Steel Pier Theatre & Steel Pier Ocean Theatre

1000 Boardwalk,
Atlantic City, NJ 08401

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markp on July 11, 2017 at 8:39 am

Mikeoaklandpark, yes I remember it vaguely from the early 70’s when my parents took me there. walterk, as of now my schedule looks like I will have off all day and night on Saturdays, and Tuesday and Thursday nights. Still not confirmed.

markp on July 11, 2017 at 8:39 am

Mikeoaklandpark, yes I remember it vaguely from the early 70’s when my parents took me there. walterk, as of now my schedule looks like I will have off all day and night on Saturdays, and Tuesday and Thursday nights. Still not confirmed.

walterk on July 9, 2017 at 11:25 am

markp, I'll be around for a bit starting the end of next week (21st). Hopefully you won't be so tied up with Dunkirk that we'll get a chance to hang out. I'll email you shortly.

Speaking of Dunkirk, I might opt to see it at the Regal, the much nearer alternative for me managed to scratch their print of Hateful Eight by time I got to view it.

Mikeoaklandpark on July 9, 2017 at 9:03 am

markP you remember the Steele Pier?

markp on July 8, 2017 at 6:30 pm

walterk, you back in jersey?

Mikeoaklandpark on July 8, 2017 at 10:41 am

Walter K I had no clue about the high diving horse issue. From what I remember and probably you and Cindelphila remember those horses were treated great. These animal right activists need to get a damn life. They were the cause of the Ringling Bros circus folding. UGH

walterk on July 7, 2017 at 4:23 pm

Mikeoaklandpark, the current owners of the Steel Pier announced they were bringing the diving horse back in 2012. They dropped the idea within two weeks due to massive public outcry.

This was their second attempt, when they were just leasing the Pier in 1993, they hired an outfit called High Diving Mules to perform. In that performance, a mule, dog and miniature horse did the diving. Public objection was such that the act was cancelled after several weeks. I don’t think that attitude will change anytime in the foreseeable future.

Hard Rock International, who took over the Taj Mahal, will have two venues equipped for live entertainment with over 7,000 seats between them. As that complex is still connected to the Steel Pier by a bridge over the boardwalk, I doubt the Pier owners will invest millions to place another live venue that near. More than likely they will strive to make it a first class amusement park, like they’ve been doing for the last 25 years or so.

Being a Jersey kid who remembers the Atlantic City of a different era, I would like to see the pier host live and filmed entertainment again, but like Cinedelphia, I doubt that will happen.

Mikeoaklandpark on July 7, 2017 at 12:42 pm

I would think that bringing in big name entertainment might work. I am not sure if any of the hotels have big name shows like Vegas they didn’t when they first opened, but I bet the one thing they do bring back is the high diving horse.

Cinedelphia on July 7, 2017 at 10:48 am

“Steel Pier featured every great entertainer of their day from Frank Sinatra to Al Jolson to The Beatles”. The Beatles never played Steel Pier (unless you count their films, Hard Days Night and Help). The Beatles did play Convention Hall. I wonder what the current owners have in mind when they say “restore to its former glory”? I would doubt we will ever see the return of movies, big name live entertainment, etc to the Pier….but you never know. Except for the IMAX at one of the Casino/Hotels there are no more movie theaters in Atlantic City (or Ventnor or Margate). I don’t think that is going to change anytime soon.

Mikeoaklandpark on June 21, 2017 at 11:05 am

Actually David all of Atlantic City was. Overview info has been updated. Thanks CT.

davidcoppock on June 20, 2017 at 6:11 am

Was this place possibly in the American version of Monopoly?

Mikeoaklandpark on June 19, 2017 at 12:16 pm

I agree Walter K.I find it exciting that they want to rebuild it to the glory days of the past.

CT, Please update the overview to show it is now an amusement park.

walterk on June 19, 2017 at 10:30 am

Mikeoaklandpark, that piece is from the history page at the Steel Pier website. Its information page says the Pier is “located near the Taj Mahal”. Further down that page it also mentions that it is “located across the Boardwalk from four of the largest hotels in the World: Resorts International and The Taj Mahal.”

By the way, the Taj Mahal closed last year and was recently purchased by Hard Rock International. They are currently renovating the property and will reopen it as the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino next summer.

The description in the overview would be more accurate if it were to say the site is now an amusement park.

Mikeoaklandpark on June 19, 2017 at 8:06 am

Here is a copy of the article Walter K referenced.

The World-Famous

Steel Pier

Steel Pier featured many entertainment attractions, such as The Diving Bell, The Water Circus, The Marine Ballroom, Movie Theatres, The General Motors Exhibit, Midway Games, Tony Grant’s Stars of Tomorrow and the famous Diving Horse.

The Steel Pier has a long and colorful history. It was once considered the greatest entertainment venue in the United States. First opened to the public in 1898, Steel Pier originally debuted as a theater, but expanded to include attractions, rides, and corporate exhibits.

