Beach Theatre memories offered at yard sale [Cape May, NJ]

Funds to pay off legal bills from preservation fight

Wednesday, 19 October 2011 11:35
Mary Linehan
Shore News Today

CAPE MAY — Yard sales usually mark the end of something. Summer ends, a home is sold, or a child graduates and the debris of that season of life is spread out for buyers to look over.

The Beach Theatre Foundation yard sale last Saturday had the same quality. The mid-century movie theater was demolished late last month, along with the Foundation’s dreams for the building. The lobby and façade of the building still stand, flanked by retail space, but the theater’s auditorium is gone.

What the left was put out for sale in the former Wawa parking lot near Swain’s Hardware.

Buyers picked up donated household items for a bargain prices, and perused old movie posters that lay stacked near the former store’s entrance. Jack Nicholson and Gene Kelly posters were sold side by side, and limited edition Beach Theatre prints were stacked near a cardboard box.

“Well, we had a little bit of everything: not just the movie posters. We had donations of households items dropped off, along with the limited edition Bruce Springsteen posters we had offered at through the Foundation,” said Steve Jackson, Beach Theatre Foundation president. “We made just over $2,000, which was fantastic. The money we raised is going toward out legal fees.” …

The 860-seat Beach Theatre opened in September, 1950, with a showing of “Father of the Bride,” starring Elizabeth Taylor and Spencer Tracy. The building was designed and built by architect William Harold Lee, and was part of the William C. Hunt chain of theaters throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, according to historical information compiled by Jackson’s group.

The Beach Theatre Foundation was created in 2007 to “…preserve and restore the historically authenticated Beach Theatre in Cape May, New Jersey and utilize the complex as a state-of-the-art showcase for cinema and the arts.”

The group had hoped to establish the theater as a center for film history, preservation and restoration, as well as for independent filmmaking and education. …

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