Hollywood Cinemas

634 Central Avenue,
East Orange, NJ 07018

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Showing 1 - 25 of 30 comments

markp on April 1, 2013 at 10:05 pm

jojo, yes I am. Mark Pus…. should be enough for you to find me. My profile picture is of me threading a projector, mostly upper magazine. I see the paramount and the adams and proctors in Newark when I work at the new arena.

jojo on March 31, 2013 at 12:41 pm

i was with local 644 newark,worked at the paramount on broadway,the guild,and bradford.are you on face book?

markp on March 31, 2013 at 11:10 am

jojo, nice to hear about old union guys from the good old days. Although I am only 54, and have been a projectionist for the past 37 years, I enjoy reading about the days when my father was involved. I joined local 379, Perth Amboy, later 534, and most recently we merged with 21 in Newark. I am in my final days as a projectionist due to all the digital conversions. Its on to stagehand work for me. I will still get occasional reel to reel work at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank. Some of the more notable theatres I worked at were the Menlo Park Twin, Woodbridge Twin, Sayrewoods Theatre, Amboys Multiplex, Old Rahway Theatee, Linden Theatre and the Ritz in Elizabeth. Good old days indeed.

jojo on March 30, 2013 at 3:18 pm

ianz hello nice to hear from you i use to be the projectionist at the ormont and the Hollywood working as a union projectionist i went to many theaters.the Ormont was a converted masonic temple the theater had the first 3 floors.i had to go out the fire escape to get into the projection room it was very small.glad you had your mom to visit some of the old neighborhood i still have many great memories of that time i worked there around 1971-73 peace my friend see ya at the movies ! :)

ianz on March 30, 2013 at 12:26 pm

My only memory of going to see a movie in East Orange was when my Mom and I ventured on the NJ Transit train from Dover.I loved horror movies and the RKO Hollywood was showing “Night Of The Zombies” in late 1983 which theaters in my area passed on.It was an eye opener for my Mom as things had really changed since the days when she worked at Paris In The Sky.My brother had mentioned that Mom had gone to the beautiful Ormont Theater in town back in the day.It was an adventure and unfortunately we were walking so we didn’t get a chance to see the whole city and it would have been a wonderful time for memories to come back and reminisce on.Mom passed away back in 2000 and I miss her and the talks we used to have.These things,like classic ornate theaters are irreplaceable.

John Fink
John Fink on July 28, 2010 at 1:29 pm

The General Cinema you speak of was likely Essex Green (West Orange). I knew it in the 90’s as a triplex. That theater closed and reopened as part of the shopping center in 1997 as a new generation of General Cinema with stadium seating and a cafe. It’s still open and running as an AMC.

I’m guessing Clearview’s 5 screens at SOPAC, as tiny and strangely designed as they are didn’t help the Hollywood either. Essex Green, last I was there is still a popular and well run venue that must have a future if AMC is putting in digital projectors.

jojo on July 13, 2009 at 1:02 am

in the 70s i was one of the projectionist at this theater i also worked at the Verona and the ormont,and the royal theater. those were the days.I remember showing mahogany with diane ross at the hollywood,and i ran the GODFATHER AT THE ROYLE THEATER IN BLOOMFIELD.there WAS ALSO A GENERAL CINEMA THEATER NOT TO FAR FROM THE HOLLYWOOD IF I REMEMBER.WELL THATS ALL I CAN SHARE WITH YOU FOR NOW ANY QUESTIONS PLEASE ASK.

Mansta on October 17, 2007 at 3:36 pm

To Whom It May Concern:

We are very interested in the possible purchase of the Cinema located on Central Avenue, East Orange, NJ – Hollywood Cinema to be exact.

We would like to have a walk-thru of the property.

You may contact me at: 973 444-1430.

Thank you.