Steel Pier featured every great entertainer of their day from Frank Sinatra to Al Jolson to The Beatles. Steel Pier truly was the “Showplace of the Nation.”Steel Pier and The Diving Horse were featured in a Disney movie titled, Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken. This was the story of Sonia Carver and her life as a rider on the Famous Diving Horses.

The Steel Pier has been rebuilt many times over its history, including once by Mayor Bader, whose name has been made famous by the recent HBO Series, Boardwalk Empire. Steel Pier featured many colorful showmen owners, such as Frank Gravatt, George Hamid and Donald Trump.

Trump’s plans for Atlantic City and Steel Pier were never realized. During Trump’s ownership, the Steel Pier was leased to the Catanoso family, who continued the entertainment tradition operating under tumultuous ownership conditions for almost twenty years. In August 2011, the Catanoso family and a group of investors purchased the Steel Pier, its buildings, and the bridge connecting the boardwalk to the Taj Mahal. The Catanoso group has embarked on a multi-year plan to restore the Pier to its former glory and make it once again, “The Showplace of the Nation.”

Cinedelphia on June 18, 2017 at 7:23 pm

I really appreciate all the info re the Pier. It was also a big part of my growing up in Atlantic City and Ventnor in the 60’s.

Mikeoaklandpark on June 18, 2017 at 6:31 pm

Walter K thank you. What awesome news. That was a major part of my childhood in the 60’s

walterk on June 18, 2017 at 6:03 pm

The Taj Mahal was on the other side of the boardwalk, connected to the Steel Pier by a bridge. The Pier was for many years owned by the Taj Mahal, but leased to a family who eventually purchased it in 2011. More information here.

Mikeoaklandpark on June 18, 2017 at 1:02 pm

Photo added from segment of CBS Sunday morning showing that the Pier currently as an amusement park. The bio above says it’s the Taj Mahal. Which is correct?

Mikeoaklandpark on June 18, 2017 at 12:57 pm

And now a page from our “Sunday Morning” Almanac: June 18th, 1898, 119 years ago today — the day Atlantic City, N.J., opened its famous Steel Pier, with Annie Oakley in person as the headliner.

Great segment on CBS Sunday morning today about the Pier

Loaded with amusements and attractions, the Steel Pier was the centerpiece of the jam-packed beach scene that Thomas Edison captured on film in 1901. The pier featured diving horses, bears on bicycles, and tiny cars that spun in midair, and acrobats galore. The pier hosted some of the very early Miss America pageants as well.

It also was the stage for some of the biggest entertainers of the day. The Three Stooges ogled a bathing beauty in this 1938 color short of dubious political correctness. In 1958, Ricky Nelson performed for a Steel Pier record crowd of 44,000-plus.

Eventually, however, changing times and vacation habits caught up with Atlantic City’s Steel Pier; it closed in 1978.

And then, in 1982, came WORSE: The main building of the Steel Pier was destroyed in a suspicious fire that raged for more than six hours.

There were no serious injuries, but a fire official said that the Steel Pier’s career was ended.

Not quite, as it turns out.

The Steel Pier has been rebuilt with new rides and amusements — an echo of the original pier’s claim to be “The Showplace of the Nation.”

Cinedelphia on June 10, 2017 at 9:54 pm

When the Ventnor was first twinned the projection appeared to be fine in both auditoriums. In its latter years as a twin the projection in the smaller room was really bad. I actually believe toward the end the Ventnor Twin was leased to someone else who ran the theater but it was in pretty poor shape by then.

Mikeoaklandpark on June 10, 2017 at 2:51 pm

I only saw one movie there as a twin and it was in the smaller theater and the projection was terrible.

DavidZornig on June 9, 2017 at 12:21 pm

Forgot to post that I added a 1967 photo of The Turtles booked at Steel Pier, Memorial Day Weekend that year. Photo credit Michael Macey‎. They recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of “Happy Together” reaching Number 1 in April of `67. Unseating The Beatles “Penny Lane”. There are now 10 pics in the Photos Section.

Cinedelphia on June 9, 2017 at 10:58 am

Re the Ventnor twinning, the much larger auditorium on the left was wide and had a really big scope screen but no masking and Dolby Stereo wasn’t installed until most other theaters had DTS, etc. The other smaller auditorium was a bit of a strange affair, the screen had movable side masking but the screen was unusually high off the floor. Toward the end, the projection in the large auditorium was generally pretty good but the projection in the smaller room was pretty awful.

Mikeoaklandpark on April 27, 2017 at 11:23 am

Yeah that was in Sommers Point. When they twinned the Ventnor they did a terrible cheap job. The original theater had large screen masking and great curtains. The twinning had none of that.

Cinedelphia on April 26, 2017 at 7:53 pm

Another Frank abomination (the Town Twin and later Town 16 weren’t that bad) was the Point Four which was a bowling ally converted into a four screener. No masking, mono sound, incredibly austere interior….cheap, cheap, cheap.