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Academy Theater of Music

Formerly Located in Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania

 

The interior and stage of the Academy of Music on Cumberland Street.  After turn-of-the-century renovations, the Academy, owned by George H. Spang, offered some famous acts and appearances by such stars as Sarah Bernhardt, Lionel and Ethel Barrymore, Marie Dressler, and Walter Huston.  The Great Houdini, Thuston, and Blackstone, the greatest magicians of their time, also appeared on this stage.  Later on, Vaudeville acts appeared, including Bing Crosby, Morton Downey Sr., and Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy.  This theater was unusual in having two balconies.  The Academy Theater would eventually become a movie theater.

Two other movie theaters were also part of the downtown Lebanon past:  the State Theater and the Colonial Theater.

By the end of the 1970's the downtown theaters had lost their popularity due to the introduction in the Lebanon area of multi-screen theaters and ample off-street parking at their locations.

The Academy and Colonial Theaters have long since been demolished but the old State Theater building still remains a part of the downtown landscape today.  The marquis now displays the name "On Stage".  During the 1980's it was renovated for use as a night-club, hosting shows from local, and regional artists such as Philadelphia's "Tommy Conwell & The Young Rumblers" who performed there many times.  There were even a few shows by top national recording artists performed there.

Lebanon was also home to one of the more than 1500 drive-in-movie theaters once found across the United States.  The "Key Drive-in" operated until the 1990's when it was sold for the construction of a Wal-Mart Supercenter.