Bishop Hilton Rawls, Sr.

chriscma on October 15, 2007 at 12:51 pm

As a lifelong resident of the East Orange area, I had long hoped the vacant Hollywood would reopen. When this finally happened I avoided the first day thinking it wouldbe jammed. Imagine the surprise when I found myself virtually empty when I visited to see King Kong.

Over the next two years, it wouldn’t surprise me if I was the new theater’s most loyal customer. Sadly, through that time, the Hollywood was seldom crowded. Many times, I had private screenings of major hit films. The only true success was the early opening of Dremgirls last year, which did draw good crowds.

Why did it fail? In my opinion, if the same number of people who attended the old theater in the 80s were still here, it would have been okay. I just think there are not as many moviegoers within walking distance as in the past. Others want to go out of town for the change of venue.

It seems ownership had not formed any alliances with local business to promote themselves through store posters or flyers.

Perhaps, instead of 5 screens, they should have started with 3 until demand justified.

Finally, the Hollywood should have opened with a bang. Perhaps a block party with local radio djs, music and a celebrity guest or two, and I don’t mean the mayor.

The closing is a bitter pill for me and I hope the owners reconsider and give it another shot before gutting the building.

Astyanax on October 2, 2007 at 12:13 pm

The closing of the Hollywood is truly a pity. Although the marquee was plain and small, it lit up that corner on Central Ave. and served to welcome shoppers and moviegoers alike to a still elegant block, reminiscent of its past glory. Community leaders should work with the owners to find a way to continue the Hollywood as a movie venue. Trekking to the sterile AMC Essex Green is a poor alternative.

gstabc on September 25, 2007 at 10:57 am

Unfortunate News!

Curtain falls for East Orange multiplex theatre

Hollywood Cinemas had $2 million spruce-up in'05

Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Star-Ledger Staff

Nearly two years after developers pumped an estimated $2 million into renovating and reopening the once famed Hollywood Theatre in East Orange, the renamed Holly wood Cinemas multiplex on Central Avenue is out of business.
In place of listing the films “Resident Evil: Distinction,” “Halloween,” “Rush Hour,” “Shoot ‘Em Up” and “Dragon Wars” that were being shown there through Sunday, only a single word was listed yesterday on the small black and white marquee: “Closed.”
The large glass movie display cases along the Italianate-styled building’s Central Avenue facade were empty, and it was dark inside the ticket booth and lobby.
The movie house’s sudden and unexpected closing — apparently linked to a lack of moviegoers to the 935-seat, five-theater multiplex, just west of South Harrison Street — caught people by surprise.
“The city is saddened to learn of apparent troubles of the theater,” city Administrator Reginald Lewis said.
“In light of the Hollywood’s im portance to the economic vitality of the Central Avenue business district, the mayor (Robert Bowser) and I will meet with the owners this week, to discuss possible op tions.”
Richard Eineger, a spokesman for the company who helped guide the theater’s reopening in December 2005, and who helped the city itself co-sponsor two annual “Walk of Fame” ceremonies that honored living and deceased celebrities who once called East Orange home, referred inquires about the closing to Edmondo Schwartz.
Schwartz, a co-developer and investor in New York City, could not be reached for comment about the fate of the 1925 theater.
Eineger would only confirm that the Hollywood Cinemas’ last day for showing films was Sunday.
The Hollywood made American history on May 16, 1940, when it was the site of the world premier of “Edison the Man,” a biographical film about famed inventor Thomas Edison. Some 5,000 people braved a wind-swept rain storm and converged on the locale that night to catch a glimpse of legendary actor Spencer Tracy and his co-star Rita Johnson, both of whom participated in a red-carpet personal ap pearance there.
When theater-going waned and ticket receipts dropped, the Holly wood Theatre closed for the first time in late 1985 after showing the Arnold Schwarzenegger film, “Commando.
The Hollywood was targeted for a comeback 20 years later, when Schwartz hired demolition crews to gut the theater by removing 1,629 worn and water-damaged seats, the tattered carpeting, dry-rotted draperies, plaster columns, molding, mezzanine-level projection room, inoperable air conditioner, large stage and dressing rooms, and the street-level ticket booth.
The building’s hole-filled roof was replaced and 4,500 tons of new steel beams were installed throughout the structure. A new mezza nine was created to house the theater’s projection room, as well as a 17-foot-wide vestibule, a 100-foot-long lobby and a 24-foot-long concession stand.
Even the building’s red Spanish-tiled roof was spruced up, as was the structure’s ornate dentil- style molding and its pressed-cop per decorative facade.
The theater was reopened amid much fanfare and hopes that it would serve as an anchor to the business strip once known as the "Fifth Avenue of New Jersey.”
“We thought they were doing fairly well,” said Mitchell Williams, the owner of the Debonaire Mens Wear clothing store on Central Avenue, about Hollywood Cinemas.
Williams, who also serves as president of the Central Avenue Special Improvement District (CASID) group, said he was unaware that it had closed.
In fact, members of the Central Avenue Special Improvement District have “been working diligently to see that Central Avenue continues to improve and develop,” Williams said. “That is part of our development strategy. The Holly wood Theatre was really like an anchor to us.
"People could come there to the theater, and walk down the avenue to do some shopping,” Williams said. “I’m really disappointed and surprised that it is closed.”
When contacted by telephone, neither city council chairwoman Quilla Talmadge, who represents the city’s Third Ward and heads up the city’s 10-member governing body, nor Councilman William Holt, a 4th Ward representative, said they knew about the clos ing.
“It’s shocking, especially since it happened without any warning,” Holt said.
Low attendance might have been the problem there, Holt sur mised.
On many week nights, the theater’s small parking lot looked very empty. In recent months, the movie house was only open in the evenings.
“I will see what’s what,” Holt promised. “I hope there is something we can do to get it back open.”
Raymond Scott, president of the East Orange Chamber of Commerce, was equally stunned.
“I had no idea they were closing,” Scott said. “That’s awful. And we were just getting ready to launch a major street facade improvement program along Central Avenue. It (the theater’s closing) is certainly not in keeping with what we have going on in East Orange.”

