Paxtang Theater

3427 Derry Street,
Paxtang, PA 17111

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jgrif96229 on August 24, 2014 at 10:37 pm

John Simmers or anyone else reading this site who is familiar with the State Theater and it’s closing. The Patriot//Evening newspaper ran a closing story on front page with me in my younger days. Many years hence and I don’t have a copy of that newspaper. It ran during October around 1974. My email is . That being said there has not been anything like the Old Paxtang theater when it comes to small community.

John Simmers
John Simmers on August 1, 2011 at 10:30 am

Joe, I know who you are and you may remember me also. Your older brother worked for Doc too and was there when the Paxtang first closed. I also have the articles from when the State closed and you being the last manager. You must have some stories to tell about the Paxtang. I for one would love to hear them! As you can tell from my write-up, it was one of my favorite childhood haunts.

jgrif96229 on August 1, 2011 at 9:03 am

I worked as a kid for both Doc and the Rainbow Roller rink owner at this Theatre. I lived 2 blocks away. I also worked for the Eric theater and my final job in the area was as Manager of the State Theatre in Harrisburg. I was the last manager there before it was sold.

1posterfan4sure on March 11, 2010 at 10:03 am

Just for laughs, check out this link:

The Paxtang Theater alternated this and another creaky old “Previews of Coming Attractions” trailer until 1966. I recall this being a little longer, and unfortunately the ending of this one is clipped, but you get the idea. It says 1940 but I’ll bet this goes back to 1937 when the theater opened.

1posterfan4sure on March 10, 2010 at 10:20 am

Yes, there was a theater in York called the HiWay. It was on West Market Street at the intersection with Carlisle Avenue. It had its last gasp as – what else – a porno house around 1984. Sat vacant for a long time and was eventually sold for taxes. It is now a factory for a company that makes decorative metal work.

When National Screen Service closed its regional exchanges in the 1970s, years upon years of posters were carted out and dumped. Savvy collectors who found out about this went dumpster diving and carried them away by the truckload, so I’ve been told. How many more were actually lost, you have to wonder. I began collecting again in the 1990s and did so for several years but haven’t done much this decade. Back then you could go to a show and actually see what you were buying. Now it’s all on-line.

One of my oldest posters came from Renninger’s flea market: “San Antonio” starring Errol Flynn. $5 around 1970. Every once in a while you find a newspaper ad from someone who has a collection to sell, or find a theater that stored them, but not often. I don’t know what direction prices are heading nowadays.

Ross Care
Ross Care on March 10, 2010 at 8:57 am

Hello John – My e-mail is
Thanks! I’ll look forward to reading it.

We did not attend the Paxtang very often and so my memories are spotty. So I really enjoyed your piece. Many of my Central Dauphin H.S. friends lived in Paxtang and Lenker (sp?) Manor.

I have a collection of film material from the days when it was affordable to collect. I remember once the editor of Cinefantastique (for which I used to write) sold a bunch of original Disney material very cheap. I also used to find stuff in the Lancaster flea markets, Renninger’s, etc. Like a lot of movie magazines.

Was there a York theater called the Hi-Way (or something?)

1posterfan4sure on March 10, 2010 at 8:41 am

Ross, I’ll e-mail it to you. Doc returned the larger posters to National Screen Service but the one-sheets he stored for a while and then threw out. I can tell you where lots of the movie posters Doc trashed are today. In my storage closet. A friend of my older brother made a similar discovery one day, and I started making a regular swing by to look for posters and pressbooks. Doc used to occasionally give you one if you asked but I struck up an acquaintance with the old guy who cleaned the place and he used to set them aside for me. Many are in wretched shape but there were a few gems, like four color lobby cards from “Some Like It Hot,” a one-sheet for “From Russia With Love,” and a pressbook for “A Hard Day’s Night.” Some of them will contribute to my retirement eventually!

Ross Care
Ross Care on March 10, 2010 at 8:20 am

I’d like to read it. Could it be e-mailed or linked?

Later in life my mother lived in an apartment to the left of the Paxtang. I used to park on the back lot and on one visit noticed a pile of trash behind the theater. Much to my mom’s mortification I immediately started rooting through it. A prize discovery, among other items, was a poster for MGM’s “Sweet Bird of Youth” starring Geraldine Page and Paul Newman.

I still have it. But can’t help but wonder many posters, stills, and lobby cards were thrown out in a similar fashion? Sad.

I also remember that when I was a small child Paxtang Park (in the same general area as the theater, through an underpass at the intersection near the theater) seemed very natural, woodsy, and beautiful. I have vague memories of an old stone mill-type structure with a millpond of sparkling clear water. It was like something out of a fairy tale.

I think now one of the Harrisburg bypasses runs over or along the park.

JohnMessick on March 8, 2010 at 7:58 am

Ross, he did a great story on it..You need to read it.

Ross Care
Ross Care on March 8, 2010 at 7:49 am

Very nice piece. I almost missed it because I’ve always considered Paxtang part of Harrisburg.

I also remember a firehouse next to the theater. You can sort of see it to the right of the photo.

John S – I’d like to read your piece on the Paxtang and anything else you’ve done. How? Please let me know.

JohnMessick on February 22, 2010 at 8:04 pm

Now John let me jog your memory…What color neon did it have on the marquee?

1posterfan4sure on February 22, 2010 at 7:52 pm

Thanks, guys. I’m glad you enjoyed reading it. I don’t know if this will work, but I found a photo of the Paxtang at this web address:

View link

It’s a recent photo. As you can see, the gymnastics school has neglected the once-beautiful facade. They painted everything over with green. Wish I had a photo in its glory.

John, you’ve read my much-longer story about the Paxtang. Perhaps I’ll share a few bits from that from time to time.

JohnMessick on February 22, 2010 at 7:34 pm

John, I can picture that in my mind. Now if Ross can come up with a picture.