The rich theatre history of Newark! Ok.
Here it is. My Dad was the General manager of both the Adams Theatre
on Branford Place, and the Paramount Theatre on Market Street for
40 years. Both these theatres are rich in history and were a major
part of the entertainment (downtown) since the 20's! The Adams featured
the "Big Bands" of Dorsey & Miller as they tuned up
before going to the NY Paramount. If you speak to anyone who grew
up in the 30's and 40's they can tell you stories of cutting school,
going to the Adams Theatre to catch the stage show. Sitting as far
front, while ducking their heads so the truant officer wouldn't
see them! Wow! Miller, Goodman, Skelton, Berle, and so many more!
All in Newark, NJ.
From the stage shows of the big bands, to burlesque, to not one
, but two motion pictures for the price of a hot dog today. All
the great entertainment my family, and others all had a chance to
be a part of. Epics like "Kings Of Kings", "Ben Hur"
and "In The Heat Of The Night" played to packed houses!
No, these were not your cement block 200-300 seat acoustic tunnels
of today. These theatres had over 2,000 seats! two patrons out...two
went in! Lines down Branford Place, around the corner on to Broad
Street. A heavy velvet curtain which would open and close in the
beginning and end of each feature. (Intermissions) The architecture
of cathedrals with opera boxes, brass railings, and a super high
lighted dome ceilings! Finally, the huge, dark, balconies which
sparked many a romance through the years. (and what a place to hide
if you just snuck in the upper fire escape doors!) I know this because
my brothers and me ushered for some years and had to give chase
a few times.
I am very lucky to have worked in the 70's at the theatres for
Dad. The epics fore mentioned gave way to karate movies...but the
theatre business (as my Dad said) never died in favor of VCRs the
way so many predicted! Well...you get the idea. Oh...I guess it
would only be fair to mention the competition. Let's see. There
was the Branford, The Loews and The RKO Proctors. (The RKO Proctors,
the reason I'm hear today! See my Mom worked as an usherette at
the Proctors, while Dad was managing the Adams and Paramount. Yep,
you guessed it. Love at first feature!"
Thanks for listening.