Favorites

 

These are just a few of my favorite pictures...

 

I think this one is pretty cool because it is the only image I've ever seen that shows the inside of the Moorlyn when it was Moore's Bowling Casino before 1922.  The boardwalk, while not the first one built, was still a pretty new thing and I'm sure this was a favorite place for those early boardwalk visitors.  In this picture you can see the windows that were covered up when it was converted to a theatre, and if you look here you can see those window frames again when they removed the siding 80 years later.  Also shown here is the upper observation area that later became the theatre balcony.  And the steel trusses on the ceiling can still be found in the attic of the theatre.

 

I like this one because it shows the Village Theatre when is was still Doughty's Pier.  Notice that the ocean washes up underneath it.  If you were in Ocean City before 1990, you will remember that the Village sat on 8th Street, near the boardwalk but at least 200 feet away.  The building never moved but the boardwalk did, being rebuilt in 1928 on the ocean side of the Village.   So today, this spot is on very dry ground, in fact it is home to an amusement ride where you are catapulted into the stratosphere while strapped into a capsule.  You can hear the screams for a few blocks.  But anyway, the ocean was much closer in 1920, it apparently moved out for a few years and the city built the new boardwalk on that sand in 1928.  If the waterline today was as close in as it is in this picture, the entire South Seas Shop on the corner would be in the water.

 

This really doesn't look like much, but it is the main entrance to the Casino Club Ballroom, upstairs at the Moorlyn.  It closed sometime before 1941 but the space (with 6 apartments) remained as storage for many years after.  The wood was pockmarked and the floors were dirty.  The hanging lights were gone, replaced with a few utility bulbs, but you could still see little traces of what was once a very large dance hall. You would enter from the boardwalk, walk up winding steps with several landing's and finally come to these double doors with beveled glass windows. A bandstand stood at one end and tall windows lined two walls.  There was a door that led out to an upper balcony area, overlooking the boardwalk.  But it wasn't until Senior Studios came across this picture from their archives that I really understood what the Casino Club looked like inside.

 

The Strand (before 1989) was a single theater and was enormous by today's standards.  It was not a palace, but I thought it was remarkably well designed.  The curved bands on the walls, the silk curtain with Neptune, the stage lights, the very cushy chairs, the lighted cove in the ceiling.  It made for a very enjoyable movie experience and it was a shame when it was gutted.
The lobby was especially cool because there was a row of backlit Hollywood portraits set into the wall.  Customers would wait in the lobby area on couches and chairs and would try to name all the glowing movie stars in the wall.  Perhaps the lobby picture is more of a favorite than this one.

 

 

This is really a favorite for personal reasons.  When I worked at the theaters there was a cashier there who had been there since 1923 (1923!) and still sold tickets every night.  She worked at other places too and spent the winters in Florida, but I was amazed at how long she had worked there.  Think of it, for her first six years there, they were still running silent movies with an organist playing.  Anyway, she chatted with the old-timers some, but wasn't really interested in talking to people she didn't know well.  I thought that perhaps she was a little grumpy.  But she warmed up when I asked all about the old days and what it was like to go to the Ocean City Boardwalk in the 1920's.  She enjoyed telling me all about it.  Well, at the end of the 1988 season, I found a trophy in a local shop that was supposed to be an "Oscar".  We all had it engraved for Helen for working for 65 years.  Best Performance in the Boxoffice it said.  We surprised her one night after the last show started and gave her the Oscar and a cake and card and took this picture.  I expected her to be a little embarrassed and humble, but I didn't expect her to break down in tears.  She was overwhelmed by the gesture.
Weeks later, after the theatre had closed for the season, I got a call from a co-worker telling me that Helen had died.  We all went to the funeral, the theatres were soon sold, and we rarely saw each other again.  But a few times I stopped at the cemetery just to visit and there, sitting on her grave, was that Oscar.