Charles Theatre

2217 Atlantic Avenue,
Atlantic City, NJ 08401

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Milgram Theaters, Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.

Previous Names: Cozy Theatre, Strand Theatre, Palace Theatre, Surf Theatre

Nearby Theaters

The Charles Theatre - Last Day

Located between Christopher Columbus Boulevard and N. Mississippi Avenue on Atlantic Avenue in Atlantic City. Opened as the Strand Theatre on May 7, 1921 which closed on October 9, 1924. It opened as the Palace Theatre on April 1, 1931 which closed in 1951. It reopened as the Surf Theatre on December 13, 1951. The old Surf Theatre was badly damaged in a fire on November 22, 1963 (Yes, same day of the JFK assassination). Charles Tannambaum re-built it and opened on October 15, 1964 with Barbara Barrie in “One Potato, Two Potato”, and renamed it the Charles Theatre. It was very modern with drop ceiling, wall drapes, large lobby and an art gallery with complimentary expresso bar and color TV! I think the theatre seated around 600. The booth had a pair of Simplex E-7 projectors and Peerless Magnarc carbon lamps retrieved from the fire. RCA tube sound was used.

In 1976 Tannambaum was excited about casino gambling coming to Atlantic City. He said that we would be able to run continuous instead of nightly. The final movie screened at the Charles Theatre was Wilbur ‘Hi-Fi’ White in “Penitentiary” in December 1979 and it was soon demolished. The site became a Kinney parking lot. Tannambaum (who was a co-owner of the Tilton Twin in Northfield) took an upper echelon managment job with Ceasars World Casino-Hotel.

Contributed by Crazy Bob

Recent comments (view all 29 comments)

brooklynfilm on July 8, 2014 at 8:59 am

Hey Jill! How is your Dad? I miss the old Theatre days sometimes!

michaeljayklein on July 22, 2014 at 8:40 am

Oh yes, I have very fond memories of The Charles. I spent my entire teenage years going there every time they ran a new picture. I guess I should mention Mr. Tannenbaum always let me in free—he was a friend of my dad’s (man, was I lucky!) I’d see ANYTHING that was playing there—I even sat through “Barry Lyndon” without the benefit of my prescription glasses, as I accidentally had broken them earlier that day. Yes, it was a very fine theater, and I do remember the color TV as I’d sit there watching it before the movie and Mr. Tannenbaum and I would talk—he was a very nice man; always treated me like an “adult”. I remember he was a very good looking man (my mom always said he reminded her of actor George Montgomery in a way).

Someone earlier mentioned a balcony in the theater, but I’m almost certain there was none (?) If somebody can correct me, please do!

I think The Charles, as I remember it, was not doing too well, although they would always get the really “hot” movies when they came out and had huge lines outside (I remember seeing “The Exorcist” and “The Godfather” there to name a couple), but along with the “class” pictures, I can remember seeing a SLEW of great exploitation pictures there—to this day, I can remembering bopping in as usual, totally unaware of what the movie was or what it was about and that week they were showing “Halloween”. SCARED the living works out of me, and I recall walking the six blocks home sticking very closely to the curb on Atlantic City so that if anything jumped out at me from an alley way, my feet had a head start.

Thanks for remembering The Charles, Mr. Tannenbaum and for including a nice picture of it—that alone brought back tons of memories.


Note to Mr. Chuck Workman above: Yes, I was at the premier of your film! I remember it! And the reason I especially remember this is because Mr. Tannenbaum’s wife was at the ticket booth that particular night, she didn’t know me from Adam, and I had to scrounge up the $3.00 myself that time! So you didn’t get cheated Chuck…

Bloop on October 9, 2021 at 8:33 pm

MichaelJayKlein : just posted an Exorcist Ad from the Charles !

Mikeoaklandpark on January 22, 2022 at 3:34 pm

Great poster Bloop. Charles Tannenbaum was a customer of mine at Atlantic Bank. Really nice guy. The closing film was Penitentiary

rivest266 on March 7, 2023 at 6:37 pm

Ads stopped for the Charles theatre ended in the Press in 1980.

rivest266 on March 8, 2023 at 12:58 pm

Closed as Palace in 1951.

rivest266 on March 8, 2023 at 1:03 pm

and reopened as the Surf on December 13th, 1951. Ad posted.

rivest266 on March 8, 2023 at 5:42 pm

Opened as Palace on April 1st, 1931. Ad posted.

rivest266 on March 9, 2023 at 11:13 am

A Strand theatre opened on its site on May 7th, 1921, and placed its last ad on October 9th, 1924. Ad posted.

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