Chancellor Theater

750 Chancellor Avenue,
Irvington, NJ 07111

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Chancellor Theater

A neighborhood house originally operated by RKO, there was constant trouble with poor acoustics. Taken over in the early-1950’s by Eddie Steinberg who solved the sound problems and corrected some poor sight-lines, the Chancellor Theater remained successful well into the 1970’s when changing demographics and booking policies spelled the end of a great theater.

Now demolished, the theater served a brief spell as a porno house before closing for good.

Contributed by jim thatcher

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

DavidMorgan on July 7, 2005 at 6:09 pm

In the mid-‘70s the condition of the building was poor – i.e., peeling walls, and a faintly dim light bulb in the center of the ceiling that remained on throughout the film, which illuminated the fading surroundings just enough to be disconcerting. Once when I was riding in a car with my older brother and a friend of his I started complaining about the Chancellor, the mice underfoot, etc. My brother nudged me and sternly said, “His dad owns it!” But his friend laughed it off, as if saying, “None of this is news to me!”

izzy272 on July 27, 2005 at 3:02 am

My Father says that he use to see live shows there in the late 40’s early 50’s.It is my understanding that it was the Rex. One of the stars of the show was a young Jerry Lewis.
Here is a link to a photo
View link

asadsack on January 18, 2006 at 3:54 pm

I grew up in Hillside close by the Irvington border and in addition to the Mayfair in Hillside, I went to the Sanford, Castle and Chancellor theaters in Irvington. I remember seeing “Goldfinger”,
“Fail Safe”, and “A Shot In The Dark” with Peter Sellers. The last
pic I ever saw at the Chancellor was “Last Tango In Paris”. I was a
senior in high school and a bunch of us went to see it. We all thought it was the biggest piece of crap we had ever seen.
The thing I remember about the Chancellor was that it was always closed during the summer—I don’t think it was air-conditioned.
Strange place.

Jerseygirl4159 on February 20, 2006 at 5:37 am

I grew up in Irvington and graduated from IHS in 1977. As far back as I can remember, the Chancellor was always a dump. I grew up on the other side of town, so is was easier for me to just walk to the Sanford or to the Castle. I’m sure the reason Jerry Lewis was featured there was because he lived above the Roxy Drug Store which was a few storefronts down on the corner of Chancellor and Union Avenues. I left Irvington in 1983 and couldn’t tell you whether the Chancellor was still in operation at that time or not. I do not recall it being a porno theater. The only porno theater I remember in Irvington was at the base of Irvington center past the Dairy Queen and was called The Art Theater, which is now a senior citizens building. As “movie guy” stated above, I also remember the Chancellor being closed during the summer.

teecee on March 2, 2006 at 2:46 am

Listed as open in the 1944 FDY as the Rex. Listed in the 1961 FDY as as the Chancellor and part of Triangle-Liggett Theatre Service.

NJtoLACineGuy on April 18, 2006 at 12:52 pm

This was my neighborhood theater and it truly was a dump. I think about 2 people ran the entire operation. And no air conditioning so it was always closed for the summer. Saw a double feature of The Godfather and Bananas and spent nearly 5 hours in The Chancellor’s uncomfortable seats hovering over super sticky floors. Never any problem getting into “R” rated movies as the ticket lady was about 90 and couldn’t see too well.

ALLANF on January 24, 2014 at 11:26 pm

I remember seeing the musical version of Lost Horizon here in 73

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on April 1, 2015 at 3:22 pm

Are we sure it has been demolished? The building at 750 Chancellor Avenue in the Google satellite view looks very much like a theatre on the side of the building, although the front looks like it has had a new facade installed to blend it with the building next door.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 1, 2015 at 7:48 pm

750 Chancellor would be part of the vacant lot at the southwest corner or Chancellor and Union Avenue, just east of Michelle’s Caribbean-American Restaurant, which is at 754 Chancellor.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 1, 2015 at 8:35 pm

This weblog post has a photo of the Chancellor Theatre from around 1950.

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