Central Theatre

19 Central Avenue,
Passaic, NJ 07055

Unfavorite 7 people favorited this theater

Showing 26 - 50 of 57 comments

ThePhotoplayer on April 4, 2006 at 2:21 am

Those are great photos, Jeff. A far cry from what Passaic now is.

Does anyone else have some clear pictures of the auditorium? I’m doing a little project and I’d like to have some more details about the ornamentation of the theater.

tonyn on February 11, 2006 at 8:02 am

Thanks Jeff, that worked.

JeffS on February 11, 2006 at 7:45 am

Sorry about those dead image links. I forgot they were on a personal server I took down. These links are on an image service, and hopefully you should have no trouble viewing them.

These are old photos of Main Street, Passaic NJ, looking north from the sound end of Main.

View link
View link
View link
View link

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 11, 2006 at 5:45 am

It was from a newspaper, but I cut out the picture and didn’t keep the article. It was some years ago, but I seem to remember that the article was about the photographer who took this picture, and not the theater or the diner.

tonyn on February 11, 2006 at 1:59 am

Bill, do you happen to have the story that the picture was part of, it looks like a newspaper article.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on February 10, 2006 at 7:26 pm

View link

This is a picture of the diner I posted back in July 2005.

tonyn on February 10, 2006 at 4:07 pm

I could not open the pictures posted by Jeff S. Does anyone have pictures of the diner next to the Central?

JoeRusso on October 6, 2005 at 8:35 am

I am asking anyone who has photos or memories of this theatre to PLEASE contact me! My Grandmother was head bookkeeper at the Central from the 50’s until 1973.I spent doznes of weekends literally “living” there.As a young boy I spent weekends at a time watching films,going up in the balcony,hanging out in the business office and even dispensing tickets to customers from the box office.The manager,Rudy DeBlasio is still around and I met with him a few years ago after almost 30 years! I have many personal,sentimental memories of the Central and seek ANY PHOTOS,or leads on photos.This was an incredible theatre.One day in 1980,I passed by and it was a pile of rubble.I had no chance to visit it for the last time or take any pictures.The memories of the time I spent there haunts me to this day.Anyone with any information or photos of this theatre,I ask you to please contact me.THANK YOU!

BobFurmanek on September 12, 2005 at 5:42 am

Terrific photo Warren. The Central featured many of the great bands during the 1940’s, and was the last place Glenn Miller played before going to Europe.

I really appreciate these photos. Do you have any more?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 12, 2005 at 4:43 am

Here’s the stage in readiness for its next “live” performance:

BobFurmanek on September 6, 2005 at 4:43 am

Yes, the balcony was always closed in the later years. For that reason, the lounge area upstairs was in excellent condition when the theater closed. The audiences for the blaxploitation/kung-fu epics had trashed the once beautiful downstairs lounge, but the balcony area was in great shape. In fact, it still had some of the original art deco furniture and light fixtures.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 3, 2005 at 5:15 am

Yes, Rhett, that’s the auditorium of the Central. In its first years, it was very successful with stage shows, so the balcony seats were much needed. It’s possible that in later years, the balcony was just shut down and closed to the public so that you wouldn’t be aware of its existence…I have some pix of the Lee Theatre that I hope to post soon.

umbaba on September 3, 2005 at 4:13 am


That is the auditorium of the Central in Passaic?? I didn’t know it had a balcony?? What year is that?? It seems interesting with all the Kung-Fu films of the 70’s that that is the same theater.

Do you have any shots of other Northjersey theaters?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 31, 2005 at 8:53 am

Here are two views of the auditorium. Unfortunately, neither shows how the ceiling was decorated. Does anyone have that information?

JeffS on July 21, 2005 at 5:12 pm

I found that picture of Main Street Passaic. it doesn’t show any of the theaters, but it does give you an idea of what it looked like with the tracks down the center.

I’ve presented it as several shots, the first is the whole image, reduced so you can see everything. Then I took several sub-sections and presented them at full (or close to full) resolution so you can see the details.

This picture was probably taken sometime in the 1930’s, and is at the south end of main street, just north of the Prospect St Station. You can see the Bank Building (the skyscraper) in the photo. That building is still there today.


BobFurmanek on July 21, 2005 at 10:03 am

WOW, thanks Warren. I would sure love to get a good quality print of that image! By the time I was going there in the late sixties, the vertical sign was gone. But it was a huge marquee and could be seen for blocks.

JeffS on July 21, 2005 at 10:00 am

OK, now that picture puts things in perspective for me. The tracks would be at the rear of the building.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on July 21, 2005 at 9:48 am

Thanks, Warren. It felt good to see the Central’s marquee once again.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 21, 2005 at 9:37 am

Here’s an exterior image from page 981 of the 1942 edition of the Film Daily Year Book. The caption says “EFFECTIVE FACADE: Central Theater, Passaic, N.J., designed by John and Drew Eberson, and erected by the Washington Construction Co. of that city, utilizes Binghamton Overside Ceramic Face Brick. The striking exterior is enhanced by the name sign’s linear form and marquee’s proportions."
The left side of the marquee lists the current stage program, topped by Tommy Tucker & His Orchestra. I’m unable to read the front of the marquee even with a magnifying glass, but it might include the title of the movie, which I suspect was in the "B” category because the theatre was primarily noted for its stage shows in those days: www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/128-2808_IMG.jpg

BobFurmanek on July 21, 2005 at 6:31 am

Oops, the train station was on Main Street just south of the Central. Sorry ‘bout that!

BobFurmanek on July 21, 2005 at 6:26 am

Jeff, the information on the ticket is a little mis-leading. The train station was a block or two north on Main Street, and the tracks continued towards Clifton along the west wall of the theatre.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on July 21, 2005 at 5:30 am

Rhett: if you click on the map link up above next to the Central’s address, and zoom all the way in, the Capitol was located on the next block north of the Central with its entrance on Monroe St. The Central’s entrance was on Central Ave. and you had to go around the corner to see what was playing at the Capitol.

umbaba on July 21, 2005 at 3:27 am

Wasn’t the Central right acroos the street from the Capitol?? That’s where they had all the concerts..I saw The Cowboys there in ‘72…These Passaic theaters along with the Paterson theaters all went downhill as the 70’s progressed with the Blaxploitation and Kung Fu movies…What does that say about it?? Was it the times? the movies? the people? the management not caring anymore??

JeffS on July 21, 2005 at 3:16 am

So in this picture which side of the building was the railroad on? Bob, the 1950 ticket stub you gave me says “Across the street from the Erie RR station”. I have a 1912 picture of the Passaic RR station, but that pre-dates this building (and many other buildings). I had a more recent photo of Main St Passaic showing the tracks down the middle, but I can’t seem to find it (I’m still looking). Maybe this shot will show the theater.

BobFurmanek on July 13, 2005 at 6:31 am

The Central was located on the same piece of land as the McDonalds. A portion of that south wall is still there today, although it’s only a few feet high. They had to demo that entire south wall by hand, as the diner was still open for business below it. The process took months!