Steel Pier Theatre & Steel Pier Ocean Theatre

1000 Boardwalk,
Atlantic City, NJ 08401

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Showing 51 - 55 of 55 comments

Cinedelphia
Cinedelphia on April 2, 2017 at 7:30 pm

I was born and raised in Atlantic City and virtually grew up on Steel Pier in the 60’s. In fact, one of the apartments in the building I grew up in was shared by a couple of musicians from the Steel Pier Orchestra. I actually saw my first two movies in the theaters on Steel Pier in ‘62. The films were “The Underwater City” in the Music Hall and “The 300 Spartans” in the Casino. As I recall, the “A” pictures typically played in the Casino Theater, which was generally only used for movies. The Music Hall, had the vaudeville style stage show which was typically followed by a lesser “B” film. I don’t recall the Ocean/Midway Theater on the Pier but it’s been a long, long, time. Many of the popular rock, R&B and Motown acts that played the Pier in the summer performed their many 25-30 minute sets in the Marine Ballroom which also held the televised Ed Hurst Record Hop/Dance Show “Summertime on The Pier”. The Marine Ballroom was standing room only except (if I remember correctly) for a small elevated area of bleachers in the back. I do recall the “Little Theater” which by the 60’s if I’m not mistaken was called the “Tony Grant Theater” after the gentleman who ran the “Tony Grant Stars of Tomorrow Show” that played there. Tony Grant also hosted the show and ran a performing arts/dance school that produced most of the kid performers who appeared on the show. He also ran a weekly talent show on nearby Garden Pier in the summer. I also recall “Cowboy Fridays” at the Pier. During the daytime on “Cowboy Fridays” cowboy films were shown non-stop all day. Without a doubt Steel Pier was a very unique place (even beyond the Diving Horse) and I’m really surprised that it has not been commented on more in Cinema Treasures

Leebo
Leebo on October 3, 2015 at 8:17 pm

The Music Hall and Ocean/Midway theaters were both demolished in 1976, leaving a gaping hole on the pier that was replaced with rides. New owners left a remodeled Casino theater as a replacement for the Music Hall. The pier closed in 1978 and was destroyed by fire on December 10, 1982.

Leebo
Leebo on October 3, 2015 at 11:09 am

OK. First of all, I wrote the definitive book called “Steel Pier, Atlantic City: Showplace of the Nation” for Down The Shore Publishing in 2009. There was no such thing as Steel Pier theatre. Steel Pier opened on June 18, 1898 with the front building holding the Casino theater. It was a pier that offered military and light classical orchestras, minstrels, and dancing in the huge ballroom located at the ocean end. In 1925, Frank Gravatt bought the pier and turned it into the world’s greatest entertainment complex. He expanded it, widened it, remodeled it, and built theaters. He brought in John Philip Sousa and big stars and dance bands of the day. This continued after George Hamid bought the pier in 1945 and continued until the pier closed in 1978. Besides the famous diving horse and water circus, Hamid brought in the Rolling Stones, the Allman Brothers, Glenn Miller, Three Stooges, Frank Sinatra, Supremes, and anyone else who was “hot”.

Here are the theaters and their approximate capacities:

Casino (front boardwalk building, second floor, no balcony —minstrels until 1943 and movies) 2,000 seats

Music Hall (center of pier, second floor, remodeled in 1929 for vaudeville and movies) The remodeling was in an Art Deco motif and removed side balconies. When again remodeled in 1952, side balconies were once again erected. about 2,500 seats

Ocean/Midway theater (in back of Music Hall, ocean side, no balcony)built in 1929 for movies, renamed Midway in 1953 with complete remodeling. 1,400 seats

Little theater (between Casino and Music Hall) built in 1930’s for live kid shows, no balcony) 1,000 seats

That’s basically the theater history of Steel Pier in a nutshell. My book explains much more in detail. Hope this helps.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on September 30, 2014 at 3:00 pm

The information should be updated there were actually 2 screens at the Steel Pier. The music hall had movies with a vaudeville show and then there was the Casino was just showed movies.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on September 29, 2014 at 7:53 pm

Hard to believe there were no photos or comments on this theatre.