Loew's Jersey Theatre

54 Journal Square,
Jersey City, NJ 07306

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BobFurmanek on October 20, 2004 at 8:02 am

Thank you very much Vincent. For the record, here is a timeline on the classic film programming which I presented as Director of Film Programming at Loew’s Jersey.

August, 1992: In an effort to increase public support to save the Loew’s, 16mm programs are presented in the lobby. At this time, the auditorium is in terrible condition and is divided into a tri-plex. The front of the theater is boarded up, and the building is scheduled for demolition (The original 35mm projection booth was stripped of equipment, and left open to the elements. It is basically a pigeon coup.) My initial two events are “Classic Comedy Teams – Teaming Up to Save the Loew’s” and THIS ISLAND EARTH shown in an original 16mm Technicolor print. Response to this presentation is tremendous, and the lobby is filled to capacity. Extra shows are added to accommodate the huge crowds. These film programs are the most successful events presented in the lobby during the fight to save the theater. They draw attention from the media, resulting in coverage in most all area newspapers, including those in New York City. During this time, I also use my industry contacts to bring Jerry Lewis and Leonard Maltin on board to support the “Save the Loew’s” effort. They both write letters in support of the project.

Over the course of the next few years, additional film events are held in the lobby, including an ambitious 35mm presentation of CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON with carbon arc illumination!

February 2, 1993: Loew’s Jersey is saved from demolition thanks to Friends of the Loew’s.

October 20 & 21, 2000: After 7 volunteer years of working to un-divide the auditorium and restore the original projection booth to 35mm and carbon arc capability, we present two free presentations of THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT. (This is shown on the old screen which had to be severely masked off in order to hide graffiti damage when the building sat vacant.) The free shows are a huge success, and give the audience a sneak preview of things to come.

Around this time, I bring in Nick Clooney and American Movie Classics to host an invitation-only event, celebrating the re-opening of the original center aisle. Footage is taken and shown on Nick Clooney’s AMC Coming Attractions show. Classic cartoons and comedy shorts are presented in 35mm, and (as a surprise) a jazz/swing band performs on stage.

December 7 – 9, 2001: In remembrance of the 60th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, we present THIRTY SECONDS OVER TOKYO, CASABLANCA and BUCK PRIVATES. The programs also include rare World War 2-era shorts such as Draftee Daffy, Falling Hare, America Sings with Kate Smith and You Nazty Spy.

January 2002: A new full-stage screen is donated by Comcast. We also add a Sony Digital Cinema Processor to the booth which allows us to play 4 track stereo sound (left, center and right on stage with mono surrounds.) On 2/22/02, GLORY is the first film on the new 50 foot screen and is the first stereo film heard in the theater since the 1960’s. That same weekend, as part of Black History Month, we present THE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN and MALCOLM X.

April 5 – 7 2002 – The first annual comedy weekend. We present RAISING ARIZONA; A Salute to Laurel and Hardy featuring WAY OUT WEST, the East Coast premiere of a newly restored Technicolor trailer to THE ROGUE SONG, and a Hearst Metrotone newsreel not shown in nearly 70 years. Saturday night we present an archival dye-transfer Technicolor print of IT’S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD, complete with overture, intermission and police radio calls. (The lines wrap around Journal Square for this show, and we bring in over 600 admissions!) On Sunday, 4/7, we present the 50th anniversary of the New Jersey premiere of Abbott and Costello’s JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, shown in a pristine archival SuperCineColor print. Members of Costello’s family attend, and rare shorts/cartoons are included in the program.

April 20, 2002: The 90th anniversary of the Titanic includes a screening of the seldom shown A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, and James Cameron’s TITANIC. Special guests include Charles A. Haas & John P. Eaton, authors of Titanic: A Journey through Time; Titanic: Triumph & Tragedy; and Titanic: Destination Disaster. Many rare artifacts are displayed in the lobby.

April 26 & 27, 2002: Our first Science-Fiction weekend includes CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND; a classic double-feature Kiddie Matinee of THE BRAIN FROM PLANET AROUS with DR. WHO AND THE DALEKS – presented in dye-transfer Technicolor. The highlight of the weekend is a pristine print of FORBIDDEN PLANET, shown for the first time since 1956 in its original 3 channel Perspecta Stereophonic Sound. Rare Perspecta shorts include an MGM Symphony and Tom and Jerry cartoon, plus a Perspecta demo film. Special guests include the family of Robert Fine, the man who developed Perspecta for MGM in 1954. Rare posters and collectibles are on display in the lobby, and more lines wrap around the block for this unique event. Over 700 people attend this presentation.

