486 Bloomfield Avenue,
Montclair, NJ 07042

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Showing 51 - 75 of 117 comments

lfreimauer on October 6, 2011 at 1:20 pm

The small three theater location in Kinnelon now calls itself an “art theater”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 5, 2011 at 10:46 pm

The entry for New York architect Nathan Harris in the 1962 American Architects Directory of the AIA lists “Claridge Theatre & Off Bldg, Montclair, N.J, 22” among his works. The spelling of the theater’s name and the 1922 date don’t match the introduction above, but I’m sure it’s the same theater.

The book Montclair, by Royal F. and Elizabeth Shepard also mentions the Claridge Theatre opened in 1922. Another book, Another book, “Freedom’s child: The Life of a Confederate General’s Black Daughter,” by Carrie Allen McCray, gets the spelling right, and tells of attempts to integrate the Clairidge Theatre in the early 1920s.

Also note that this photo from the collection TC linked to in a comment back in 2006, which shows that the 1923 movie “White Tiger” with Priscilla Dean is listed on the marquee. The Clairidge Theatre was certainly open by 1923, and probably opened in 1922.

It’s amazing how many sources there are using the variant spelling Claridge for this theater, even though that 1923 photo shows that the spelling Clairidge was used on the marquee from the beginning. I found more than a dozen at Google Books, including the AIA Guide and some Motion Picture Almanacs, plus issues of Cue Magazine and New York Magazine, spelling it Claridge.

moviebuff82 on December 30, 2010 at 4:40 pm

I agree larry1. The Clairidge at one time showed the first Pokemon movie due to its sister theater showing other movies in Bellevue. They will often play blockbuster movies rarely at all. Now only if someone makes the first indie movie in digital 3D that would play at this theater would this theater get digital projection just like Bellevue.

lfreimauer on December 30, 2010 at 11:56 am

Trouble is that the AMC just not show as many “indie” films as the Clairidge at any one particular time.

moviebuff82 on December 29, 2010 at 4:14 pm

I agree Mr. Fink. For a better indie experience, go to your local multiplex that offers indie films, like an AMC or Regal, that has decent projection, even if its the best 35mm print or a digital 4k or 2k print.

John Fink
John Fink on December 29, 2010 at 4:12 pm

The Clairidge does occasionally lack attention to details like this, and the way some of the theaters especially #4 has been constructed (very obnoxious keystoning more obvious in flat than scope). #6 used to be the worst, especially since the screen is on a slant providing odd slight-lines, They blocked off an exit and reduced seat out (for fire code) and they seemed to have corrected the majority of its issues. #4, an odd shaped auditorium needs to be upgraded to boothless digital so they can correct the keystoning issues. Another Clearview with unacceptably crappy projection that they didn’t think was necessary to fix in the past 13 years they’ve owned the place.

moviebuff82 on December 29, 2010 at 3:47 pm

You should go to a multiplex like AMC in Rockaway, they turn down the lights when the movie begins and turn them on when the credits roll.

lfreimauer on December 29, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Went to the see the King’s Speech there on Xmas Day and they left the lights on in the theater during the entire film. Highly unusual and annoying.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 29, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Yep,Guys its gone.Glad I managed when UNION projectionists were in the booth.

mark edmunds
mark edmunds on July 12, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Hey movies534 you hit that right! I remember when I was in jr. high school I had my projectionist “learners Permit” and that summer I took the state issued test in Boston everything from wireing up the rectifiers,fuses and the lamp house, set up the carbon rods lace up and go! Passed with flying colors. That fall in school with “what you did on your summer vacation” report was easy, it made for a great report explaining what we do in the booth; changeovers, curtain cue’s, changeover cues, aperture plates/scope lens, what can be shown in both(Pink Panther), sound issues. You get it… the good days. Earned my dues one night with (In Cold Blood)motor on one proj. broke did the entire film on one projector, 30 seconds or less getting the next reel up and running! If you are in the area could you e-mail me, would like local union info.

