Bergenfield Cinema 5
58 S. Washington Avenue,
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The Palace Theatre opened as a vaudeville house in the early 1920’s, by the Metropolitan Playhouses chain. The theatre was designed in Spanish Baroque style, and eventually switched over to an all-film policy. United Artists took over when they bought the building (and many others) from Associated Prudential Theatres sometime in the 1960’s.
The theatre featured a narrow lobby and wide auditorium with a balcony. One of the original Clearview Cinemas, the theatre was divided into a five-plex in the early 1980’s, with two auditoriums in the balcony (which was extended out toward the stage), two under the balcony, and one in front. The front auditorium was designed in ‘reverse’, meaning the projection booth was built onto the stage and the seats are facing out into the original auditorium, with some seats still on the stage-a mini ‘balcony’, sort of!
In 2001 Clearview installed new screens and digital sound. There are still many of the original designs to see, including the ceiling dome (half in each balcony auditorium) and some trim throughout the theatre. Sadly, the proscenium was mostly destroyed in the ‘plexing. The theatre is heavily involved in the community, and makes for a comfortable night at the movies…
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