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The Surf burned down last night.
Here is a great profile of the Stanley as it exists today:
This theater had a Wurlitzer Organ. Because of its proximity to Thomas Edison’s West Orange laboratories, Edison happened to use it on several occasions to make recordings. If anyone is interested in MP3s of these organ recordings, I can send them. The folks at Edison National Historic site were nice enough to record them for me, including the “never released” recordings.
Let me know exeterxj12c at yahoo dot com
Was that just in a Superbowl commericial for something?
Whoops how did you all find my pictures? We were hiding those pending the publication of an article about the Maplewood Theatre in a local magazine. Steve Weintraub found the 1968 and 1973 pictures for my article (soon to be printed) about the Maplewood Theatre’s interesting past. If you click on here: View link you can see what the interior looks like behind the false walls and dropped ceilings. I went with the long time management team and they were gracious enough to grab me a ladder from the neighboring pizzaria… lift a few ceiling tiles… and grab these pictures using a huge flash. Its pitch black, and completely invisible, until you pull the camera down and see what you found. I know you old school theater buffs would call it a tragedy, but you have to remember how beat and destroyed this place was BEFORE it was triplexed. Now with 5 screens, this theater keeps the downtown vibrant in a way no single screen could (or did). Luckily its mostly still up there, just out of view.
I drove by yesterday. The marquee says “for sale or lease”
If you want to see the inside of the Regal… they are holding one of thier infrequent auction Oct 15th 2006
Well here is one picture from behind a dropped ceiling between two of the smaller screens… I just took this two days ago. I really am looking for period photos… especially the original marquee!
PICTURE LINK: Ceiling
I just moved to Franklin. This theater is a sad little building, in a pretty sad downtown. The whole area is pretty run down. The Regal is definately preserved by neglect, as evidenced by the rusty weathered marquee. The bright side however is the entire area was designated an historic district so there are people working to spruce things up a bit. I moved up here to escape high rents, and I’m sure other people did too… but I figure if this town didn’t take off in the now passing real estate boom, it never will.
I’ve been looking into the Maplewood Theater for several years now, and most of the information I have is in my back pocket until it gels into something worth writing about… and that should be soon. So anyway, the Maplewood, as described the 1927 article above, was designed for both live production and movies… and in 1940-1942 it was a live theatre house. This one article from the New York Times Nov 17 1940 is so funny in how it describes Maplewood, and The Maplewood.
“A Note or Two on a Summer Season That Ran Well Into Fall”
Shuffling among the fallen Autumn leaves on Maplewood’s main street these days, your shoes turn up countless yellowing theatre-ticket stubs. This is a jolt to any one familiar with the folkways of well-heeled suburban towns. Theatre-ticket stubs on streets, the animated chatter of local cops and butcher boys about the theatre go with the shimmering heat of Summer. But here it is November and the Maplewood theatre, started as a Summer stock venture, only a fortnight ago concluded its season. It had twenty-one successful weeks to its credit and the memory lingers on. The town took producer Cheryl Crawford and her theatre unto itself with wholehearted enthusiasm backed up by substantial attendance.
The Maplewood theatre soaked up the very solid substantiality that stands out all over the town. One expensive-looking suburb runs imperceptibly into the next in this New Jersey commuting belt. Streets are wide and wind languidly between rows of landscaped mansions, huge places in French provincial, with towering copper-patina turrets and carefully sagging roofs, in Southern colonial on the grand scale, in English Tudor with mullioned windows, and all the other romantic styles that architects figure out for the best people.
“There are three million people within twenty miles of the theatre,” Cheryl Crawford says, “and most of them have dough.” Besides good bank references, they had enthusiasm for the theatre. What more could a producer ask?
The astonishing thing is that this enthusiasm for the theatre apparently lay more or less dormant until the theatre moved to Maplewood. Miss Crawford had her biggest successes with shows that were hits not so long ago on Broadway. There was plenty of time for everybody in Maplewood to go to New York to see them. Judging from the way the big theatre was filled up night after night—the theatre has 1,411 seats, more than most New York theatres—Miss Crawford concluded that Maplewood doesn’t go to New York for shows as often as one might suppose. In a curtain speech Miss Crawford once very tentatively suggested that she might bring “Abe Lincoln in Illinois” to Maplewood. She was sure everyone had seen it, and said so. A well-bred bedlam broke loose. No, the audience said, it hadn’t seen the play, and please, Miss Crawford, do let’s have it. The plan finally fell through, but the demand was tremendous.
What with countless chummy curtain speeches, talks to Rotarians and Elks and Moose and strawberry festivals, church supper gathering, social clubs, Miss Crawford spread the word personally about her theatre to about 60,000 inhabitants, rich and not so rich. The community knew her as a personality.
