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On page 13 of todays Star Ledger, a very small article about the Ritz. Its official, the town has taken title of the building, and now the process of restoring it to a 1250 seat performing arts center begins. Also mentions the 6 screen movie theatre to be built nearby.
The old marquee with the black letters you changed by hand is gone, replaced with an LED screen that simply says “Cinemark”
Im currently working on the upgrade of mountainside nj.
The seats can be 5 feet wide if you raise the armrest in between. And yes prices will go up espescially because of all the fancy tile work, new screens, speakers, concession stand and yes they will have reserved seating. Also the seat capacity in each theatre is greatly reduced. In the 4 theatres we did so far, seating was reduced by almost half.
If im not mistaken, the theatre lasted till 1980 or 81.
walterk, I will be doing a union job monday thru friday from 7 to 4 mon thru fri starting july 7. Depending on extra work perhaps we can get together on a weekend.
Theatres 1 thru 4 have been renovated. New screens, seats and speakers and carpet. We go back July 7 to start phase 2, cinemas 5 thru 8. Phase 3 after that followed by lobby and restrooms. Concession stand being moved from center of lobby to back by rear entrance, which will be closed off. Coke free style coming also
Hello RkoRoxy. We know each other. You know me from the local and working together. The only thing I know right now in speaking to people is that the town is in negotiations to buy it. Then they will find a company or corporation who restores. This process may take up to 2 years from what I’ve been told. Im interested in this too, as my father was a projectionist here for years and Im interested in getting on the stage crew.
Looking a lot better. Cant wait for the finished product.
Another beautiful theatre about to be demolished. I remember the interior had a lot of brick work inside, from my days when I use to clean their screens. Such a shame.
Drive-in 54, Ive been saying this same thing for years about ANY drive in for New Jersey. Ive always said if I won the lottery I would tear down the vacant Amboys Multiplex in Sayreville NJ (a former drive-in) and put up a nice 4 screen drive-in. But I have a buddy of mine who constantly tells me, taxes too high, cost of labor too high, compact cars not good to sit in for 2 hours, on and on. Ive said if you open it from say the time you turn the clocks ahead till the time you turn them back, youd make a fortune. My buddy depresses the hell out of me, but I for one think they could make money in Jersey.
Thanks walterk, but of course as luck would have it, Im working both Saturdays in 2 different venues. State theatre New Brunswick this week and the Count Basie next week. Figures.
Would love for this to happen. My father was a projectionist here from after WW2 in the 40’s all the way up till it closed in the mid 60’s. Perhaps I will be fortunate enough to get a job as a stagehand here if it were to happen.
Boy I couldn’t have said it better myself. Vito and NYer, you took the words right out of my mouth.
I hate that black skyscraper every time I pass it. Same for the Roxy site. And Roseland, I was just there a year ago for the opening night party of “Motown the Musical”. Another shame that one is gonna bite the dust too.
walterk, funny how you mention the Basie. I am the house projectionist there. Up until last year we did screenings with 35mm, now we use a digital projector. Not really a fan, but you cant stop progress. As for the UCAC, I also did projection there in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, (as well as its last days as a porno back in the 70’s) but they haven’t done anything in a few years now. New management, new philosophy. And as far as 35mm at the Ritz, well this old timer just happens to have a pair of Century JJ2 35/70mm projectors in his possession.
Theatre is now digital as of the middle of March.
What year was this theatre demolished?
walterk, your link worked fine. Perhaps if I just scrolled up a bit and saw it, then my questions would have been answered. Im keeping up on this because, as a stagehand now, Im imagining how neat it would be for me to work there all these years after my father who was the projectionist for many years there.
This is really big news. Fingers crossed. Where was this article written? In a local paper? And where was the talk of a 6 screen movie theatre? In town?
Why bother with an appeal. By the time its heard ipic would have 2 weeks to destroy the interior. And once its destroyed, theres no turning back.
Thanks walterk. That would be my dad. Thank you so much. Yes I always try to remember the old State every year. Its where as a 6 year old boy I fell in love with movies, which led to me being a projectionist for over 37 years.
Great article about this theatres beginnings. And I just realized today that on this past Saturday, 3/15/2014, it has been 43 years since my father ran the last movie there and its doors closed for good.
Cinemadude, I agree with you about theatres that are keeping their 35mm equipment. The theatre in NJ where I am house projectionist, the Count Basie in Red Bank just installed a Christie Digital projector, but we kept our 2 simplex xl with 2000' reels. I still say film will make a comeback, much like vinyl is doing these days.
Worked here for about 3 months in early 2005 as a projectionist. The 2+ hour ride each way from Woodbridge made it not worth the trip.