May 3 & 4, 2002: The final event of the first “official” classic film season is a James Bond weekend, with more archival dye-transfer Technicolor prints of GOLDFINGER; ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE and DR. NO. Also, loads of rare trailers, production shorts and TV spots are shown between films.

October 25 & 26, 2002: Our second film season opens with a Halloween Spooktacular Weekend. Horror classics KING KONG and FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLFMAN are shown in brand new prints, GHOSTBUSTERS is presented as a Saturday matinee, and HORROR OF DRACULA is screened in yet another rare archival Technicolor print. Rare shorts include BOO MOON and THE GREAT PIGGY BANK ROBBERY.

November 22 – 24, 2002: Great Teams are saluted with brand new restored prints of the Sherlock Holmes classics THE SCARLET CLAW with THE PEARL OF DEATH, courtesy of the UCLA Film Archive. Laurel and Hardy return with BABES IN TOYLAND, the only 16mm print shown while I was involved. (The only available 35mm print was an edited re-issue, and I felt it was more important to present the original un-cut version. Surprisingly, the 16mm looks very good on the big screen with xenon illumination.) The highlight of this weekend is the proclamation by Governor James E. McGreevey of Martin and Lewis Weekend throughout the State of New Jersey. We present an archival Technicolor print of ARTISTS AND MODELS, plus rare Martin and Lewis performance footage in 35mm newsreels and 16mm TV kinescopes.

January 31 – February 1, 2003: Alfred Hitchcock is saluted with PSYCHO, SABOTEUR and yet another archival Technicolor print – THE BIRDS.

February 28 – March 1, 2003: Chivalry returns to Journal Square with MGM’s first CinemaScope feature KNIGHTS OF THE ROUNDTABLE; IVANHOE and another Technicolor print – THE VIKINGS.

March 29 & 30, 2003: The second annual Classic Comedy Weekend includes: SONS OF THE DESERT, A NIGHT AT THE OPERA, ROAD TO MOROCCO, THE SEVEN LITTLE FOYS (in Technicolor) plus rare shorts including THREE LITTLE BEERS, A-PLUMBING WE WILL GO, BRIDELESS GROOM and MUSH AND MILK.

APRIL 26 & 27, 2003: “The Many Faces of Frankenstein” includes the re-premiere of Thomas Edison’s long-lost 1910 FRANKENSTEIN; Boris Karloff’s 1931 FRANKENSTEIN; the 1958 Hammer classic REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN (in Technicolor) and Mel Brooks' YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. Shorts include THIRD-DIMENSIONAL MURDER, and ultra-rare 35MM trailers of many Universal Horror Frankenstein classics. This special event was co-sponsored by the Fort Lee Film Commission.

These are the programs which I brought to the Loew’s Jersey during my tenure as Director of Film Programming. All films were 35mm and were presented in their original theatrical aspect ratios, from 1.37 to 2.35. Through my connections with the UCLA Film Archive; the Lobby of Congress as well as private film collectors, many rare archival prints were presented. The original dye-transfer Technicolor prints looked magnificent with carbon arc illumination, replicating the way these great films were shown in their original theatrical release. I always felt the classic Movie Palace Experience should be replicated, with rare shorts, trailers and cartoons as part of each show. In addition, each program also included loads of unique posters and collectibles on display in the Grand Lobby.

None of this would have happened without the invaluable contributions of Bob Eberenz and Steve Levy. They secured the equipment and restored the 35mm capability to this great theater. Mr. Eberenz in particular has worked hundreds of volunteer hours on this project. Classic film fans in the New York area should be very grateful for their volunteer efforts.

In closing, I’m very proud of my contributions to saving and restoring the film capability to the Loew’s Jersey.

Bob Furmanek

VincentParisi on October 20, 2004 at 7:12 am

You’re my kind of programmer. I wish you were still involved. Even if someone enjoys Living Dead they would have to admit this is not a film you want to bring your kids to and movie palaces were a great place to bring the family. I just wish the FOTL would encourage it on a holiday weekend and include a lot more TCM programming. This is the kind of stuff a movie palace shows off best.

