Monticello Theatre

80 Monticello Avenue,
Jersey City, NJ 07304

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 11, 2014 at 3:44 am

The Monticello Theatre was one of the houses discussed in an article about Jersey City’s theater is the January 4, 1919, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“Located in the residential district of Jersey City at Monticello and Communipaw avenue, in the Hill district, we visited the Monticello, 900 seats, in orchestra and balcony. The manager, Harry De G. Robertson, is a man of considerable personality and runs his theatre in good form and has established a strong patronage. Although we happened in during the afternoon there was a comfortable attendance of fine character. The Monticello is not of the most modern architecture and construction, but it has a good organ, projection and courteous attendants.

“Wide Range in Clientele.

“Jersey City has a varied population, more particularly noticeable in the Hill section. It is a ramification of fine residences, tenement sections and small store neighborhoods running into each other. To run a theatre like the Monticello, which caters to the old residents as well as attract the better class of the tenement dwellers, requires the best kind of management. Mr. Robertson is evidently the right man in the right place.”

The March 4, 1916, issue of the same publication had this item:
“Monticello’s Anniversary.

“Managers Harry De G. Robinson and Edward H. Burns of the Monticello theater, Monticello and Harrison avenues, Jersey City, were the recipients of hearty congratulations during the observance of their second anniversary week.”

As the headline says “Monticello’s Anniversary” I’m assuming it was the anniversary of the theater itself and not merely of the management team, which means (leaving some time for delay in publication) the house probably opened in February, 1914.

SilentJoe
SilentJoe on November 13, 2013 at 10:18 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!

countup
countup on September 4, 2012 at 9:15 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

skin4ever
skin4ever on March 27, 2011 at 7:31 am

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

teecee
teecee on January 24, 2011 at 2:06 am

“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.

spectrum
spectrum on March 24, 2010 at 10:37 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.

RickB
RickB on April 18, 2009 at 11:30 pm

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

Bwayniteowl
Bwayniteowl on July 13, 2006 at 3:35 pm

Formerly home to Miracle Temple Pentecostal Church.

teecee
teecee on March 11, 2006 at 1:29 am

1942 ad (see bottom left corner), courtesy of Bill Huelbig:
View link

teecee
teecee on March 2, 2006 at 1:10 pm

Listed in the 1944 FDY. Listed as part of Skouras Theatres Corp. in the 1956 Film Daily Yearbook.