Fabian Theatre

45 Church Street,
Paterson, NJ 07505

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Showing 26 - 50 of 105 comments

LuisV on February 27, 2009 at 8:37 am

But nobody notices it and nobody goes. I am a lifelong New Yorker and have expored the metro region quite a bit, but have never been to Patterson. I would even venture to say that probably no one that I know (I live in Manhattan) has ever been there either. Why would anyone go?

I personally have always wanted to visit because I have read about the history of Patterson and how important it was in the industrialization of America. I hear that there are quite a few beautiful building (though decaying) left over from its hey day. The Falls are also supposed to be beautiful, and yet, virtually no one even know the falls exist. I would bet that if you asked 100 people if they ever heard of the Falls in Patterson 99.9 of them would say no and 80 of them would probably say “Where’s Patterson?”

It’s a shame, because this city has the architecture, the history and a natural site that is beautiful and yet, it sits in decay and in obscurity.

BobFurmanek on February 27, 2009 at 8:18 am

Paterson is far from hidden. It’s directly off route 80 and 18 miles from New York.

LuisV on February 27, 2009 at 8:15 am

Bob…my only experience with Patterson has been what I’ve read on this site and it just sounds so awful. It sounds like Patterson is North Jersey’s equivalent of Camden; another city that many feel is so far down the scale that it is impossible to revive, though they are a least trying. They have opened and aquarium, put in new transportation links, and I think and amphitheater. Campbell’s soups still maintains their Corporate HQ there. Alas, Patterson has none of this. Camden is very visible as it is jut across the river from Philadelphia. Paterson remains hidden and destitute. I don’t really see much hope; especially with the current economic environment.

BobFurmanek on February 27, 2009 at 8:07 am

With it’s proximity to New York – and the fact that route 80 runs right through the southern tip – I’m amazed that downtown Paterson has not experienced a greater resurgence.

LuisV on February 27, 2009 at 7:59 am

The entire city of Detroit, with a population of just under 1 million, does not have a single department store or a real supermarket. I heard on Bill Mahr’s show that the average price of a house is now $18,000!!!! It costs less to buy a house in Detroit than it does to buy an average new car! Though several of Detroit’s palaces have been restored I don’t beleive any operate as a pure theater. I think that some of them have occassional movies on their programs. There are several large cities around the country that don’t have a single remaining movie palace. The one that I can think of off the top of my head is Cincinatti. Philadelphia was very close to becoming the largest city without a palace but it looks like they have saved the Boyd.

Davidzl on February 26, 2009 at 3:06 pm

Yes, it’s very difficult to believe that there isn’t a single movie theater within Paterson city limits. This is a city of 150,000 and the third largest in New Jersey. I wonder how many cities there are around the country of similar size and population that lack basic access to entertainment, like Paterson. It’s a shock, really.

LuisV on February 26, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Wow! Finally, a piece of good news for Patterson! Alas, it needs much, much more.

Davidzl on February 26, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Fabian’s legacy in Paterson isn’t gone yet. In 1929, Fabian funded Temple Emanuel, located on Broadway and E 33rd St. The site was designed by Fred Wentworth (usual business with Fabian) in art deco style and served up until the late 90s as a synagogue. Today, it’s undergoing restoration to become Great Falls Performing Arts Center, which will restore most of the Temple’s facilities, including a 1,100+ performance hall area dedicated to theater and concerts, as well as numerous support facilities capable of hosting conferences, arts workshops, and banquets. Call me at (551) 208 – 0502 if you’d like more information. – David

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on February 4, 2009 at 1:48 pm

A small 1950s movie ad from the Fabian promoting Gene Autry in “Indian Territory” can be seen here.

BobFurmanek on January 22, 2009 at 1:12 pm

There were 5 screens total. The orchestra level was split into two; the balcony was one theater and two additonal screens were added on the stage.

Here’s an interesting article on the Fabian’s 1962 remodeling:

LuisV on January 22, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Nevermind. A prior post above notes that the level under the balcony contained two theaters when it it divided into a multiplex.

markp on December 24, 2008 at 8:26 am

Recent news being posted on CT has a major redevelopement going on in this town to include an entertainment complex. Heres all the complex you need. NOTHING they build will even come close to matching this. Just check out Bob’s photos above from Feb 6, 2008.

markp on February 6, 2008 at 2:14 pm

To Bob Furmanek…Wonderful photos…lets hope this grand palace somehow finds a way to survive any wrecking balls and gets a new lease on life.

BobFurmanek on February 6, 2008 at 12:43 pm

I recently moved several of my Fabian images. Here are the new links:

1925 interior:
View link

1925 lobby:
View link

2002 balcony:
View link

BobFurmanek on August 29, 2007 at 6:27 am

According to a piece in a local Clifton paper, the Fabian is being gutted for retail purposes, and the Alexander Hamilton is being renovated for condos.

BobFurmanek on March 16, 2007 at 10:46 am

You’re most welcome Bill, glad you enjoyed it!

The Montauk is still standing and doesn’t look too bad from the exterior. It looks like they simply pulled down the gate and walked away. Check out this discussion thread: /theaters/4308/

In the meantime, here’s a non-PC ad from Bud and Lou’s latest, which opened locally in the summer of 1949:
View link

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on March 16, 2007 at 8:31 am

Thanks, Bob, for the great ad … “And Introducing Geraldine Page”. I’d never been to the Fabian but I’ve been to the Montauk several times. That’s still standing too, right?

BobFurmanek on March 16, 2007 at 7:15 am

The Fabian presents their “Great Holiday Show” in December, 1953:

View link

BobFurmanek on March 6, 2007 at 5:52 pm

The Fabian was acquired from RKO-Stanley Warner theaters by Rudy De Blasio of Theater Management Associates in July, 1977. It re-opened in Christmas 1977 as the Fabian 1-2-3 with 1200 seats on the upper level and two 500 seat theaters on the ground floor. According to an article in Boxoffice dated 10/17/77, the upstairs theater was one of the few in the area capable of presenting 70mm films in stereophonic sound.

Here’s a 2002 picture of the balcony theatre after the triplexing and the “modern” Pepto-Bismol paint job:

View link

Here is a photo of the lobby when the theater opened in 1925:

View link

Stand by, there will be more vintage photos posted of this once grand showplace in the next few days…

BobFurmanek on March 6, 2007 at 12:00 pm

Not much I’m afraid.

The boxes are long gone, and the original proscenium is there but hidden above the drop ceiling created in the new booth for theaters 4 and 5, which were built sometime in the late seventies/early eighties.

When they triplexed it, they put up a fake wall in front of the proscenium with a floor leading to it from the balcony. That’s where they put the new screen. The area under the balcony was used for theaters 1 and 2. The backstage was gutted when they made theaters 4 and 5.

Later today I’ll post a color image of the balcony theater. It’s pretty ugly!

ghamilton on March 6, 2007 at 11:48 am

WHAT is left of that grand interior?Does anyone have a clue?

BobFurmanek on March 6, 2007 at 11:30 am

I’m sorry for the poor quality, but here is a rare photo of the Fabian’s interior, circa 1925:

View link

teecee on October 8, 2006 at 5:15 am

Don’t think that this one has been posted yet:

jsikorsk on September 21, 2006 at 9:02 am

who painted the murals in the fabian building?

ghamilton on July 24, 2006 at 1:21 am

I drove through Paterson Friday,since my wife had never been there.It was stunning how grubby,filthy and dreary it all was.The Fabian just sits there rotting.The potential is still there,in theory,but the reality bited.Since my co.will be moving out of Paterson in a year from now,I’ll no longer be tortured by it’s presence.