Off to See the Wizard in Hackensack

Motion Picture Herald, December 16, 1939:

oz1_pe

“Entire false front illustrated above was constructed by Jack Maher, Oritani Theatre, Hackensack, N. J., for opening of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ with giant cutout heads of the stars in character atop box office. On either side of entrance were blowups of the book with scene stills.”

 

 

 

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I.

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2016: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc

Now selling  on Etsy and Amazon

 

 

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The Old Dark House Plays Paterson, New Jersey

Universal Weekly December 27, 1932:

Warner's Rivoli Theatre, 130 Main Street, Paterson, New Jersey

Warner’s Rivoli Theatre, 130 Main Street, Paterson, New Jersey

“The entire theatre front is a replica of “The Old Dark House!’ Giant cut-out heads of Karloff peering over the roof with weird green and red lights in the eyes! Two banks of flood lights crisis-crossing the display at different angles causing spooky shadows! Under the marquee and in the lobby green and red lights flashing on and off cross each other at angles! The whole eerie display flooded with green and amber lights!

“Tha is a brief description of the front and lobby design by Eddie Helwig, manager to sell ‘The Old Dark House’ at the Rivoli Theatre, Paterson, N.J. and follows along the idea suggested in Universal’s practical press sheet. Several character heads, cut-out from the posters were used on the display. The upper part of the ‘house’ appeared over the marquee and the lower part under, taking in the box-office. It was all cut-out of beaver board and painted by the theatre artist.

“During the running of the trailer, a week in advance of the opening, at the point where the weird noises and lighting occur, Helwig turned the house lights off suddenly, sweeping the house into total darkness for a few moments. It was a very effective stunt as it started the patrons talking about ‘Dark House.’ A lobby amplifier was used during the run to ballyhoo the thrills and mystery of the picture.

“Helwig’s campaign resulted in the Rivoli’s best opening in months. Albert S. Nathan, Universal exploiter, assisted.”

The Old Dark House

Rivoli Theatre

 

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society Final volume published in September 2014.

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2015: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

 

 

Happy 1947 from the State Theatre, Deposit, New Jersey

Welcome in the New Year

img281And a special Mid-night show:

img282 (Medium)State Theatre

Gallant Bess

Singin’ in the Corn

Three Wise Fools

Program part of the Theatre Talks Collection. Credit and/or ask permission to use.

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, chosen 2010 Best Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society.

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2014.

Santa visits the Embassy Theatre, 347 Main Street, Orange, NJ

Motion Picture News, January 7, 1928:

motionnew37moti_0053_pe (Medium)“Christmas time at the Embassy theatre is the time for hanging up stockings and the kiddies of Orange, East Orange, West Orange and other suburbs bring their stockings to the Embassy, where they are hung in the lobby.

[Richard R.] Reilly [manager] inaugurated his idea as early as November 26. On that day, at the Saturday matinee performance, he told the kiddies of the coming of Santa Claus to the Embassy and he emphasized the fact  the following Saturday. The children came and brought their stockings, which were left with ushers  who gave the children a number and took their names.

“The stockings were then hung in the lobby with the number of the child placed on each stocking so that attending kiddies always could pick out their stocking, show them to companions and to parents.

“Every Saturday meant a holiday for the children. As they came into the theatre they saw Santa Claus filling up various stockings. This until Saturday, December 24, when the last stocking was filled. So great was the response from the children that on Saturday, December 3, the day set for the bringing of the stockings, there were 2,397 kiddies at the matinee. The number of stockings brought during the period was 1,227.

“The sight in the Embassy lobby and foyer was a picturesque one. The stockings, filled with presents, were returned to the kiddies on Saturday, December 24, which coincided nicely with Christmas Eve., Reilly placed in several of the stockings season passes to the Embassy.

“He further ingratiated himself with the children by having the children who received season passes report to him every Saturday matinee before the theatre was opened.

“The manager took these children into his office, showed them the activities going on before a theatre is opened to the public, got their reactions to pictures and did everything to make them happy.”

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, chosen 2010 Best Book of the year by the Theatre Historical Society.

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2014.

 

Bergen Airdome, Jersey City, New Jersey

Excerpts from Moving Picture World, October 15, 1910:

“It remained for the Bergen Airdome of Jersey City to demonstrate the practicability  of a canvas covering for large open air theaters.”

“All during the Summer, when other airdomes in the city were closed on rainy nights, the Bergen Airdome was doing a land office business under the canopy. It cost them $500 to have the canopy made and erected. The places seats 1,600, total capacity with standing room filled, 2, 300. With a ten-cent admission giving two shows a night it can be readily figured that the place would average at least $300 a night in receipts if the business was good, which it always has been at this establishment.”

“There is a certain bigness to it as one steps into this canvas auditorium which is rather impressive.  It certainly is wonderfully effective as a sound carrier. When the canopy is spread every word on the stage is heard as plainly as in any well-built theater. Another feature of the canvas canopy, now that cold weather is coming on, is the warmth of it. While the other airdomes have all closed for the season, the Bergen Airdome people have added a canvas side wall to the canopy and expect to continue at least six weeks without any discomfort to their audiences, so far as cold weather is concerned.”

“By offering nothing but the very best it soon became worded about that the Bergen Airdome was leaving all the other open-air shows far behind. The talent procured ran into considerable money, it was always worth seeing and never descended to the cheap fill-in act. The pictures were the very best that could be procured. Under these conditions it is not very difficult to understand why the Bergen airdome has been such a success.”

“The Clinton Amusement company is a corporation and the stockholders are so much encouraged by this year’s success that it is their attention to open two or more new airdomes in some of the surrounding towns next season.”

According to Variety, August 23, 1912,  the Bergen Airdome was located at Bergen and Virgina Avenues in Jersey City.

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, chosen 2010 Best Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society.