teecee on May 13, 2006 at 5:51 am

Theater hopes to celebrate old Hollywood roots
Sunday, May 07, 2006
Star-Ledger Staff

Operators of East Orange’s Hollywood Cinemas, where a May 16 celebrity Walk of Fame ceremony is planned, want to spice up the event by finding and showing a reel-to-reel copy of a Spencer Tracy film that had its world premiere there 61 years ago to the day and rare television footage that captured that red-carpet event.

It’s an attempt to match the glitter, glamour, movie magic and excitement featured at the then Hollywood Theatre, where Tracy and co-star Rita Johnson participated in a three-day celebration surrounding the film “Edison the Man,” said Richard Einiger, a theater associate.

“The ‘Edison the Man’ world premiere may well have been one of the first, or the first, televised movie opening,” said Frank Bruno, a former West Orange resident who’s now a television producer and videotape editor living in Santa Clarita, Calif.

The public is invited to attend the 11:30 a.m. Walk of Fame event, at Hollywood Cinemas, 634 Central Ave. If the original film and vintage television coverage from six decades ago are secured, the public will be treated to watch it afterward, Einiger said.

Bruno made that discovery about the world premiere after spotting in the July 31, 2005’s Star-Ledger a photo from May 16, 1940, showing throngs of people, police and musicians waiting outside Hollywood Theatre in a rainstorm to attend the “Edison the Man” premiere.

“I noticed a truck parked on the left side of the theater,” Bruno recalled. “I could not believe that it was an early RCA television mobile unit. I immediately went to my reference books to check it out. And yes. It was.”

Meanwhile, the Walk of Fame ceremony — co-sponsored by Hollywood Cinemas and the city — will salute four living and four deceased entertainers from East Orange.

The living honorees are singer-entertainer Dionne Warwick, actor Derek Luke, musician Slide Hampton and actress-singer Queen Latifah, whose real name is Dana Owens.

