982 Broad Street,
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Art cinema pioneer Michael Mindlin, who ran the 5th Avenue Playhouse in New York City’s Greenwich Village, branched across the Hudson River with what he advertised as “America’s Wonder Theatre”. Mindlin’s innovations included “free amusements”, such as billiards, ping-pong and ballroom bridge for all patrons. Free coffee and cigarettes were also provided. With a seating capacity of nearly twice that of the 5th Avenue Playhouse, the theatre was aimed more at a mainstream audience.
It opened on April 19, 1930 with the Newark premiere of “Let’s Go Places”, a Fox musical-comedy direct from its engagement at New York City’s eminent Roxy Theatre. The film held for a second week, but required the newly added support of “Mawas, The Man-Killer”, a documentary filmed in the jungles of Borneo. Mindlin’s Playhouse fell victim to the worsening Depression and had a brief life. It was listed as closed by the time of the 1932 Film Daily Year Book. Some later editions suggest that it later re-opened under the new name of Carlton, but had a similarly short existence. The theatre’s location, considerably south of the bustling intersection of Broad and Market Streets, was probably a contributing factor.
More information is needed about the building’s history, and whether it still exists. An internet search shows that the address is currently assigned to Newark Emergency Services For Families.
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