Colonial Theater

247 Wanaque Avenue,
Pompton Lakes, NJ 07442

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Colonial Theater !960's

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Operating since 1913, this theater was twinned in the 1980’s, and showed movies until closing in 1996. It is now home to the Smiling Rhino Theatre. The theatre group occupies the second floor of the theatre, while the former orchestra seating area is now a community center.

Contributed by tc

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

DonLewis on August 19, 2010 at 10:12 pm

From the early 1950s a postcard view of the Colonial Theatre in Pompton Lakes.

ColonialTwinFollies on October 6, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Hi There. I worked at the Colonial Twin back in 1992-1993. I found some old newspaper pages from the Trends, dated Sunday, September 16th 1973, The pages were commemorating the theater’s 6oth anniversary. From the articles printed in that paper, I learned the following interesting facts about the old Colonial Theater:
* It opened September 20, 1913 as Cowdry’s Playhouse, which in addition to “flickers,” catered to mostly stage plays. It also featured stock shows, minstrels, & Vaudville.
* In 1925, the Colonial was the first theater in the East to install the new RCA sound system.
* In 1945, the Colonial was remodeled, with the seating capacity increased from 525 to 1,100 seats.
* Famous boxer Joe Lewis would frequent the Colonial to watch films of his opponents before fights.
* Babe Ruth also frequented the Colonial, according to Harold Alward, the theaters projectionist since 1917.
The Colonial was turned into a twin in the early 1980’s and closed it’s doors in 1996. The last movie to ever play there, was “In and Out” which ironically was shot at the Pompton Lakes High School right behind the theater!!! How’s that for a coincidence???

ColonialTwinFollies on October 6, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Here is a link to some hilarious clips from a video I made with friends while working at the Colonial Twin Theater. Aside from being funny, it is likely the most extensive collection of video footage ever documented of the Colonial Theater since it opened in 1913. The original video was made 80 years after the theater opened, and just three years before the theater closed. Enjoy!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on October 7, 2010 at 7:40 pm

Great idea.Had I had a video camera when I worked in the Business in 70’s and 80’s I certainly would have shot alot of video.Wish we had something like that in those days.You will treasure it for sure.

ColonialTwinFollies on October 15, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Here’s a link to the Colonial Twin Follies channel on YouTube. It includes clips from the episodes I produced. Subscribe if you’d like, because there are plenty more clips to come!

gd14lawn on January 1, 2011 at 11:21 pm

I watched two of the clips and can’t stomach any more. The owner should have hired people who cared.

ColonialTwinFollies on January 2, 2011 at 11:06 am

The owner eventually did!

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on April 1, 2011 at 10:31 am

I saw a fantastic double feature here in the ‘70s: “Forbidden Planet” and “2001: A Space Odyssey”.

ColonialTwinFollies on August 2, 2011 at 6:57 am

This theater is still listed as having two screens and 800 seats. Not true. The fact is, this theater showed it’s last movie back in 1996…15 years ago! It has only one small stage upstairs that now showcases live theater, (The Smiling Rhino Theater). The downstairs theater was totally gutted back in the mid/late 90’s and has since been used as a teen community center. No screens…no movies…The Colonial, no more!

Jef on January 2, 2014 at 1:39 pm

I saw “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at The Colonial back in the mid ‘80s.

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