The deceased entertainers being paid tribute are blind musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, jazz drummer Cozy Cole, pop/country singer Eddie Rabbitt and jazz musician Walter Davis Jr.

Although the world’s first public television broadcast happened on April 30, 1939, when then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered an address to a small audience at the opening of the New York World’s Fair in Queens, there’s no question that the Garden State was featured in early broadcast television a year later, Bruno said.

From May 14 to 16 in 1940, then fledgling NBC sent a television news crew — to East Orange, Orange and West Orange — to cover a three-day celebration around the life of the famed late inventor Thomas Edison and the “Edison the Man” premiere.

The television archives department at the University of California in Los Angeles has a copy of that NBC coverage, and Robert Grimes, another Hollywood Cinemas associate, is trying to get access to it, Einiger said.

The archival footage from May 14, 1940, shows scenes outside the West Orange Municipal Building, where more than 12,000 people converged on Main Street and Mount Pleasant Avenue to see the unveiling of the world’s largest illuminated photograph — a two-story-high one of Thomas Edison lit by a 55,000-watt ray of light.

The next day’s footage captured glimpses of Tracy, his co-star, then-Gov. A. Harry Moore and local winners of a talent contest connected to the film, attending the charity Edison Premier Ball at the then-Orange Armory, 261 William St., at North Center Street. More than 2,000 people attended that event.

The television footage concluded on May 16, when more than 5,000 people — wearing their finest garb covered by raincoats and carrying umbrellas — converged on the Hollywood Theatre to partake in a glittering and glamorous ceremony that preceded the “Edison the Man” premier.

Braving the heavy downpour that evening, Tracy and Johnson dashed into the then-1,629-seat movie palace to meet and greet those who came to see them and the film.

Television was just in its infancy back then, said Bruno, the West Coast video editor and film buff.

Research on the history of television notes that only about 1,000 well-to-do people, within a 50-mile radius of NBC’s transmitter atop the Empire State Building, even owned one of the very small screen television sets that cost about $600.

Sounds like a great event, especially if they show the original film.

teecee on March 3, 2006 at 4:27 pm

Hollywood Theatre reopening paves city’s walk into a new era
Friday, March 03, 2006
Star-Ledger Staff
It was hailed as the Fifth Avenue of New Jersey, an upscale boulevard lined with elegant restaurants, jewelers, furriers, top retail stores and pricey specialty shops.

Anchoring the strip was the Hollywood Theatre, a plush, 1,629-seat movie palace where Spencer Tracy once walked the red carpet and where people from across Essex County flocked to watch the latest films in style.

For Central Avenue in East Orange, those glory days died long ago. The restaurants became fast-food joints. The fancy shops traded deluxe for discount. And the Hollywood, after a long decline, went dark, its last showing in 1986.

Yesterday, East Orange officials, business leaders and city residents, some old enough to remember Central Avenue’s heyday, celebrated with Academy Awards-style fanfare as the Hollywood officially reopened, bringing a touch of luster back to the faded strip.

Renovated at a cost topping $2.5 million, the new five-screen Hollywood Cinemas represents more than a place to watch movies. To Mayor Robert Bowser, it represents a tangible step in the struggling city’s revitalization.

“It’s a total rebirth for Central Avenue and the rest of the city,” Bowser said.

Raymond L. Scott, president of the East Orange Chamber of Commerce, called the Hollywood’s revival “the most wonderful thing that’s happened in East Orange.”

“It signals our growth in commerce and prosperity for the city,” Scott said. “I just hope our residents, businesses and visitors take time to stop by and watch a good movie here.”

The theater opened for business in December, but yesterday’s ceremony gave those in the community a chance to celebrate the achievement together. About 175 people toured the building and gathered in the movie house’s lobby, its floor covered in Wedgwood blue carpeting, as a three-piece combo played soft jazz.

