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I didn’t know it changed hands. Why would AMC buy the theatre if it will be torn down and rebuilt?
I remember 1977. I was 12 years old and even at that age my friend and I would refer to it as “the route 4 Stanley Warner”. We’d cut school and go there to see Star Wars all day long. The ushers rarely threw us out between showings. I’m from Garfield, NJ. We’d hop on a bus early in the morning on Midland Avenue in front of “The Garden State Farms” in Saddle Brook, NJ to get to the Garden State Plaza. Before the movies started we’d always eat at “Rustlers Steak House”. My friend Nicky would order me “The Westerner” and pay for it because I had no money and he, somehow, always did. Come to think of it, he’d always pay for my movie ticket to. I think he found his parents “cookie jar” where they stashed their change, anywho, after we ate we’d walk over to the theatres from the Plaza.
I have a “Boxoffice/Modern theatre” magazine from 1966. It introduces the “New Stanley Warner Route 4 Theatre as a 1,908-seat entertainment center of modern design. it is also reported as the firm’s first "highway oriented” theatre in New Jersey.
The magazine goes on to say that the “new” theatre is located on busy route 4, in the center of a landscaped 1,000-car parking area. so as to afford an imposing view from the highway. Adjacent to the Bergen Mall. the Garden State Plaza and other large retail units, it is termed as an “integral part of the world’s largest shopping complex.”
Opened in October, the 50-foot-high structure was designed by architect Drew Eberson and blends various masses and areas into an unusual treatment. The side walls of the main building are sculptured block. The front facade is dominated by a huge lighted panel that embodies the theatre name and the attraction letters. The effect is to provide a brightly-lighted landmark easily spotted by the highway traffic.
The entrance lobby has a lace-like grille effect. Large expanses of glass wall incorporate seven pairs of entrance doors that create an airy indoor-outdoor feeling and allow a full view from the exterior into the massive, colorful lobby.
The lobby and foyers, as well as the theatre front, are faced with marble. The 50-foot-high lobby walls are decorated with modern dramatic sculpturings and reliefs by the Italian sculptor, Francis Bevelacqua. The wall covering is plastic gold.
The main feature of the lobby- and an innovation among New Jersey theatres- is the Otis escalator that transports patrons to the mezzanine-balcony levels. The escalator is push-buttoned controlled to reverse downward during show breaks. The escalator’s side rail is of glass, thereby giving the installation a light transparent treatment rather than a heavy, ponderous rail of the traditional escalator.
The general decorative color scheme is red, gold and white. The carpeting-in red, gold and black by Alexander Smith-is in original design made exclusively for Stanley Warner Theatres. The seats are red and by American Seating. they have foam padded seats. Over-stuffed spring-back type seats are in loge and balcony.
There’s so much more in this magazine to type and 7 GREAT pictures! The following is a listing of theatre credits:
Architect: Drew Eberson
Carpeting: Alexander Smith
Public Address Amplifiers: Bogen
Seats: American Seating
Tape Recorder: Ampex
If you ever get a chance to get this magazine, it’s the January 17, 1966 New England Edition!!!
WOW! My fingers are tired. I’m not a good typist. Hope you enjoyed the reading. Like I said, there’s so much more on this theatre in this mag.