Cort Theater

32 East Main Street,
Somerville, NJ 08876

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Cort Theater Somerville, NJ

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Cort Theater was located across from the County Courthouse on East Main Street. I recall seeing movies here in the 1970’s when they offered two movies for 99 cents and then 2 movies for 77 cents. Although downtown Somerville never became rundown, the nearby Bridgewater Mall Theaters caused this old house to close in the mid-1980’s.

The building has a large backstage area although the auditorium itself was completely gutted when converted into a toy store. The toy store has since closed and been replaced by another retail establishment. The Cort Theater was located a block from the bank in which Lee Van Cleef worked. Somerville (NJ) is Van Cleef’s hometown and presumedly, this is where he went to the movies.

The poster encasements and the terrazzo flooring leading into the former theater are still intact. Also, probably due to town ordinances, the Cort Theater featured a flat marquee (against the facade of the building) rather than the traditional sign hanging over the sidewalk .

Contributed by frank richardson

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 20, 2004 at 4:19 pm

I know nothing about the Cort, but the name suggests that it was originally operated by theatrical producer John Cort, who tried, unsuccessfully, in the late 1920s to start a chain of playhouses like his Cort Theatre in Manhattan. The Cort Theatre in Jamaica, Queens, NY, which became a movie house named the Carlton, was one of those attempts…The 1949 Film Daily Year Book gives an address for the Somerville Cort of 32 East Main Street, and a seating capacity of 1,211.

teecee
teecee on August 29, 2005 at 1:44 am

Just desserts: Munch U. team searches out Jersey’s sweet spots

“The Dessert Plate, Somerville

Remember the late, great Cort Theater in Somerville? Lee Van Cleef was most likely a patron; the hard-boiled star of many westerns was born in Somerville. We don’t know about bad and ugly, but you’ll find good cakes, scones and the like in The Dessert Plate, located where the Cort once stood."

Star Ledger 8/26/05
http://thedessertplate.com/

This article implies that the Cort has been demolished. Note the address of the bakery is listed as 34 E Main Street.

teecee
teecee on March 2, 2006 at 3:33 am

Listed in the 1961 FDY as part of Associated Prudential Theatres, Inc.

teecee
teecee on March 2, 2006 at 4:59 am

Listed as part of Rapf & Ruden in the 1956 Film Daily Yearbook.

stock008
stock008 on September 16, 2006 at 2:15 pm

I just came back from the theatre, there is no more 32 east main, it skips from 30 -34-36 the building there is definatly the theatre with a fresh stucco facade and broken down into three stores one a bicycle shop ,another a nail saloon,but if you stand on the court house steps you can see that it was a theatre there at one time.There is even a dance studio in the back. There is very little remnence of the theatre, all gutted out and sub -sub divided- areal shame, by the way im Chris Cort. -great grand son.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 29, 2007 at 5:21 pm

The Cort was part of the Rapf and Ruden Co. in 1963. President was Arthur Rapf. The only other theater in the chain at that time was the Gramercy in New York.

wcardona
wcardona on October 28, 2010 at 12:42 pm

any one has old pictues of the cort theather soemrville nj?????//

from 1940 1960 or 1976??

wcardona
wcardona on January 27, 2012 at 5:41 am

to::::Chris Cort. -great grand son,,,do you have any old fotos of the theatre i lived behind the cort went every sat to see movies.

Capitolbob
Capitolbob on July 27, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Hi The cort theatre was first called the somerset built in 1922 and had a wurlitzer 2-6 theatre organ opus 521 style 160sp. I have what was left of the organ installed on my organ.Bob.

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