The theater will soon be complemented by an East Orange Walk of Fame, patterned after the Hollywood Walk of Fame, in which the names of famous entertainers with some connection to East Orange will be engraved on 2-foot squares embedded in the sidewalk.

As if at their own Academy Awards ceremony, three city council members unsealed envelopes before the crowd and announced the Walk of Fame’s first eight inductees, whose engravings will be unveiled at a May 16 ceremony.

They include singer-actress Queen Latifah, singer Dionne Warwick, jazz musician Slide Hampton and actor Derek Luke, who played Antwone Fisher in the film of the same name.

The other inductees, all deceased, are pop-country singer Eddie Rabbitt and jazz greats Cozy Cole, Walter Davis Jr. and Rahsaan Roland Kirk.

The Hollywood owes its rebirth to a group of businessmen led by New York investor Edmondo Schwartz, who said studies showed the potential for a theater in East Orange, a city of 69,000. Before the reopening, the closest theaters were in Newark and West Orange.

“We’re real excited, real excited. It’s been a great reopening,” said Schwartz, whose father owned a chain of RKO theaters in New York and New Jersey. “Everyone who has come to see a movie has reacted so positive.”

One of Schwartz’s partners, Robert Grimes, echoed city officials in saying the theater could spur redevelopment.

“We hope our opening will encourage other business to come into the community,” Grimes said.

Once, that wasn’t a problem. East Orange — and the Hollywood — was a destination. The theater opened in 1925 and thrived for decades, its ornate copper facade and red tile roof marking it as a showplace. Decorative moldings covered the interior walls, and moviegoers sat in cushy maroon seats.

The theater’s biggest moment may have come on May 16, 1940, during the premier of “Edison, the Man,” a motion picture based on the life of inventor Thomas Edison, a one-time resident of West Orange. Spencer Tracy, the movie’s star and Hollywood’s top box office draw at the time, attended the premier with his co-star, Rita Johnson.

By the 1960s, as theater attendance declined across the nation, the Hollywood started its downward spiral. As receipts dropped, maintenance suffered. Twenty years ago, it closed its doors after a showing of “Commando” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The renovated building has 944 seats across its five theaters. It also has digital projectors, plush stadium seating, oversize screens, a new marquee and free on-site parking. Off-duty East Orange police officers provide security.

Staff writer Mark Mueller contributed to this report.

teecee on March 2, 2006 at 3:59 am

Listed as part of RKO-Stanley Warner Theatres, Inc. in the 1976 International Motion Picture Almanac.

teecee on March 2, 2006 at 2:55 am

Listed as a RKO Century Warner Theatre in the 1985 International Motion Picture Almanac.

quadirterek on December 3, 2005 at 7:00 am

Hello everyone!
First I would like to apologize for the typos in my last Blog It has been a hectic Year. The Hollywood Cinemas new projected opening date will be December 9th 2005. We hope you all will patronize our business and enjoy your visit. MANAGEMENT STAFF!!!!

lillia on November 2, 2005 at 1:56 pm

Well, it’s about time. What’s the hold-up Mr House manager?
From the seat installer.

quadirterek on October 31, 2005 at 3:56 pm

Hello all I am the HOuse manager of the New Hollywood Cinemas located at 634-636 Central Ave. The Owners and the management staff would like to apologize for the long awaited opening of this fine theatre which will cater to a host of people and bring enjoyment to the lives of so many. We are in the final stages of completion and should be ready to open on November 11, 2005. We are awaiting a few inspections and finishing up some odds and ends as for as construction is concerned. Most importantly we are dedicated to make sure our customers are safe, comfortable and very well taken care of will they are a guest in our NEW home. And to this we are taking extra precautions to make that EVERYONE has an enjoyable experience. Thank you very much and we do hope that you are a guest at least ounce in our new home……..MANAGEMENT STAFF

mikefi on September 20, 2005 at 9:34 am

I worked as an usher at the Hollywood in 1955/56. Bob Phillips was the manager at of an old vaudiville family who eneded his career at the Essex Green Cinema. Doops, a very exclusive store was on the corner of Central and South Harrison, and the Suburban Diner was west of the theater, now a vacant lot.

