The Moorlyn Theatre opened as a boardwalk bowling alley between 8th and 9th streets. Sources indicate it was called Moore's Bowling Casino, owned by Ocean City Casino Co. As best as I can tell, it was built around 1905, perhaps earlier.
The second floor included a large dance hall, with a stage for the band. Vacationers could spend an evening out, dancing, with the ocean breeze drifting through the large windows.
Upstairs there were six small apartments. Empty since the 1940's and covered in dust, they still had items like soap bars, curtains, and paper towels in 1989.
At some point, it changed from Moore's to the Moorlyn.
Around 1923 (according to surviving blueprints) the interior floor was angled for use as an auditorium, a large stage with fly space was added, and the Bowling Casino gave way to the Moorlyn Theatre. The theatre presented vaudeville acts and "photoplays" or silent movies. An organ provided accompaniment to the films.
The fire in 1927 destroyed most of the boardwalk, but spared the Moorlyn Theatre. When the boardwalk was rebuilt, a block closer to the ocean, the Moorlyn sat for a year in it's original location before being dragged up to the new boardwalk.
A sound system was installed in the theatre in 1929.
In the early 1960's (possibly earlier), the distinctive exterior of the theatre was covered over with simple asbestos siding. The large windows in the upstairs ballroom, overlooking the ocean, were covered over. The tall stage, no longer used for live shows, was removed.
By 1970 the theatre, which had originally held 2,000 seats, had been divided into a twin theatre, the first on the boardwalk.
The theatre was maintained as a twin theatre until it was sold in 1989.
The projectors for the larger theatre were used to light the single, giant screen before the theatre was twinned. These Strong Excelite carbon arc lamps were replaced with Xenon lamps in the early 1980's.
The theatre, owned by the Shriver family since the 1920's was sold in 1989.