Divinity on October 20, 2004 at 6:48 am

I do agree about the Haunting being an approrriate film to play not only because it is an MGM but because the manor in the film is just as wonderful to look at as the theater is. The Loews Jersey should host a gala event next year. The theme should be a “Haunted Palace” equipped with performing artists dressed as statues where they once were. As well as A costume contest and dancing. Perhaps one of those trendy video mixers could volunteer and provide something on the screen so that there would be no video rental fee. A few of us could wear decadent costumes to create ambience. Mabye period costumes from the roaring twenties? This event would raise alot of money and interest many.
If anyone is interested I am an expert at both party planning and partying.

Divinity on October 19, 2004 at 4:33 pm

The Loews Jersey is a Divine theater that I discovered on this website. Thank you Cinematreasures! I finally made my first visit for the 75th anniversary festival. It was so wonderful wandering the halls and the grand lobby. There is a distinct aroma lingering in this theater that reminded me of what the Paradise (Jersey’s sister theater in the bronx) smelled like when I was a child. The exhibit in the lobby was wonderfully informative. I will definately re-visit for “Night of the living Dead” on Oct 30th. Hopefully I will be able to drag along some friends who will probably pretend to go only for the theater and not the cult classic. I have no shame in admitting that I will enjoy both.

porterfaulkner on October 19, 2004 at 2:55 pm

Congratulations, Loew’s Jersey City. Its all yours now so run with it! Great good wishes for the future of this most majestic of movie palaces.

RobertR on October 19, 2004 at 2:48 pm

I think Night of the Living dead may be in the public domain, so they dont have to pay any film rental. I second the motion for White Christmas, I have never seen it in a theatre.

VincentParisi on October 19, 2004 at 2:37 pm

Very wonderful news. Just hope they schedule films more suitable to a movie palace. Lately the programs have been more Film Forum retrospective and less Loews MGM. Anybody have any comments on this? Sorry for looking a gift horse in the mouth after all these guys have been through and the great work they have done. But Night of the Living Dead for a Saturday evening on the Halloween weekend just ain’t a family audience friendly film. Leave it to places like the Angelica and Cinema Village. Hope they’ve got a pristine print of White Christmas lined up for the holidays.

RobertR on October 18, 2004 at 6:15 pm

Great News !!!! I hope we can look forward to more classic films.

DougDouglass on October 18, 2004 at 4:10 am

Saturday’s Jersey Journal reports Acting Mayor L. Harvey Smith has signed a five-year agreement with Friends Of Loew’s to operate the theatre.

MarkW on October 14, 2004 at 5:19 pm


Any news? Good news I hope.


DougDouglass on October 13, 2004 at 1:48 am

The proposal before the City Council scheduled for tonight (October 13) has been postponed. It may be on the agenda at the October 27 meeting. Will keep you posted.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on October 8, 2004 at 12:49 pm

On Saturday, I saw my 20th classic movie on the Loew’s big screen,
SPARTACUS. Believe me, the last thing Jersey City needs is another
tacky store or office building. It’s incredibly sad how a wonderful
building like the Loew’s has to constantly struggle just to survive.
I sincerely hope Saturday wasn’t the last time I took a walk around
the beautiful lobby and its upstairs balcony, or climbed the grand
red-carpeted staircase, or sat in one of the front rows and gazed up
at the ceiling hundreds of feet above my head – all awe-inspiring
sights that can’t be experienced in any other movie theater in the New York area.

DougDouglass on October 7, 2004 at 7:33 am

There will be a meeting of the City Council at 6:00 PM on Wednesday, October 13 at City Hall, 280 Grove Street – two blocks west of the PATH station. Smith’s plan to transfer the theatre to the Redevelopment Authority will go through unless the council is convinced otherwise.

PeterApruzzese on October 5, 2004 at 12:29 pm

Platters themselves are not inherently damaging to film. But there are many more surfaces that the film must touch and all of them can add up to increased wear on the print if the platter is not well maintained. Also, the make-up and tear-down process on the print is where most of the damage occurs, especially if it’s done rapidly (which is usually the case in most platter operations where they are working 4-18 screens at once).

porterfaulkner on October 5, 2004 at 11:44 am

Bob; you say that platter systems are not acceptable for running vintage or rare prints. I’d be interested to hear why not. Is the modern stock more hard wearing or is it that the film companies want a projectionist to be present just in case of mishap?

