Lafayette Theatre

97 Lafayette Avenue,
Suffern, NY 10901

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JeffS on December 9, 2004 at 7:44 am

Stephen, The Lafayette is truly an ‘event’ theatre. Jeff Barker regularly gets spontaneous applause from the audience after his great organ performances and I believe he got standing ovations after ‘The General’ and ‘Phantom’. The audience also regularly applaudes after the shorts, and the features. This is so unlike the typical first run movie experience. These retrospect performances are fun to attend, and Nelson and Pete do their best to draw the audience into the experiance and make it the ‘event’ it is. Next week’s show of “It’s a Wonderful Life” is going to be a perfect example of this. A great mix of movie, shorts, and other fun stuff!

PeterApruzzese on December 9, 2004 at 6:41 am

Thank you very much, Stephen. I’m glad you’ve been enjoying our shows and I think you’ll be pleased with the special events planned for 2005.

Pete Apruzzese
Director of Film Programming
Big Screen Classics at the Lafayette Theatre

sigafoos on December 8, 2004 at 6:39 pm

I’ve been attending the classics series and special events at The Lafayette for the past year, since first visiting the theatre for their 3-D festival. The most awesome event I witnessed must have been the screening of Steam Boat Bill, Jr. with a 32-piece orchestra in the pit. Truly extraordinary, and the first time I can think of a spontaneous and genuine unanimous standing ovation after a movie!
The love and respect for these films, and the theatre, from both the owners-and-staff and the audience adds to the wonderful experience every week.

PeterApruzzese on October 29, 2004 at 8:03 am

This Week’s Big Screen Classics Show:
HOLD THAT GHOST – starring Bud Abbott & Lou Costello – SATURDAY, OCTOBER 30 at 11:30 am
Presented in an extraordinary-looking new 35mm print direct from Universal Pictures! Plus selected short subjects: “Scrappy’s Ghost Story”, 1935, a Columbia cartoon; “Tall, Dark and Gruesome”, 1948, starring Hugh Herbert and Dudley Dickerson

In person at the HOLD THAT GHOST show: Chris Costello (Lou’s daughter) and author Bob Furmanek (“Abbott & Costello in Hollywood”). NOTE: Bob will have copies of his Abbott & Costello book for sale in the lobby after the show. Bob’s book, “Abbott & Costello in Hollywood”, lets you join Bud and Lou on the sets of their 36 films. Drawing on studio archives, family scrapbooks and over 75 interviews, each A&C film is described in extraordinary detail, including complete cast and crew credits, script excerpts, production notes, cut scenes and final reviews. Introduction by Jerry Lewis. Foreword by the Abbott and Costello families. 272 pages/150 photos/Index.

“Certainly the best and most exhaustive book about A&C to see print…an impressive piece of scholarship.”—-Filmfax

“More details on the making of their films than any book I’ve ever seen.”—-Leonard Maltin

HOLD THAT GHOST shows on Saturday, October 30 at 11:30 am at the Lafayette Theatre in Suffern, NY. Ticket price: $6.00. Log on to for further information.

BobFurmanek on October 1, 2004 at 10:41 am

I understand the Lafayette is running a rare dye-transfer Technicolor print of ZULU this Saturday. It’s a unique opportunity to see a great 35mm archival print on the big screen.

If it looks half as good as the trailer they’ve been running, classic film fans (and collectors) are in for a reel treat!

BobFurmanek on September 21, 2004 at 6:42 am

Many years ago, the Film Forum operators damaged some rare 35mm materials that I loaned to them, so they’re not very high on my favorites list. The frustrating thing about the 3-D presentation issues was the fact that I knew and explained what was wrong, and it took 4 complaints before they allowed me to fix them.