markp on July 12, 2010 at 12:10 am

I love it when I hear all these horror stories about shoddy projection. When Clearview got rid of the unions in 2004 (myself included) that was the last time you had a chance of seeing the picture come up “in frame” or not half on the floor. Sounds to me like the kids had a scope aperture with a flat lens. But sadly, as mentioned above, the good ol days are gone forever. At least I worked in the business when projectionists were respected, not like today where I’m looked at as a liability.

mark edmunds
mark edmunds on July 11, 2010 at 9:02 pm

What was I thinking? I checked out the Joan Rivers movie today at this poor excuse for a theater. After being hosed for $11.00 to get in and spending $9.00 for soda/raisenettes I proceded to Aud.#5 when I sat down I thought the seat was broke because it goes to the floor and tilts back, after changing seats to find they were all like this I just kept in mine I wasn’t at the Dentist…the screen was dark until the movie started I guess that was better than Verizon commercials? When the film started we heard 30 seconds of blank leader sound before the image hit, and thank God for that BIG framer dial, half the picture was on the floor…heck why set the intermitent sprocket when any kid can spin the dial.(and those old neat pics of the place in better day’s are gone?)

moviebuff82 on July 9, 2009 at 3:21 pm

From what I heard from my dad, he went to the Wellmont to see David Bryne and enjoyed the show….although it’s not great as a rock auditorium when compared with other movie theaters turned venues. As for this theater…it’s past its prime, with the big fish now showing major art house movies (AMC has AMC Select, for example). It’s also the only art house theater left in Montclair, with the two-screen Screening Zone gone. Too bad they don’t have 3-D (Bellevue has it) if there were any 3-D indie or doc movies.

paulpetersen on July 9, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Michael and Bill, how fascinating to put together all the shows and dates! I worked there for all of them! As a matter of fact I used to know the dialogue to most of them after watching them so often! One of my many tasks was to re-stock the candy stand during the first half of the show (before Intermission), and I KNEW exactly when the break was coming in order to alert the candy stand. The renovated booth ( 2nd floor) was manned by 3 projectionists in the early years—-quite a great feat of co-ordination to switch reels all at the same time. Then came, 70mm and it reduced the booth to 1 projectionist—I remember the union complaining like hell, but hey, life moved on as does everything else. Yes, at one point my father was involved in 14 screens in north Jersey. I remember one theater—i think it was the Brook, in Bound Brook, NJ, where they completely refurbished the great Wurlitzer, and opening night there was a concert by SPEBSQUA—a society for the preservation of barbershop quartets—-what a grand palace that was!My father saw the end of what was then the theater business and chased me out—telling me that I should get a good job with a company and maybe I could make $25,000 a year with benefits! He was right..sadly, because I loved the business!

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on July 9, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Thanks, Paulp, for the recollections about your dad. I’m sure he was on duty the day I saw “How the West Was Won” in Cinerama in 1963, one of my most memorable moviegoing experiences ever.

The Wellmont is now open and hopefully thriving as a performing arts center. Those dressing rooms are being used again after all!

Coate on July 9, 2009 at 11:45 am

A complete list of the Clairidge’s Cinerama presentations can be found on this page.

paulpetersen on July 9, 2009 at 11:23 am

My father owned the Clairidge Theater from 1958-59 until his physical demise circa 1995. As a kid I worked there selling programs, popcorn, and working the box office. I’m intimately familiar with the “Old” theater—pre Cinerama, during the renovation, and afterwards. Fortunately, i was not in the area for the demise. The old theater was quite a majestic showplace: dressing roome, orchestra pit, and little know, at the top of the proscenium, there was a trap door/secret hiding place where one could “spy” on the audience! The Cinerama sound system was called “Sound of the Theater”: made by Altec-Lansing, and to a young boy the 6 speakers behind the screen looked like the size of a Holiday Inn. One post mentioned the Wellmont Theater down the street, which my father also owned: yes, it was much larger, and in the back there were 3 stories of dressing rooms, complete with make-up mirrors, sinks, and even a small resting area—I’m sure this was for live performances year ago. The Clairidge, in it’s heyday was the only “hard ticket” theater in NJ. My father was quite a guy—spending his whole life in the movie industry, named to the first NJ State Film Commission. I don’t know where he found the time to be so involved with NJ Film, Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanus Club, NATO ( national asscociation of theater owners, etc. Yes sadly, a time gone by

