Hollywood. Maybe it’s just as well…

Mikeoaklandpark on January 20, 2005 at 1:26 pm

Oh yeah Vincent, TSOM and GWTW did play in 70mm and steo sound. The revival of SOM also played in 70mm

Mikeoaklandpark on January 20, 2005 at 1:25 pm

Yeah I agree Vincent. I always thought it was a great palace inside and it wasn’t. I was very disappointed the only time I went when they had Hello Dolly in 1970. A shot of this theater all boarded up can be seen in the movie Atlantic City with Burt Lancaster.
Actually the Center theater on Atlantic Ave was beautiful and had a large curved screen and beautiful curtains. I also would love to know about My Fair Lady. 1971 was the last year the Shore was open.It too had no curtains or masking but did have a balcony.

VincentParisi on January 20, 2005 at 10:04 am

No curtains? No masking? Shabby, small auditorium, Odd curve to the screen? Here I’m thinking all these years this was the Rivoli of Altantic City, the premiere movie house of the town and I suddenly find it was a dive. Also what theater did MFL play roadshow in ‘65?
I think I walked past the Shore(not on the boardwalk correct?) in the summer of 71 and it was playing The Love Machine.

Mikeoaklandpark on January 20, 2005 at 8:55 am

Oliver opened May 29th at the Shore theater in 35mm and Funny Girl opened May 23 at the Center in 70mm. The Shore, Hollywood, Center and the Charles (For The Lion In Winter), the Apollo (Last Tango In Paris) were roadshow engagements.I saw Hello Dolly in 1970 and the theater was in decent shape. Geogre Hamid operated all these theaters along with the Roxy. The Virgina did not have curtains or masking which was very strange for a roadshow house.I would also be interested in where some of the other roadshow films played. I do know My Faur Lady played non roadshow at the Margate. I agree the Roxy would have made a much better theater for roadshow engagements.

VincentParisi on January 20, 2005 at 8:38 am

I’m surprised that a major city like Atlantic City was not showing 70mm at this time. But the films that you mentioned by the time they would have played there would have already proved to be flops(including Dolly in 35mm at the Virgina. Had it been a success it would I assume been shown there in Todd AO.) I assumed the Virgina would play its films like SOM and GWTW in 70mm.
Surely 2001 before it played at the Apollo it played somewhere in 70mm?
I remember in the summer of 68 the Apollo playing films like the Odd Couple and Where Were You When the Lights Went Out. A couple of years later it was showing Shaft and a few after that porn.
Was Funny Girl or Oliver at the Virginia in 69?

Cinedelphia on January 20, 2005 at 7:45 am

My frame of reference with the theatres in Atlantic City only goes back as far as the early to mid 60’s but as I can remember the following theatres besides the Virginia had roadshow or reserved seat engagements at one time or another. The Hollywood – “The Sand Pebbles”, “Dr. Doolittle”, and “Star”. The Center – “The Blue Max”.
To my recollection, none of these films were presented in 70mm.
(The only one’s that were actually shot in 70mm were “Dr. Doolittle"
and "Star”, “The Blue Max” and “The Sand Pebbles” were anamorphic scope blown up to 70mm for some venues). “Patton” played at the
Shore Theatre at regular admission prices (scope print, not D-150)

and “2001: A Space Odyssey” played at the Apollo at “popular admission price” (I’m also suspecting a scope reduction also). I have no recollection of Todd-AO 70 or Cinerama presentations, although I have heard that the Warner Theatre (which had been closed before I had the opportunity to see a film there)showed “Windjammer” in the three projector Cine Miracle process, but without stereo sound.

VincentParisi on January 19, 2005 at 1:17 pm

Did Atlantic City have other roadshow houses? For instance where did the Todd AO and Cinerama films play? Also where was My Fair Lady when SOM was at the Virginia? I remember as a boy walking by in the summer of ‘68 when GWTW was there. A large sign for Millie stood above the theater which probably had played there the summer before.
I’m disappointed that it was shabby inside. I had always imagined that it was a deluxe roadshow house. In in the summer of 71 Klute played there while window cards announced Song of Norway which I assume had had a very disappointing run.

Cinedelphia on January 19, 2005 at 12:05 pm

I remember seeing two films at the Virginia, “It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad
World” and “Krakatoa East of Java”. I could not have been more than
6 yrs old when I saw “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World” so I don’t recall much of what the theatre was like at the time (early 60’s).
I do recall when I saw “Krakatowa East of Java” that the theatre was in pretty shabby condition by then. The stereo sound was impressive,
but the screen (which had an odd curve in the middle)and auditorium
were a bit smaller than I would have expected for a roadshow house. I
always have wondered why The Roxy,the other big boardwalk house operated by George Hamid (he also ran the Virginia) was not set up
for 70mm / stereopohnic roadshows instead. The Roxy was a much larger theatre with a balcony, huge Cinemascope screen, mezzanine
and all the trappings of a classic movie palace.