Proctor’s Theatre in Newark / NJ

On November 22, 1915, Proctor’s Palace opened in downtown Newark. The Building was designed by architect John W. Merrow, the nephew of Proctor theatre circuit owner Frederick F. Proctor.
The Palace was one of the rare double decker theatres, which meant that one auditorium was stacked on top of the other. The lower, street-level auditorium had 2,300 seats and the upper had around 900. The space was among the largest and most open in the area, leading the city to use it as the site of it’s 250th anniversary celebration in 1916.
Very little has been reported about the operation of the upstairs theatre, which was apparently seldom used until the early-1960’s, when it was renovated for the presentation of “foreign” films as the Penthouse Cinema.
But the main theatre, with its cavernous two balconies, was always one of Newark’s leaders, first with vaudeville only and eventually taken over by movies exclusively. When all of F.F. Proctor’s theatres were acquired by Radio Keith Orpheum, it became known as RKO Proctor’s. The theatre eventually fell victim to the urban decline of Newark and to RKO’s merger with Stanley-Warner, which operated the nearby and larger Branford Theatre. The new management decided to close Proctor’s Theatre in 1968, and it has been standing more or less derelict ever since, prone to slow decay. The lobby has been renovated though and is currently used as a shoe store.
The photos shown in this post are actually from 2010 already. Once again, I had the pleasure to be introduced to this little treasure by Matt Lambros of

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