Think it or not, at one time almost every town in Cecil County had a cinema. In the early 1900s, ‘theatres’ appeared in every town. Moving photo devices was set up in opera houses, community buildings, and other places that might seat large numbers of individuals. We continue this series of posts with the town of Cecilton.After Cecilton’s high school, George Biddle High, closed in the 1940s, a big uninhabited structure sat in the town. The Cecil County Board of Education decided to sell this structure. In 1944, James D. and Catherine Stradley acquired the previous school for $3,100. Immediately, they started to refurbish the structure for their planned movie theater. They set up 35-millimeter projectors, theater seating, and air-conditioning in one half of the building. The other half of the structure was equipped as a hardware store. Robert Moore operated the store, which was a John Deere dealer.After 4 years of
remodellings, the February 6, 1948 edition of the Cecil Democrat contained a short article for the coming theater. The article specified that it would be known as the Cecil Theatre and would open in mid-February.
On February 23, 1948, Cecil Theatre held its grand opening. The motion picture Black Gold, starring Anthony Quinn and Katherine DeMille was the feature film for the evening. Movies would be revealed nighttime, except on Sundays. Films would be displayed in “air-conditioned convenience on a beautiful broad screen. Later on in the week, The Yearling, starring Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman would be the feature film.Advertisements for the theater specified”Always Seek to the Cecil for an Excellent Program “. The advertisements in the Cecil Democrat and the Cecil Whig noted coming films, in addition to the newsreel business and whether the theater was revealing a cartoon. For the first week of March in 1948, the theater was showing Courage of Lassie, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Morgan. On March 3 and 4, It Took Place on fifth Opportunity, starring Grant Mitchell and Edward Brophy was playing. March 5 and 6 had a double function-News Hounds, starring Hints Hall and Bobby Jordan, in addition to Trailing Risk, starring Raymond Hutton and Peggy Wayne.First-run motion pictures continued to be revealed at the Cecil Theatre in the 1950s. In 1961, Mr. Stradley sold
the building to the Gerhart family and the theater closed in 1961. The Historical Society is open for scientists every Monday and Thursday from 10 am– 4 pm.
The society is also open on the first Saturday of on a monthly basis from 10 am to 2 pm. Members of the historical society might research free of charge. The cost for non-members is $5.