Monticello Theatre

80 Monticello Avenue,
Jersey City, NJ 07304

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Monticello Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Open since at least 8/1/1923 when a Wurlitzer organ (opus 644) was installed. This theatre is listed as open in the 1951 Film Daily Yearbook.

Any additional information on this theatre would be greatly appreciated.

Contributed by tc

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

Bwayniteowl
Bwayniteowl on July 13, 2006 at 7:35 am

Formerly home to Miracle Temple Pentecostal Church.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 30, 2008 at 2:03 pm

This was being advertised in 1929 as the Fox Monticello, which would explain the later affiliation with the Skouras circuit. However, the Monticello might have had another owner prior to Fox, which took over many “independent” theatres circa 1928-29. Skouras was formed to take over many of the Fox theatres when Fox went bankrupt at the onset of the Depression.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 2, 2008 at 8:26 am

Here’s a rare view of the Monticello’s marquee, copied from a February, 1935 trade journal: www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/jcmonticello.jpg

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on May 19, 2008 at 7:50 am

Here’s a new link to a 1935 view of the marquee:
View link

RickB
RickB on April 18, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Theater as church in the 1980s, here and here.

spectrum
spectrum on March 24, 2010 at 3:37 pm

From the google street photos, it has quite an impressive widefront facade of fancy red brick and white stone. as of 3/24/10 is still a church, the bricks have all been cleaned – it looks obviously renovated. Windows in the auditorium area – they may have done major remodeling in the auditorium. Looks like a bad neighborhood – the doors along the front have roll-down corrugated gates. It is still home to Miracle Temple Pentacostal Church – at least they were having recitals there in 2009.

teecee
teecee on January 23, 2011 at 6:06 pm

“Jersey City: In Vintage Postcards”, page 92, has an old postcard image. States that theater was built ca 1910 and became a church in ca 1960.

skin4ever
skin4ever on March 26, 2011 at 11:31 pm

In between being a legit theatre and a church it was an adult theatre. It was billed as “Jersey City’s most unusal theatre.” That started an uproar. The Catholic Church’s Legion of Decency went into action with pickets outside the theatre. Sermons were devoted to this Sodom and Gomorrah here in Jersey City(kind of ironic on two levels). No one was safe from this menance.
The City at behest of the Church would close it on some violation. It would reopen, be closed again and so on.
Around the corner on Communipauw Ave.was a police station. The two buildings were next to each other. They sometimes park would a police car in front of the theatre (in th bus stop)as an attempt to intimidate future patrons. When the #8 Jackson Ave. bus stopped in front. People would look away for fear of corruption and being turned into salt. Others would sneak a peek at it(myself included as a teen).
It was soft core porn, mild by today’s stndards. The ads in The Hudson Dispatch and The Jersey Journal were tame. No graphic pictures only a silhouette of a female form and some info about the film.
I any event it closed due to harrasement and lack of business. I was never inside since I was too young. Then it was converted to the church in the 80’s.
The area has seen better days. It was at one time a thrieving shopping area. There was also a nice mix of residential housing. The area has had bad times for over 30 years. It is a pity the City does nothing to revive the area. On the other hand, if they did do something; the theatre in all probability would be gone.
It is important that we preserve these gems. They each have a unique personality. They are part of our cinema history.
There was a sister theatre in Newark N.J. about 20 miles away. Same ads etc only a different name and city.
Michael

countup
countup on September 4, 2012 at 1:15 pm

i used to sell newspapers in front of this thhere also in the sixties. it was all closed up by then, and people used to in it to urinate. was a bad nehborhood by then

SilentJoe
SilentJoe on November 13, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Ah, growing up in JC! Certainly confer ALL that skin4ever says. I grew up on Bergen Ave (later Arlington) and, as a child, my dentist was just across the street from the Monticello. However, once in Greenville, I used to go the Fulton as a kid. Anyone remember that place?

Anyway, years later I eventually became a p-t film history teacher and lecturer. When teaching at Montclair, I used to bring the students to THE Stanley. That would give them a real sense of what theaters really looked like ‘back in the day.’

Of course, that place was also changed into a church. however, the structure MUST (due to historical preservation reason) be kept intact! so, if you ever want to see a super movie palace – Italian Grotto setting with a sky, stars, and MOVING clouds one needs to head to that place. it is a Jehovah’s temple at this point. So, one needs to listen to the lecture and the Statues are covered, but the grotto look is still there and the sky images are still present.

Now living in NH, nothing really like dear ole' JC Theaters. a few old ones and there is Silent Festival. I don’t run it but do attend!

Bobby Harron, Blanche Sweet, and Lillian Gish would be proud!

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