There were dressing room backstage along with a board of handles which control the lighting for what was obviously used for live shows.

The screen was changed bu use of sand bags on pulleys to adjust the size from standard to cinemascope.

I was priveledged in that I was permitted to use the Hollywood on Saturday mornings to listen to my LPs on the wonderful sound syste. Benny Goodman held forth with me as the audience.

I learned of the refubishing and drove down to se the marquee. I do remember the old one. Old memories are sometimes more vivid than the new reality. I only hope that the next gerneration of movie goers havememories as sweet as mine. I tend to doubt it but I wish everybody the happiness of the new adventrue.

ashor002 on September 6, 2005 at 7:51 pm

This is a dream come true! Having grown up in East Orange during the 1950s and 1960s I have fond memories of Saturday afternoon double feature matinees for 25 cents at the Hollywood Theatre. It was there that I saw 3-D movies with the 3-D glasses suppied by the theatre. It was there that I attended the Christmas eve shows that featured two movies plus 25 Warner Brothers cartoons. And of course, it was there that as teenagers my sweetheart and I would spend Saturday afternoons “making out” during both movies. First-run movies that I saw there were, REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, BLACKBOARD JUNGLE, WAR OF THE WORLDS, THE BODY SNATCHERS, THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN, THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, THE GIRL CAN’T HELP IT, THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH, and BYE BYE BIRDIE, to name a few. Other great movie theatres in Orange and East Orange were THE EMBASSY, THE PALACE, THE ORMONT, and THE REALTO, all on Main Street, and the STANLEY, on South Orange Avenue. These were great thrills and fun days!
I’m glad to see that the “Hollywood” name has been retained for the new Hollywood Cinemas. As a college professor I will take my communications course students on a field trip to the new Hollywood and seat them in the very auditorium that was the original theatre where I use to go. It’s an important lesson on how communities can restore and preserve their cultural treasures.

teecee on August 19, 2005 at 4:34 am

Lillian: Do you have any photos that you can post here?

lillia on August 18, 2005 at 2:56 pm

I finished installing the seats two weeks ago. The marquee went up wednesday, and the concrete out front will be poured this week. The opening will probably be two weeks from today.
It’s a beautiful theatre with huge screens, wrap-around sound, rocker lounger seats,large concession stand.
enjoy it!!!

teecee on July 31, 2005 at 5:46 am

OPEN. got so excited that I can’t spell anymore

teecee on July 31, 2005 at 5:45 am

Please change status to OPNE!! This theater will reopen on August 7th. Nice 1940 photo of Spencer Tracy / Rita Johnson in the print version of the Star Ledger:

A once-grand theater answers a curtain call
Sunday, July 31, 2005
Star-Ledger Staff
It was a rain-swept night on May 16, 1940, but the bad weather did not stop hundreds of New Jerseyans from converging on East Orange’s Hollywood Theatre to see Oscar-winner Spencer Tracy, his box office co-star Rita Johnson, and other celebrities.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s “Edison the Man,” a biographical film about famed investor Thomas Edison, lured moviegoers to the theater at 634 Central Ave., off South Harrison Street.

It was the film’s world premiere, and the red carpet was rolled out along the busy thoroughfare.

Newspaper ads billed the motion picture event as “the proudest day in the amusement history of New Jersey,” and noted how then-Gov. A. Harry Moore planned to meet and greet “the greatest galaxy of Hollywood personalities, ever, in the East,” at that 1,629-seat film palace.

That spectacular event took place at the height of the era when the silver screen was the most popular entertainment escape.

However, patron interest in movie houses such as the Hollywood Theatre, and many other similar places around the state and nation, began to wane in the 1960s. By the early 1980s, the theater closed.