It’s not difficult to run dual-strip 3-D, but you need to have a certain level of competence in the booth. I’m afraid the Film Forum does not have that ability.

umbaba on September 21, 2004 at 6:32 am

Bob, that really stinks that you had 2 bad experiences at Film Forum. I’ve had the same problem with “cavallier” attitude with young theater employees who know nothing about film presentation. I’ve always had good experiences at Film Forum re: presentation though. When the film starts there’s always someone in there to see things are going well. Also, I remember a time when a theater manager was reaming an employee regarding a film problem and not noticing it. (Maybe that mgr. is no longer there) but I hear where you’re coming from. My objections are, the seating, if someone sits in front of you you’re doomed, and the size of the screen and auditorium.

BUT: now the Lafayette is the MAIN theater for me and anyone I talk to because when something goes wrong, be it focus, framing, sound or otherwise, I keep the comfort of my seat cause Pete Apruzzese in on the problem like a fly on sugar. The people of The Lafayette are a unique breed haven’t seen since the 70’s. A great entertainment showplace…let me correct that: THE greatest.

JeffS on September 19, 2004 at 6:16 pm

Last night (Saturday 9/18) my daughter and her friend wanted to see a movie, so I decided to take them to the Lafayette for “Sky Captain”. We went to the late show, and unfortunately Jeff doesn’t play the organ for the last show, so they were a bit disappointed they wouldn’t get to hear it, but before we went in, we had a nice talk with the manager who was very open about sharing the past and current history or the Lafayete with us. You can tell he’s proud of the place, and their accomplisments. The best part was when we walked into the auditorium. Her jaw just dropped open, she could not believe how beautiful the place was. Now mind you, she’s 21, and has never been in anything other than a multiplex or split up palace (like the Ridgewood NJ Warner) where you’d never know it once looked like anything else. I told her that they all used to look like this (excepting the current multiplex complexes of course). Before TV, going to a movies was once a weekly affair of entertainment and there was more to going to the movies than sitting in a room with square black walls. I know she wants to return with me for a future performance and hear the organ. Perhaps we’ll take in the Phantom in October (I know I’m going!).

Oh yea, Sky Captain was good too!

stukgh on September 17, 2004 at 8:12 am

I am in awe of The Lafayette — the thought of seeing big-screen classics in a big auditorium filled with a responsive, enthusiastic audience – it sounds like a dream. How I wish I were still living within a commute from the town.

From the picture, the theater seems to have a nearly cylindrical drum-shaped marquee. I’ve never seen one like that before. Does anyone know — is this merely rare, or is it truly unique?

BobFurmanek on September 17, 2004 at 7:05 am

I forgot to mention that the management of the Film Forum was initially blaming these projection problems on the print, as well as the way the film was photographed! I knew this wasn’t the case, and their cavailier attitude was really annoying.

A friend recently saw a presentation of a newly restored classic film, and they ran the entire second half with a badly threaded loop on the sound drum. The audio track had an awful warble, but they didn’t stop to correct the problem.

They may have great programming and get all the new restored prints, but their presentation and lack of showmanship is appalling. This is New York City – not Boonton.

BobFurmanek on September 17, 2004 at 7:00 am

Rhett, I recently had two bad experiences with film presentations at the Film Forum. The first time, it took 4(!) trips to the lobby to get the operator to fix the problem. It was a framing registration issue with a 3-D film, and they were causing severe eyestrain on the unsuspecting audience. The manager finally brought me up to the booth to show the union operator how to fix the problem. It turned out that he didn’t know the big knob labelled “Frame” sticking out of the projector head is what you used to adjust a framing problem.

The second recent visit was also ruined by a poor presentation, so I won’t be going back. I won’t miss it, I’ve seen better film presentations in private homes!

umbaba on September 17, 2004 at 5:52 am

It’s good to see that new people are attending the lafayette. I became one of the converted with the first Bigscreenclassic series and have been going ever since. I beat the drum whenever i talk to people about the Lafayette and have even dragged a friend or 2 to the screenings. This theater and series will keep getting bigger and it should. It is THE best venue to watch a great movie in.

Re: Film Forum. Yes, the screen is smaller, the theaters narrow and small but I do have to say, they take their screenings seriously and always make sure there’s no glitches. and they get great prints. I saw some Godzilla films there recently as well as The Leopard, Serpico and they were restored great prints. They show alot of other films that some theaters probably won’t show. While it’s NOT up to the Lafayette’s standard, it is a good alternative.

