U.S. Theatre

284 Main Street,
Paterson, NJ 07505

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The U.S. Theatre was opened prior to 1926. It was listed in 1930 as the United States Theatre with a 2,000 seat capacity and equipped with an RCA sound system.

The U.S. Theatre was still open in 1965.

Contributed by ROBERT NEIL

Recent comments (view all 39 comments)

teecee
teecee on April 6, 2007 at 6:48 am

There is a nice picture of this theatre on page 66 of Images of America: Downtown Paterson.

TomMcAllister
TomMcAllister on April 18, 2007 at 7:56 am

When I was a student at Eastside High School in 1965 I also worked as an usher at the U.S. Theater. It wasn’t much of a job really. It was one of those jobs, like being a waiter or waitress that was exempt from the minimum wage because, like them you were thought to gain much of your income from additional tips. But the days of tipping ushers had passed so we were paid 70 cents per hour to wear a jacket (dark ones in winter and white in summer) and carry a flashlight and tell unruly kids to put their feet down and stop disturbing the girls in front of them.

We would walk into the lobby off Main Street and then open a door there in the lobby to go downstairs to the room where we changed. From there we could follow a long tunnel just under the right aisle all the way to the back of the screen. By this time, this underground passage and the rooms off of it with their dust covered collection of posters and such was the playground of the teenage usher boys but clearly it had served a theatrical purpose in earlier times. I always assumed that those were dressing rooms and I imagined stage magicians disappearing in a puff of smoke and then running through the tunnel to reappear at the back of the crowd.

When I was there the U.S. Theater seemed to be run by the same company as the Fabian while the Majestic played mostly (or exclusively) Spanish language films. The Fabian usually got the bigger films and we often got the teen beach flicks, horror films and such. But when the Beatles movie Help! came out it came to the U.S. and it packed the place for months. The ushers loved that because the music never got old like the scripts of those B-flicks did (I remember Vincent Price and Peter Lorre in The Comedy of Terrors).

Then … the Dave Clark Five, one of the British Invasion bands that followed in the wake of the Beatles and Stones, came to the U.S. theater for a personal appearance to pump up their film Having A Wild Weekend. This was meant to be just a run on stage to show their faces and long hair and to take the mic long enough to say “ ‘ello luvs” and then run off and get in the bus to go to do the same in Passaic and on and on. But at the U.S. Theater something went wrong.

One of the girls who had packed the place and stood on their seats screaming at the top of their lungs had managed to get past the line of police, guards, and ushers to jump up onto the stage and throw her arms around one of the lads (Lenny, the cute one).

Their American manager was on stage with them at the time and he pulled the girl off of poor Lenny but one of the Paterson policemen didn’t like the way he handled it (they were said afterwards to have been getting angry about the overall approach to the job by the similarly dressed security guards who they thought were being too rough with the Paterson girls). Anyway, this cop grabbed the manager guy and one of the band’s security guys tried to hold back the Paterson policeman. That did it. Several cops came to the defense of their fellow officer and … well, I watched as they put this guard up against the screen and hit him several times with what looked like a blackjack.

The band and everyone was delayed from their trip to Passaic while things were taken down to the police station to be straightened out.

Ah … the U.S. Theater … and my teenage years. Both gone.

rhett
rhett on April 20, 2007 at 11:31 pm

anyone have ANY pics of the Plaza Theatre of Paterson?

moviekid
moviekid on April 21, 2007 at 10:12 pm

Rhett39, No photos but did you go to the Plaza? I managed the Plaza for a few years? I understand it’s now some retail store.

moviekid
moviekid on March 9, 2009 at 5:38 am

Hi all who have been involved in the information for the U. S. Theatre, Paterson, New Jersey. I have a long history with this theatre. My father was the manager for many many years and I also worked as an usher. This old movie palace was really my second home. I’ve been trying to locate photos of the U. S. without much success. If all of you feel a bit investigative and would like to help moviekid with some photos, I’d be very apprecitive. As the years fly by, there will be less of us with knowledge of one of Paterson’s fine theatres. Thanks for your help!!! Moviekid

jaz
jaz on April 19, 2009 at 10:57 am

While the Plaza was within walking distance Brooks-Sloate my favorite was the U.S..

My dad knew a Plaza manager(?) named Mosca(?) and we used to get in for free a lot.

I think I remember one Plaza usher. Rich Waywell.
One of my vivid memories was leaving the lit Plaza on dark, wintry, Saturday nights and seeing the news vendors hawing thier piles of Sunday newspapers.

moviekid
moviekid on September 28, 2010 at 5:53 am

Yes, Bill Mosca was my assistant manager at the Plaza Theater

moviekid
moviekid on September 28, 2010 at 5:55 am

We are trying to locate any old photos of the U.S.Theatre, 284 Main Steet, Paterson, New Jersey.

Would love to hear from you because of history with the theatre throughout my entire life until it was taken down to be a parking lot.

moviekid
moviekid on October 5, 2010 at 10:02 am

Are my movie friends from Paterson all napping? Havn’t heard from any of you for a long time. We all have new or old thoughts that may have popped into our minds again about this old grand movie palace, the U.S. Theater, Main Steet, Paterson, NJ. Or any of the other grand movie houses, The Majestic, Rivoli, Regent, State, Orpheum, Garden, Fabian. Imagine, 9 movie houses all within blocks of each other, all playing different distributor films (ie) Paramount, U.A. Fox, etc. and lines out the door each weekend. Those were the days!

lfreimauer
lfreimauer on December 23, 2010 at 8:52 am

Those were the days!

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