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Bow-Tie Clairidge Cinemas

486 Bloomfield Avenue,
Montclair, NJ 07042

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Clairidge Theatre 1

The Clairidge Theatre opened as a deluxe movie palace in 1922. All seats were on one level—no balcony, and the house featured a Wurltizer organ (now at the Paramount in Middletown, NY). By 1941 it was operated by Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp. In the 1960’s the Clairidge Theatre became a Cinerama house (there are historic photos in the lobby). Divided into a triplex on May 13, 1983, then eventually a six-plex, the current Clairidge Cinemas is housed in a metal ‘box’ in the original theatre.

In the HVAC room off of the projection booth, I discovered a hatch in the ceiling. After climbing the ladder through the hatch, I was in shock when I saw that the orignal theatre is still almost 100% intact!! There is some damage to the proscenium and organ screens from the metal ‘box’ described above, and someone stole some of the stained glass light fixtures ringing the ceiling dome, but otherwise the theatre is all still there and can be restored in the future!

Contributed by Joe Masher

Recent comments (view all 92 comments)

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on August 10, 2013 at 4:40 pm

I saw Blue Jasmine here last Thursday. I think it was in the biggest of the 6 theaters, and the widescreen projection was just fine. It was also really crowded, especially for a Thursday afternoon. The movie was so good, it deserves to be popular. One sad thing: the framed photos of the Cinerama days that had been hung in the lobby, the ones I got in trouble for rephotographing in 2007, have all been taken down. At least they can still be seen on this page.

RHETT52
RHETT52 on December 27, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Used to go here alot to see the indies. However, the theater is poorly managed by people with no movie theater experience and run with high schoolers who could care less. They never even shut the doors when the film plays. The theaters are poorly constructed and it’s usually a bad experience. haven’t been there in a decade and will not go back.

John Fink
John Fink on December 27, 2013 at 6:12 pm

The theaters are still awkwardly chopped up but the experience has vastly improved over the years – Clearview remodeled the theaters a few years ago (new seats, carpets, concession stands and restrooms) and Bow Tie has installed digital projection which has been a big improvement (although I haven’t seen a show in theater #4 which had a poorly placed port window that greatly distorted the image – digital projection can correct for keystoning). Over all I enjoy the theater now – the staff is friendly, the place is clean, and they’re the first to show some great movies (although I admit I miss the days when Montclair had 11 art house screens….even if I don’t miss The Screening Zone).

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on May 17, 2015 at 6:26 pm

long before megaplexes started showing indie movies such as AMC, this theater was one of the few in NJ to screen such fare along with the Screening Zone and to a lesser extent, the Bellevue theater. The Wellmont also showed some indie movies before it became a concert hall.

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on June 12, 2017 at 7:31 pm

35 years ago yesterday ET made its debut at this theater.

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on November 16, 2017 at 4:14 pm

This is the only theater left in the montclairs showing movies.

Astyanax
Astyanax on November 18, 2017 at 3:47 pm

Terribly sad about the Bellevue, a state of the art, comfortable venue. A loss to the surrounding community and the movie going experience.

lfreimauer
lfreimauer on November 18, 2017 at 7:29 pm

State of the art theater? When was the last time you were actually there?

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on March 7, 2018 at 12:18 am

Looks like Bellevue might be revived….

rivest266
rivest266 on July 17, 2018 at 11:31 pm

3 screens on May 13th, 1983. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

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