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Historic Coaldale movie theatre looks for support

A historical landmark of the community is searching for some support.

The Angela Triplex Theatre, located in Coaldale, is holding a GoFundMe fundraiser to help keep its doors open in hopes of not becoming a financial casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We went back to the bank again and we created a plan to do a refinance of the mortgage; to take out a sum of money and pay off any of our old debt that we acquired,” said Mike Danchak Jr.

You still have to pay the bills. All of that stuff doesn’t stop. The bank took the application and called us a week later and said we can’t help you, because you currently are not open and your future looks gloomy right now. I thought maybe a GoFundMe would do the best thing to help carry us over. We want to be able to open again, but we don’t want to open with a huge amount of debt either; we’ll never be able to bail ourselves out.”

In the 1980s, Mike’s father won a bid for the theater after it was closed for several years. It was a dream come true for Mike Sr., as he worked at the Angela during his childhood at 14 years old as an usher. He was forever in love with the venue. After a few years of renovations, the Angela was again a staple of Coaldale and the surrounding area during the late 1990s.

“Me and my brother helped him with a lot of remodeling projects there. It was one big movie house at one point in the 1940s when it first opened. It used to hold 711 people back in 1949,” Danchak Jr. said.

When Mike Sr. passed away a few years ago, his son moved back to Coaldale from the Lehigh Valley to help out.

“We were starting to make a good comeback, as far as business and turning it around,” Danchak said.

“We were starting to do some bands and concerts, and then all of a sudden that weekend when COVID hit, we had an Ozzy Osbourne tribute band and only 30 people turned out. Two days later we closed the doors and haven’t opened since.”

It was like father, like son, as Mike starting working in the theater at a young age, too.

“I was 13 years old and my dad had me ushering. Next thing you know, he taught me how to do the projectors and me and my brother would run the whole place at a young age while he was gone.”

Danchak said the Angela could be opened at a limited capacity, but there are many challenges.

“The problem we’re facing now is that there are no new movies out right now. It’s all old stuff. I talked to my booker, he said that the drive-ins are doing phenomenal with older movies because it’s outdoors. But indoor theaters aren’t doing great. People are still kind of leery of being inside with large crowds.”

The “Angela Theatre Restoration and Relief” fundraiser can be found on GoFundMe.com and more information is provided on the Angela Triplex Theatre Facebook page.

The Angela Theatre in Coaldale has to pay the bills with no income. TIMES NEWS FILE PHOTO