MarcoAcevedo on September 13, 2004 at 12:25 pm


Fantastic news! Lookit, I’m dancin'!

You guys have showmanship in your blood… I practically heard the drumroll underneath your announcement! I am most definitely keeping the weekend of April 8-10 open… and I’m spreading the word starting NOW.

Keep up the great work!

RobertR on September 13, 2004 at 12:24 pm

I cant wait to go to see films in this theatre. I wanted to attend this past weekends festival, but had a wedding and tickets to the US Open. The owners of the Lafayette are true theatre saviors.

JeffS on September 13, 2004 at 12:07 pm

I want to personally thank Nelson, Peter, all the staff of the Lafayette, and the guest stars for putting on the most enjoyable film experience I have had in many many years. As the previous commentors have mentioned, you won’t find a better setting for these types of films. The original movie palace experience is here. It’s not a replica of what it used to be, this is it, for real. Not only will I be attending future performances, but I’ll make sure to consider the Lafayette for any first run films I want to see before heading off to the multiplex. If I’m going to pay the same amount, I might as well get some atmosphere and extra entertainment for the price of admission.

Great job guys, THANK YOU.

PeterApruzzese on September 13, 2004 at 11:20 am


Keep the weekend of April 8-9-10, 2005, open. “The Sounds of Silents” three-day event has been in the planning stages for several months now and we hope to reveal the entire program soon. Symphony orchestra, organ, piano, and guest accompanists will bring the glory days of the silent film back to life that weekend. The upcoming Phantom showing will give you a taste of what to expect…

Thanks also to you, as well as Jeff and Bob, for the comments about last weekend’s event.

Pete Apruzzese
Director of Film Programming
Big Screen Classics at the Lafayette Theatre

BobFurmanek on September 13, 2004 at 11:18 am

You may just get your wish. Although I don’t have definite details, I understand a Silent Film weekend is in the works for early next year!

MarcoAcevedo on September 13, 2004 at 11:05 am

Bob, I agree completely, only I do think the Forum’s repertoire programs are good… only not as ambitious as they used to be, and wasted in those claustrophobic “rooms”. The only real excuse for the Film Forum is it’s socially convenient to the Manhattanites it caters to. See the hot-topic indie film with some friends, go to the coffee bar to discuss. But now anyone with a home theaters can put on a comparable show for their friends, with the added convenience of trips to the fridge!

What’s a crime is that in the biggest city in the country, the world capital of media, the former home of the Roxy and hundreds of smaller local palaces, where Loews closes the Astor Plaza IN THEIR CENTENNIAL YEAR and lets their former gems The Kings and the Paradise rot empty with neglect, we have lost the experience of the movie palace. To rediscover it in Suffern is a great joy. My challenge is to convince my friends in this “on demand” impulse-buy world to cough up the extra money and time for the NJT train ride. But I should think the bonus Wurlitzer “concert” alone is worth it!!!

I saw that the Lafayette is screening the Lon Chaney version of “Phantom of the Opera” on October 28. Now that should be an experience that just can’t be duplicated anywhere else in the tristate area (except mebbe the UCAC… I have to check that place out). With the Wurlitzer, The Laffayette is in a position to revive the 1920s moviegoing experience which all the great old palaces were actually designed for… the sumptuous presentation of silents. How about a weekend program of the greatest “forgotten” silents, such as the Douglas Fairbanks swashbucklers? Kino has just issued a remastered edition of “The Black Pirate” on DVD, which I think was the first full-length Technicolor feature. It would be cool if Nelson Page could get a “premiere” screening deal with a company like Kino to showcase their repertoire before they put them out on the retail market (hint hint)…

BobFurmanek on September 13, 2004 at 8:20 am

The Lafayette is a reel gem: a genuine movie theater with an owner looking to preserve and replicate its rich cinematic heritage. This theater, and New Jersey’s Union County Arts Center in Rahway, are the only venues in the New York area properly replicating the classic Movie Palace Experience. Fans of films and theaters should support and treasure these unique showplaces. If you’ve been to either theater, you understand perfectly what I’m saying. If you haven’t, then you don’t know what you’re missing!

