Saucon Source Readers Remember ‘The Movies’

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Sauconia Movie Theater Hellertown

A postcard mailed in 1943 shows the former Sauconia theater on Main Street in Hellertown. The movie theater opened in 1940 and closed circa 2001, by which time it was known as The Movies. In the 60 or so years it was open, thousands of local residents acquired treasured memories of the theater. Today it houses two local businesses: a dentist and a high-end salon.

It’s been nearly 20 years since Hellertown’s first and only movie theater closed forever, and more than 80 years since the Sauconia showed its first motion picture, but longtime local residents still treasure memories of the cinema later called simply, “The Movies.”

In response to a post last week on Saucon Source’s Facebook page, hundreds of readers nostalgically recalled the bygone era of watching new films in the movie theater on Main Street; a theater that now houses a dentist’s office and a high-end salon.

The post was of a 1943 postcard view of the theater, which was built in the streamline Moderne style of architecture popular around the time of World War II.

The Sauconia, as depicted in the photograph, offered air conditioning; a relatively rare creature comfort at the time.

In response to our question, “What’s a movie you can remember seeing at The Movies?” here’s a sampling of what readers had to say (years of release have been added in parentheses in some cases for reference):

  • “1961-ish, Pinocchio, the first movie I remember seeing in a theater. As an adult living on First Ave we saw Dick Tracy (1990) first run at midnight. When we went in the theater it was the first time I had been inside again and flashed back to that Pinocchio experience. I didn’t realize The Movies was THAT theater.” -Gary Brueningsen
  • “OMG! When my sister and I were young, my mom took us to see Cabaret (1972)–she didn’t have a clue what the movie was about. Once it started and she realized her mistake, she hustled us out of there so darn fast.” -Cindy Weaver Szakos
  • “My Grandmother took my sister and me to see The Ten Commandments (1956).” -Minga Ferencin
  • “I saw 101 Dalmatians (1961) with my kindergarten class. Hugh Kaplan was one of my classmates and his father worked there. Anyone else from Mrs. Davis’s 1960 kindergarten class at Wolf School remember going there for the movie?” -Robert Pasternak
  • “I saw Calamity Jane (1953) there about five times because I loved Doris Day. My Mom and I would go on the days they gave away glasses or dishes.”
  • “Saw most of them, but what I remember is a cartoon, then the news! When we got older we realized the news was OLD.” -Eleanor Chunko
  • “I remember a bunch. I think the last one was Yentl (1983). Also The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Blazing Saddles (1974), The Blue Lagoon (1980)…” -Jim Scorzafava

Some of the other movies readers said the recalled watching at The Movies were Towering Inferno (1974), Grease (1978), The Burbs (1989), Titanic (1997), Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead (1991), The Sand Pebbles (1966), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), The Sound of Music (1965), The Lion King (1994), Star Wars (1977), La Bamba (1987), Dr. Zhivago (1965), Smokey and the Bandit (1977) and Saturday Night Fever (1977).

What do you remember watching at the theater, and what else makes you nostalgic for it?

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