Astyanax on December 14, 2008 at 8:46 am

Pretty depressing, pretty distressing – feels like seeing movies in a bomb shelter. Last night the theater was packed given some pretty strong product. Staff were polite, but were inexperienced in how to direct the ticket holders. The lobby is stark and offers no distrations while you are waiting. Going through the old photos posted, there have been a good number of marquees at the main entrance, most fairly elaborate. The latest is little more than an illuminated sandwich board. Given the sad state of marquee listings especially at the AMC Loews houses, which refer you to Fandango instead of identifying the features, there’s something to be grateful for.

larry on August 22, 2008 at 2:39 pm

Seeing a picture there reminds me of my old high school basement. Very high prices for such an outdated theater. Unfortunately, there are very few “art” theaters around.

moviebuff82 on May 25, 2008 at 3:45 pm

Try telling that to AMC, which a year ago opened their flagship North Jersey theater in Paramus with two DLP projectors. I saw a showing of Ratatouille at the GS 16, and although the picture was blurry (like all other AMC screens), it was bright and the surround sound was loud and clear as opposed to what Clearview does with a dark picture and so-so surround sound, as was the case with the National Treasure sequel. I haven’t seen a 3d movie at a clearview, but I saw the Nightmare re-release in 3D at Jersey Gardens and the 3D was darker than 2D hence the glasses but that can’t beat IMAX 3D!!!

John Fink
John Fink on May 25, 2008 at 11:20 am

I’m sure Clearview will find a way to screw up digital – projecting on film has only been around for what, like 100+ years – and they still have yet to master that.

rcdt55b on May 25, 2008 at 11:13 am

This is what happens when you have kids and managers running things. This started a long time ago when theaters started getting rid of qualified projectionists. Don’t worry, D-Cinema is just around the corner…HA!!!!!!

rhett on May 25, 2008 at 9:15 am

the last few times I was there have been lousy experiences. I guess I’ve gotten to the point where I really won’t go see a movie there unless it’s something I REALLY want to see. Unfortunately, movies have been getting more lousy with each release (is it just me that feels that?) The Clairidge is not a theater I look forward to going to. Long , slow service at the box office, basement like atmosphere, uncomfortable seating locations…who designed these theaters? it’s outrageous, …projection booth noise- it’s like watching an old home movie on an old movie projector, the projector noise is louder than the movie, high school employees who know nothing about movies -try telling one of them the aspect ratio is wrong- the answer you get will astound you-….managers who, happy they got a job also know nothing about the movie going experience… many times, have I gotten out of my seat to tell someone something isn’t working..

I HATE to say it but I’d rather pay more money for a top of the line theater OR just wait for the DVD to come out and watch it on my high def TV…..the Clairidge is not what it used to be and they lost a customer…

John Fink
John Fink on May 24, 2008 at 10:59 am

It looks like after one week of general admission pricing Clearview has reinstated senior, children and bargain pricing. While I found it groundbreaking, the Clairidge otherwise is an entirely ungroundbreaking theater – sure it shows good movies but the venue itself is finally comfortable with the upgrades they did last year. Still my condolences to anyone who gets stuck in Theater 4 with its distorted views and awkward framing, at a price thats more expensive than AMC Loews Wayne which, while being unpleasant due to the security checks by the Wayne, PD and the crowds, does know how to frame a picture

moviebuff82 on May 18, 2008 at 7:27 pm

or watch it on youtube in bootleg or order it on high-def pay-per-view. This is why the box office is still struggling in the 21st century, especially for indie films like Juno and foriegn flicks. BTW, did clearview eliminate matinee pricing for its other theaters? I hope AMC doesn’t copy this stategy….since they show indie movies during AM Cinema weekends.