Mindlin's Playhouse

982 Broad Street,
Newark, NJ 07102

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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 19th, 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.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 22, 2006 at 7:28 am

It is listed in the Film Daily Yearbook;1950 edition as the Carlton Theatre with 420 seats.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 26, 2012 at 5:36 am

Boxoffice predecessor Motion Picture Times published an illustrated two-page article about Michael Mindlin’s new theater in Newark, in its issue of June 3, 1930.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 3, 2013 at 1:39 am

A couple of decent photos of Mindlin’s Playhouse can be seen in the October 25, 1930, issue of Exhibitors Herald-World. The foyer is pictured at the bottom of this page, and the auditorium at the bottom of this page. The captions indicate that the house was designed by Michael and Beatrice Mindlin, the owners of the theater. The Motion Picture Times article I linked to in my previous comment says only that Beatrice Mindlin created the furniture and designed the decorations. I can find nothing else on the Internet indicating that Michael Mindlin was an architect.

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