Vintage photos of movie theaters in NJ

Greg Hatala/For NJ Advance Media

Vintage photos of movie theaters in NJ

This week’s slide show is about movie theaters in New Jersey. And, to avoid concerns about omissions, if you don’t see a favorite movie theater of yours from the past, click on the links at the end of the slide show for more galleries; there’s a good chance it’s in one of those.

New Jerseywood?

After all, we have Hollywood and Bollywood. The Garden State should have a similar designation considering how many firsts it contributed to cinema history.

The very first movie of any kind shot on celluloid film was made in 1890 in Thomas Edison’s laboratories in West Orange. One of Edison’s engineers, WKL Dickson, captured images of one of the lab workers moving around in front of a camera; the one-minute film is known as “The Monkeyshines.”

One year later, members of the National Federation of Women’s Clubs were invited to Edison’s labs and were shown a three-second clip of Dickson passing a hat in front of himself, and reaching for it with his other hand – the first screening of a film for the public. Two years after that, “Blacksmith Scene” was given a public exhibition; it’s the earliest known example of actors performing roles in a film.

“The Great Train Robbery” was made in 1903 by Edwin S. Porter, a former Edison Studios cameraman. Filmed at locations in Morris and Essex counties, the 12-minute film is considered the first “feature-length” film and introduced film techniques like cross-cutting scenes and camera movement.

And, of course, the first drive-in movie theater opened on Crescent Boulevard in Camden in 1933. The brainchild of Richard Hollingshead, he originally referred to it as a “Park-In” theater; “drive-in” came to be used more commonly by theatergoers.

Here’s a gallery of photos of movie theaters in New Jersey. And if you have vintage photos you’d like to see in our slide shows, send them in an email to [email protected].

Courtesy of the Camden County Historical Society

The Savar Theater in Camden was one of the first in the nation to have RCA’s new theater speakers … RCA being conveniently located in Camden at the time. It’s shown in 1937.

Courtesy of Kantos Antos

Garfield’s Central Theater was photographed in 1968 while it was showing “The Secret War of Harry Frigg” starring Paul Newman. The theater also hosted live musical acts.

Courtesy of George Gabauer

The Lawrence Drive In was located in Lawrence Township, two miles outside Trenton. It opened in 1949 with a capacity of 850 cars.

Courtesy of the Madison Historical Society

The Liberty Theater in Madison is shown during its rather short life of 12 years. Opening in 1912, it closed in 1924 after the opening of the much larger Madison Cinema.

Courtesy of Steelman Photographics

A photo of the Levoy Theater on High Street in Millville taken in 1930.

Courtesy of Bobby Cole Photo Archives

The Franklin Theater in Nutley is shown in this photo from 1980.

Courtesy of Len Edwards

The Atlantic Theater was built in Atlantic Highlands in 1912; it’s shown in 1946.

Courtesy of Lenny DeBrango

The Embassy Theater on Bergenline Avenue in North Bergen is shown in 1943.

Courtesy of the Egg Harbor City Historical Society

Emil Weiler built the Colonial Theater in Egg Harbor City in 1914; it showed silent movies and also hosted vaudeville acts. It managed to make it into the 1960s before larger theaters drove it out of business.

Courtesy of the New Brunswick Free Public Library

The RKO Albany Theater was located on Albany Street in New Brunswick; it’s shown in 1936.

Courtesy of Daniel Tenace

A rare 1960s photo of the Delsea Drive-In in Vineland before its current restoration.

Courtesy of John Crowley

The Paramount Theater in Newark is shown lit up in 1962. “Days of Wine and Roses” with Jack Lemmon was playing.

Courtesy of Bill Schreitmueller

Reade’s Carlton Theater in West Belmar is shown in 1950 presenting a double-feature of “Conspirator” and “Barricade.”

Courtesy of Margie Silverman

This photo taken in the 1950s shows the Oritani Theater in Hackensack. Built in 1926, the theater closed in 1983.

Courtesy of the Wildwood Historical Society

The Ocean Theater on Hunt’s Pier in Wildwood in 1974, pictured with a showing of “That’s Entertainment.”

Courtesy of Wayne Merritt

An undated photo of the Totowa Drive-In. Located on Route 46, it opened in 1951 and made it into the 1970s.

Courtesy of Haddonfield United

The Little Theater in Haddonfield was located on Kings Highway East and was shown in 1946. It wasn’t THAT little – it could seat 353 patrons.

Courtesy of Peter Van Northwick

Loew’s Route 35 Drive-In is under construction in this photo, shortly before its opening in 1956. Located in Hazlet, it managed to stay in business until 1991.

Courtesy of the Camden County Historical Society

The Collingswood Theater was located on Haddon Avenue and is shown in 1945. It closed in the 1960s.

Courtesy of Kathy Davis

The Laurel Theater in Bridgeton showing “A Place in the Sun” in 1951.

Courtesy of Robert Oberkehr

A circa-1970 photo of the Laurelton Drive-In Theater on Route 88 in Brick.

Courtesy of Denis Jaslow

The CineTONY — named after its owner at the time — shown in this undated photo, was located on Summit Avenue in Union City. It was also known through the years as the Summit Quad Theater and Summit Theatre.

Courtesy of Bill Schreitmueller

The Arlo Theater in East Camden is shown in this photo from 1950.

Greg Hatala/For NJ Advace Media

Vintage photos of classic movie theaters in NJ

Vintage photos of movie theaters in NJ

Vintage photos of NJ movie theaters