Oritani Theatre

300 Main Street,
Hackensack, NJ 07601

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Fox Theatre exterior and the nearby Oritani Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Oritani Theatre first opened in 1926 and was designed by architect William Lehman. Named for a local and long deceased Indian chief, the theatre had a single floor auditorium, the ceiling of which sported a tent-like dome made from fireproof fabric.

For most of its life, the Oritani Theatre was operated by Stanley-Warner as Hackensack’s main rival to the larger Fox Theatre, which was directly across the street. Twinned in the mid-1970s, it was then tripled before the Oritani Theatre closed in 1983, by which time it was part of the merged RKO-Stanley Warner-Century Theatres company.

The auditoriun was demolished in 1985, leving the front section of the building and its foyer in retail use.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

Mickie on January 15, 2006 at 7:36 am

I too often took a bus from Hasbrouck Hgts to the Oritani.The Fox theatre was across the street but I went to the Oritani more often. Had my first date and kiss there as a young girl. Saw “Rock Around the Clock” with Bill Haley.I remember the big lush red velvet curtains. It was always exciting to see the lights go down and the curtains begin to open. So many cartoons and newsreels.So many memories. Ironically, we moved to Paramus and I met Ken Tashian. We are friends to this day and he’s still romancing the ladies. A little hard to do in today’s theatre complexes. They are so cold & ugly.

Formerly of Hasbrouck Hgts. & Paramus NJ
Now living in Los Angeles
posted by Michele See Simon on 1-14-06

teecee on March 10, 2006 at 7:13 pm

A Wurlitzer organ, opus 1906, was installed in this theatre on 7/16/1928.

hotwaterbottle on April 25, 2006 at 4:12 pm

I was only in the Oritani twice, once to see the double feature of Blacula/Dr. Phibes Rises Again, and to see the original Halloween. By this time it was cut up into 3 theatres but judging from what I can remember of the place, it probably was a huge cave inside back in the day. Frankenstein (1931), The Maltese Falcon and other classics played here, too. By the time the theatre closed for good, they were showing a lot of exploitation and blaxploitation films.

RobertR on September 18, 2006 at 6:06 pm

The top has to be changed here to triplex.

RAINBOWWAVES on December 3, 2006 at 1:14 pm

I am from Hackensack. I went to the movies every Sat. Those 2 movie houses were sooooooooo special and a big part of my childhood..i am 59 and moved her to Port Saint Lucie, Fl 5 yrs ago..

mdvoskin on November 13, 2009 at 11:58 am

The Oritani Theatre in 1967 Playing You Only Live Twice

mdvoskin on November 13, 2009 at 12:20 pm

One warm summer night in 1978, I was hanging out in the office of The Oritani with a friend who was the relief manager. For years the only part of the marquee that lit up was the back lit side panels announcing the current movies. I mentioned this to him, and he told me that it all worked, they were just under orders not to turn it on to save money on electricity. He opened the breaker box and though some switches, we walked out onto the street, an it was a spectacular site. All the flashing neon and sequencing bulbs in the letters were flashing. It lit up main street for blocks in either direction. I wish I had a camera that night, it was probably the last time the marquee was ever turned totally on.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on November 12, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Even in 1978 they were trying to save a buck.good story.

mdvoskin on September 17, 2011 at 11:35 am

A belated Happy Birthday to the Oritani. If it had survived, it would have been 85 years old back on May 6, 2011.

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