History of the
Roxy Theatre

The Roxy Theatre first opened its doors in Northampton, PA on February 1st, 1921. Originally known as the Lyric Theatre, it was owned by Harry Hartman, who had previously operated several nickelodeons. The Lyric Theatre featured vaudeville acts and seated 1000 people.

The depression forced Hartman to sell the theatre to Clark and Greenberg Theatres of Philadelphia in the spring of 1933.
The new owners closed the theatre for renovation. They hired a prominent Philadelphia theatre architect, David Supowitz to redesign its interior in an art deco style, which was popular at the time. The theatre reopened the following fall as the Roxy. It featured Vaudeville, wild west shows, minstrels and local productions, during its first new season.

In the spring of 1934 motion pictures became the main attraction, but live entertainment continued to be presented periodically. During the mid-thirties, amateur talent shows were added to the venue, hosted by radio station WSAN on Wednesday evenings .

The theatre tried many different promotions to entice its patrons into returning. They offered giveaways of dishes, cosmetics, encyclopedias and even cash.

During the late fifties, live entertainment returned to the Roxy's stage with concerts featuring well known singers, such as Bobby Vinton, Bobby Rydell and Fabian.

Competition from television and new shopping center theatres caused a decline in attendance during the sixties and the building’s condition began to deteriorate.

Clark and Greenberg sold the theatre to Angstadt and Wolfe Theatres on June 1st, 1970. The Roxy’s stature had been reduced to only a shadow of its former glory. A&W began a long-term restoration program for the theatre and reintroduced live entertainment in the form of concerts, plays, magic shows, dance recitals, and even weddings. A resurgence of appearances by popular entertainers began under the sponsorship of WSAN radio. Well known personalities, such as Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, John Belushi, Blood Sweat & Tears, Martin Mull, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Gilda Radner, Kiss, Golden Earring, Melissa Manchester and many others began to appear on the Roxy’s stage.

In 1988, A & W partner Richard C. Wolfe, acquired complete control and ownership of the Roxy through a new corporation, Roxy Management Company, Inc. When Wolfe took over, he replaced the missing pipe organ with a 7-rank Wurlitzer pipe organ, renovated the lobby, restored the exterior facade to it's original appearance, and added new seating and carpeting.

In addition to its live entertainment venue, the theatre continues to operate as Northampton's only commercial movie theatre.

In 1953, movie producer Arthur Mayer noted, "The major difference between a deluxe and any other movie show consists of closing the curtains after the feature film, re-opening them for the shorts, closing them again and re-opening them for the news"

The Roxy has curtains.


 

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