Historic Marietta Theatre
Historic Marietta Pennsylvania Theatre
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 Oldest Operating Motion Picture Theatre in Pennsylvania 
130 West Market Street, Marietta Pennsylvania
 
 Current Historic Marietta Theatre 
 
 
 
Historic Marietta Theater Hosts
Classic Movie Showcase
 
by Maureen Landis
Intelligencer Journal Correspondent
Friday, December 5, 1997
 
 
       For those who believe they just don't make movies or movie houses like they used to,
the historic Marietta Theater will present a special program to delight old-time movie buffs.
 
       Three classic films featuring Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and W.C. Fields will be
shown this Saturday and Sunday evening in the oldest operating motion picture theater in
Pennsylvania and perhaps the United States.    The theater was placed on the National Historic Register of Historic Places in 1979.
 
       Doors will open at 7 p.m., and an hour-long concert will begin at 7:30.    At 8:30, the
comedies will be shown.
 
       The concert will feature Glenn Hough, a Quarryville resident and the staff organist at
the theater.    He has performed there since 1972.
 
       The theater's Wurlitzer-Page pipe organ has 35 ranks and over 3,500 pipes.    It
originally started as a 3-12 Page organ, located in a theater in Grand Rapids, Mich.    It was
combined with another Page organ, which was found in Flint, Mich.
 
       The 17-rank organ was then installed in a recording studio in Grand Rapids.    In 1969,
the 17-rank Page and a 3-17 Wurlitzer, located in Chicago's Tivoli Theater, were combined
and moved to Toronto, where they were put in storage.
 
       While the organ's owner was in Toronto, he purchased a Wurlitzer Diaphone, whose
rank of pipes was originally located in Toronto's Shea Theater and was later moved to the
Maple Leaf Gardens.
 
       The Marietta Theater purchased it in 1972, expressly to provide a home for its 3-37
Wurlitzer-Page Theater organ. 
 
       The Marietta Theater was established in 1908 in Central Hall by Samuel Acri, an Italian
immigrant.    Acri was one of the first professional movie exhibitors on the East Coast.    He
showed news-reels, illustrated songs and silent short subjects.
 
       Attendance increased until Central Hall could no longer accommodate the movie
patrons, and Acri built the Marietta Theater, which opened its doors to the public in June 1914.    The theater, which was built primarily as a motion picture theater, was large enough
to accommodate stage productions, as well. 
 
       Originally, the theater was equipped with a piano and a musical instrument known as a
photoplayer, which was created expressly to accompany silent films until the invention of
sound in 1927.
 
       In 1929, the theater was remodeled to accommodate a new sound system and improved
acoustics.
 
       The theater presents a monthly classic film series, in which the pipe organ is played to
accompany the silent films.
 
 
 
 
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