Now the Hollywood Theatre is making a cinematic comeback.

A week from tomorrow, the new Hollywood Cinemas — following a more than $1.2 million building gutting, and an extensive top-to-bottom and wall-to-wall renovation job — is set to be reborn as a five-screen theater.

Hollywood Cinemas will join the now six-screen Maplewood Theatre building on Maplewood Avenue in Maplewood, as the only two structures — out of 13 original movie houses that existed in the Essex County suburbs of the Oranges, Maplewood and Livingston, during the early 1950s — to survive as movie houses.

New York City investor Edmondo Schwartz, whose father used to be part of a consortium that owned and operated a chain of RKO movie theaters including the Hollywood in the 1970s, said he believes his investment in the Hollywood, and in East Orange, is worthwhile.

“The (area’s) population was really the bottom line,” Schwartz said the other day. “It’s so under-served with theaters. We saw it was the time, especially when we realized that 250,000 people live within three miles of East Orange. It’s tremendous.”

The two closest multiplex theaters are in West Orange and Newark.

Work crews gutted the Hollywood, replacing the theater’s hole-riddled roof, and removed all the old dingy seats, water-damaged plaster, the original stage and dressing rooms.

No remnants of the former theater’s interior remain, other than the original brick walls that are hidden behind draperies and other wall coverings.

“It probably would have been easier to knock down the building and start new, with the amount of steel (4,500 tons) we put into this building, but it came out beautiful, especially the oversized (movie) screens,” Schwartz said.

The five cinemas will seat a total of 944 people, including 27 seats set aside for the handicapped.

Four of the theaters feature stadium seating, with 23-inch-wide chairs, and one theater, in the spot where the Hollywood’s original stage and dressing rooms used to be, is a traditional theater with seating to match.

In preparation for the movie house’s grand reopening, all the sidewalks outside are scheduled to be replaced this week with a sort of Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The excitement, surrounding the Hollywood’s comeback, has been building since renovation began there a year ago.

“We’ve been waiting for this,” said Tristen Wright, 18, a Newfield Street resident who serves as a volunteer on Mayor Robert Bowser’s Youth Council advisory board. “My friends and I like the idea of being able to go to the movies right here in East Orange, as opposed to traveling to Essex Green (in West Orange) or to Newark.”

Hudson Avenue resident David Taylor, 19, agreed, joking that he has lost more than a few dates because female companions have tired of waiting up to 30 minutes to catch a bus to another city just to see a movie.

Young people are not the only ones who are excited about the theater’s rebirth. Older people are hyped up, too.

The area surrounding the Hollywood is packed with high-rise apartment buildings. The reopening of the Hollywood “is a good thing,” said Maudie Nelson, of Oakwood Avenue, who volunteers in Orange City Hall’s Office of Older Adults.

“Anything is an improvement. A lot of people like going to the movies, but we have (had) to travel all the way to Essex Green or downtown Newark on Bergen Street,” Nelson said. “In my building alone, there are 236 apartment units.”

Nelson, who turned 89 on July 12, said she just hopes municipal officials remember senior citizens especially need delayed street lights, at Central Avenue and South Harrison Street in East Orange, and at Central and Oakwood avenues in Orange, as well as pedestrian crossing lanes.

East Orange resident Michael Thompson, 22, of North Clinton Street said his main concern is how safe patrons will be inside the Hollywood Cinemas.

Schwartz said that in response to public safety concerns, closed circuit television cameras are being installed, “and we’re going to have a (city) police presence there.”

Last-minute construction work in and outside the restored movie house, Schwartz said, includes putting the final touches on a more than 43-foot-long concession stand inside the theater’s new lobby, laying down thick navy-blue carpeting with celestial designs, removing all the construction debris from the building’s west side, and creating an on-site 40-space paved parking lot there.

teecee on July 20, 2005 at 10:23 am

Still open in 1977, courtesy of Bill Huelbig:

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