Criterion Theater

32 S. Laurel Street,
Bridgeton, NJ 08302

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Moore's Opera House

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Evening view of Criterion Theater, Bridgeton NJ.

Moore’s Opera House was built in the 1880’s. By 1907 it was operating as a movie theater, renamed Criterion Theater. It was destroyed by fire in 1949. The theater was quickly replaced by the Laurel Theatre, built at the same location in downtown Bridgeton.

Contributed by tc

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

teecee
teecee on June 6, 2005 at 11:55 am

On July 2, 1921, 358 people gathered at this theater to listen to the live radio broadcast of the Dempsey-Carpentier heavyweight bout. This was the largest live radio broadcast audience to date and inspired many people to purchase radios for home use, rather than having to go to a public hall for listening.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 20, 2006 at 3:45 pm

The date of the fire was 6/15/49.

RickB
RickB on April 19, 2011 at 5:41 am

Here is a 2009 newspaper story about the fire. According to the story the theater was built circa the 1880s as Moore’s Opera House. “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” was the last feature shown before the fire.

runusmc
runusmc on November 14, 2021 at 7:01 pm

Per the Facebook group, “Things that aren’t there anymore - South (New) Jersey edition this theater was at 32 South Laurel Street, Bridgeton, NJ. 08302. This Laurel theater was the last theater built in Bridgeton. It showcasted Spanish languaged (sic) films to cater to the farmhands that migrated to the area (to work the crops). In 1979 the theater closed.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 16, 2021 at 2:17 pm

The March 23, 1907 issue of The Moving Picture World had this news about the Criterion Theatre in Bridgeton:

“Here’s another: The success of the moving-picture entertainments in Bridgeton, N. J., have been remarkable, and Manager Moore of the Criterion has determined to make such entertainments a feature of the house. He has purchased a new Powers machine, which is one of the best made, and will have it installed in the theater permanently. He has arranged to secure feature films for all occasions when he presents entertainments and will have many delightful programmes before the season is over. Harry Cowan, the stage manager, is a most successful operator, having had charge of the pictures at the Park last season. He will have the operation of Mr. Moore’s machine.”

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