Seeing a film in New York’s Film Forum is like watching a badly projected presentation in a concrete bunker. They rarely present a show properly, and they are the most over-rated venue for classic film in the country. It’s a shame that fans of classic cinema in New York City have that poorly designed screening room as their only local venue.

Thank goodness the UCAC and Lafayette Theater are just a short distance away!

MarcoAcevedo on September 12, 2004 at 11:33 am

Yesterday was one of those perfect days, speaking as a Cinema Treasures aficionado, because I’d purchased a day pass to the Sci-Fi Festival at the Lafayette. Perfect. From my short, pleasant train ride from NYC to an unfamiliar but pleasant small town against the backdrop of rocky but wooded hills, to the de-lish pancakes ala Rockland (w/fresh spiced apple and walnuts in the batter) at the suitably space-age-exteriored Rockland Diner down the road from the theater, to having enough time between shows to casually stroll around to soak up the authentic small town commercial district vibe (they coulda shot “The Blob” here!), to being able to watch the slightly worn but wonderfully preserved marquee (“SCI-FI WEEKEND”) come to life as the day dimmed, to the vintage lobby posters, to watching gorgeous prints of some of my all-time favorite flicks on a big screen (one thing the otherwise admirable Film Forum in Manhattan can’t provide) but most of all I will not forget that moment when I climbed the short carpeted stairwell from the lobby into the soft amber twillight of the great auditorium in its gold and teal and wine-red shades, its glittering rows of opera boxes, the Tiffany-style chandelier, serenaded by a sound I’d never heard before in my life: the mighty Lafayette Wurlitzer…. wow, wow, wow. I’m not ashamed to say it brought a lump to my throat; I thought I’d never have a real movie palace experience again anywhere in the greater metro area, what with all the losses NYC has suffered over the years, the Astor Plaza being the freshest in my mind. My thanks to the owners and managers and programmers and Wurlitzer-players of the Lafayette for a truly memorable day. I’ll be back for the Classics series with as many pals as I can muster!

JeffS on September 10, 2004 at 8:42 pm

Tonight was my first visit to the Lafayette, and the first night of the Sci-Fi Festival. Wow, what an outstanding theatre! The organ performance was wonderful, and the film was great. A co-worker of mine has been bugging me for several years to go to this theatre and see a film, and I always shrugged it off as a dumpy little local place. “In Suffern, are you kidding?” Boy, was I ever wrong! I’ll will be going back for the classics series, and other films. I was especially pleased with the quality of the print, the brightness of the image, and the perfect focus (something hard to find lately). I’m looking forward to the next two days!

umbaba on September 10, 2004 at 5:21 am

Also, not to forget, the new Big Screen Classic series kicks off next week 9/18/04 with The Caine Mutiny. I’m definitely gonna try to make some of the Sci-Fi flicks.
If you’ve never been to the Lafayette you’ll love it when you walk in. It’s like potatoe chips, can’t have just one.

Ross Melnick
Ross Melnick on September 9, 2004 at 11:31 pm

This is one of New York’s best kept secrets. If you live in the New York City area and haven’t been to the Lafayette yet, you’re really missing something.

PeterApruzzese on September 9, 2004 at 11:20 pm

The Science Fiction film festival begins tonight! Hope some of the denizens of Cinema Treaures can make a show or two!

Pete Apruzzese

PeterApruzzese on July 29, 2004 at 4:48 pm

No, we don’t currently have 70mm capability at the Lafayette, but we do have excellent 35mm with DTS Digital stereo and Dolby SR analog stereo sound. 70mm is something we’re considering, but the costs are rather high for the few prints we could get to run.

Pete Apruzzese
Director of Film Programming
Big Screen Classics at the Lafayette Theatre.