If you're a fan of going to a theater to see a movie, this will be exciting news for you: it appears that another old, shuttered movie theater in South Jersey is coming back to life.

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And the group behind the effort is no stranger to turning failing, dilapidated theaters into beautiful modern facilities.

Town Square Entertainment, the company that has purchased and remodeled the Harbor Theatre (now Harbor Square Theater) in Stone Harbor, the Tilton 9 (now Tilton Square Theater) in Northfield, and the old Ventnor Theatre (now Ventnor Square Theater) in Ventnor has announced they have purchased the Moorlyn on the Ocean City Boardwalk, right across from the Music Pier.

Tilton 8 Theater in Northfield - Photo: Chris Coleman/Townsquare Media
Tilton 8 Theater in Northfield - Photo: Chris Coleman/Townsquare Media
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Posting on their Facebook pages Thursday afternoon, they said,

We at Town Square Entertainment are overwhelmingly pleased to announce that we have purchased the MOORLYN 4 THEATRE in Ocean City, NJ! The Moorlyn has long been a dream project for us due to its incredibly rich history in serving Ocean City and surrounding community with entertainment since the early 1900's.

 

It all started in 1905

The Moorlyn's history in Ocean City dates back well over a century.

In 1905, Moore's Bowling Casino opened, which turned into a 1,600-seat theater by the summer of 1922, according to cinematreasures.org.

The Moorlyn was divided into two smaller theaters in 1970 and then four in 1989. The theater then closed for a while, was mostly demolished, and then rebuilt.

The now-defunct Frank Theaters chain operated it for a number of years before it closed and was sold to the Ocean City Tabernacle. That group put the property up for sale in 2018. Since then, it has sat relatively unused.

From 8 to 0, back to 1

Ocean City had as many as eight theaters over the years, but sadly all of them closed.

Former Strand Theater marquee in Ocean City NJ - Photo: Chris Coleman
Former Strand Theater marquee in Ocean City NJ - Photo: Chris Coleman
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The Strand at 9th and the Boardwalk was open from 1938 through 2013. It is now the flagship location for Manco & Manco pizza.

Further down, the Surf was open from 1929 through the 1980s. It is now an eclectic mall featuring a wide variety of little shops.

Surf Boardwalk Mall sign on the Ocean City NJ Boardwalk - Photo: Chris Coleman
Surf Boardwalk Mall sign on the Ocean City NJ Boardwalk - Photo: Chris Coleman
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Other theaters included Faunce’s Theatre and The Hippodrome, which both burned in the great 1927 boardwalk fire; the Princess, which was in the 800 block of Asbury Avenue; The Uno, which opened in 1908, and the Village Theatre, which closed in 1989.

Of their newest investment, Town Square Entertainment said,

We have a lot of work ahead of us but we can promise you this: Ocean City will soon enjoy a Better Way to See a Movie.

Editor's note: Town Square Entertainment is not related to Townsquare Media, which owns and operates six radio stations, including this one, in the Atlantic City area.

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