RonMotta on October 5, 2004 at 11:15 am

I went to the screening of “Superman” this past Sunday and must say, it was probably the best movie-going experience I ever had since I was six years old (not including proposing to my wife at the Ziegfeld two years ago). I also left the place kicking myself for just discovering this buried treasure. When I saw the kind of movies that have played here recently—like “Forbidden Planet”, “A Night at the Opera”, “Dr. Who and the Daleks” and pretty much all incarnations of “Frankenstein,”—I couldn’t believe that I just found out about this place and now, it’s on the verge of being closed down.

Unfortunately, I don’t live in Jersey City (don’t even live in New Jersey), so I’m not sure what kind of weight my opinion would have with the city council or the mayor, but why can’t they see past their own arrogance and greed? The Loews Jersey isn’t just a movie theater, it has the potential to be a cultural center.

“Listen to reason for once, man, even if you are a politician!” —Jon Pertween in “The Day of the Daleks”.

BobFurmanek on October 5, 2004 at 8:55 am

Yes, that Forbidden Planet show was in Perspecta Stereo, and that’s why I included the MGM Symphony, cartoon, and Perspecta demo reel in the program. We had over 700 people for that presentation! The integrator was working pretty well, although we were having some problems with the center channel. But, it did give an idea of how effective the process could be on a 50 foot screen. Most people though it was true 3 channel stereo!

Vincent, I’m sorry too that my association did not continue with the Jersey. But, they have there own way of presenting film now, and I’m afraid it doesn’t jive with the type of presentation which I like to do.

As far as the current situation, I have no idea what ugly politics are involved with the future of this theater. It’s a true shame.

VincentParisi on October 5, 2004 at 8:28 am

Bob considering your knowledge, all the work you did at the Jersey and your appreciation of great classic films I am very sorry you are no longer affiliated with the theater.
Will there be a public hearing on the fate of the FOL?

theatrefan on October 5, 2004 at 8:27 am

Bob – Wasn’t Forbidden Planet presented in Perspecta Stereo sound back in April 2002? I was there for that show and it was awesome!

BobFurmanek on October 5, 2004 at 8:13 am

Vito, the booth was a mess when we started. When Loew’s pulled out of the building in the mid-80’s, they not only stripped all the equipment, they left the booth windows open. Pigeons moved in, and the place was a filthy mess. When we started restoring the booth, Bob and I had no heat OR running water. We had to go next door to CH Martin to clean up. I don’t miss those days at all!

The Corelites were abandoned in the theater (one was laying on stage, and the other was in a storage room near the booth.) They needed a lot of work, and Bob deserves all the credit for getting them functional again. They have new jaws, but that #2 lamp has always been very moody.

That’s a new screen which I was able to secure with a donation by Comcast. I brought in Nick Clooney and American Movie Classics to do a segment when we opened up the center aisle and un-veiled the new screen. It was quite an event!

Vito on October 5, 2004 at 8:03 am

Bob, Thanks for the info, sounds like a booth I would have enjoyed working in, (hate platters) The core lights are magnificent, the drifting, of course, can be traced back to the motor needing new brushes or if the positive carbon is drifting perhaps the tension on the jaws is a bit tight. I must stop by and visit sometime, sounds like a great booth.

theatrefan on October 5, 2004 at 8:00 am

I think vandals destroyed the original one, so its a new screen.

Mikeoaklandpark on October 5, 2004 at 7:48 am

Is the screen currently in the theater the original screen or did they install a new one?

BobFurmanek on October 5, 2004 at 7:28 am

Yes, Tom Pedler was a very very kind man, and all of us who knew him at the Jersey miss him very much.

Vito, the projection equipment was secured by Bob Eberenz. The projectors are Kineton reel to reel. The sound system is a Sony DCP with vintage Altec tube amps, and the speakers are Altec Voice of the Theater. They can handle 4 channel Dolby stereo, and 3 channel Perspecta. (The Perspecta integrator is a fully restored Fairchild unit from 1954.) The lamphouses are 1955 vintage Ashcraft Super Corelite carbon arcs. Considering their age and current lack of continual use, they work as best can be expected. Last weekend, the #1 lamp was fine but #2 was drifting and had a color temperature imbalance.

Any theater that wants to run archival or vault prints has to run reel to reel. Platters are not acceptable for rare prints.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on October 5, 2004 at 4:20 am

Jim: Sorry to tell you this, but Tom Pedler died on April 27, 2002. There was a memorial to him printed in the program for the James Bond festival held at the Loew’s Jersey in May 2002.