Perfect strangers said hello to Miss Crawford on the street and blushed and giggled. She stopped at a cigar store in a near-by town one day to ask the way to the community church, and the clerk said he’d tell her if she’d give him two seats to the show. Letters poured in from people who signed themselves “A Maplewood Theatre Lover” and variations on the theme, and the letters were effusivve with gratitude for having Maplewood pushed onward and upward with arts. In six weeks 10,000 local folk signed little cards saying they wished to have the theatre back next year and asking to be kept in touch with developments.
Having identity as a producer, being known around town as the person who satisfies the appetite for theatre, is an ego-boosting experience that hasn’t happened to New York producers since the days of Belasco, and Miss Crawford frankly relished the role. She was having fun, and she was also making enough money, she said, “to pay a few debts and live comfortably for a year anyhow.” Box-office receipts, of course, did not touch the dizzy figures that gladden the heart of a New York producer with a hit. Neither did they sink to the sickening low that makes a New York producer begin to think about pigeon raising as a career. Maplewood receipts were steady and moderate, cost of production versus box-office take could be figured out pretty closely in advance.
There was a top price of $1.50 for evening performances, and 85 cents for matinees. Besides low prices, local people had the advantae of not having to get dressed up and go to town to see a show. Wives were very grateful for this, and said they could get thier husbands to the theatre much more often that way. Others said that with the theatre so cheap, they could see a real play instead of going to the movies so much. Anybody who can break into the movie habit in the suburbs deserves some kind of an award with palms.
I went two nights ago… If Harvard ever needed more presentation space, I can’t imagine a better theater to restore.
I went for a drive by here. (Ok I lied, I went to UNH to drink beer and meet the freshman girls…) There is an older brick building located at this site housing a now closed restaurant. The building is built on a slight hill, with a front entrance at a probable two foot elevated grade difference from the side exits. The building has no space that clearly defines a stage or fly loft or any other signal that this was a theater. I think the grade difference in the entrances is a pretty clear signal that the “Franklin” still stands.
A recent imagine…
This is a huge improvement! Formerly this building was faced in plywood.
On this site now stands an enourmous liquor store.
The Sandford was designed by the same architect at the Maplewood Theater, having an identical auditorium chandalier and a near identical lobby. The Maplewood has been remodeled beyond recognition but still stands.
Thank you, thank you, thank you Lily
This theater is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Stanley Theater (added 1986 – Building – #86001957)
Also known as “Casa Italiana” Father Vincent Monella Center of Italian Cul
985 S. Orange Ave., Newark
Historic Significance: Event, Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder, or engineer: Grad,Frank, MacEvoy,Warren
Architectural Style: Mission/Spanish Revival
Area of Significance: Entertainment/Recreation, Architecture
Period of Significance: 1925-1949
Historic Function: Recreation And Culture
Historic Sub-function: Theater
Current Function: Recreation And Culture
Current Sub-function: Theater
Yes there was a “Garden Theater” which is now used by http://www.christlifecenter.org/
I’ll add that right now.
The organ from this theater was sold to Jack Sherman of Maplewood NJ. I have no idea what he did with it.
If you have a thing for old neon, the furniture store next door, ROSS, has a sign fit for a marquee. That street really lights up between the two of them. The nearby center of downtown water falls and buildings built on granite stilts in the river make this an interesting place to visit!!!
This postcard is great because it shows the Casino before the addition of the ballroom. The section farthest from you is the casino (changing rooms, bowling alley, whatever) and the section nearest to you with the two towers was the theater/opera house. The ballroom was added next to the theater. Under the ballroom is Funland… with wooden floors and soem really old skeeball machines. Under the theater is the “casino mall” which is a series of very old mechanical games, like steeple chase and a wildwest shoot'em'up. The theater itself has more games, mostly coin operated.
You should go. Fireworks on the beach every wednesday from here till August.
The lobby and marquee of this theater was finally demolished in late May of 2005. An ajoining building, possibly the one Paul Revere and others planned a raid of Fort William and Mary (known to many as the first act of the revolutionary war…) was also torn down. These lots and an ajoining parking lot are to be replaced with condos.
This shows the Empire in 2002, completely shorn of its facade…
This same website about Lewiston laments that “Lewiston, Maine wasn’t always the crack-infested welfare town that it is today. ”
The Castle is missing! It was there, open and operating as a twin, as late as 1994. I went there over this summer and found what appeared to be an old building with a new “Garden State Stucco” exterior. As for what wasn’t destroyed on the inside, I have no idea.
Just found a picture of The Orpheum in its least glamorous form… who would have thought the auto-parts-store conversion would be such an improvement?
I forgot to mention, a life long Exeter resident claims that the basement had a swimming pool. This pool was full of junk and old movie reels. This person also claims to have had sex with the projectionist on the balcony during a film, so I don’t know how accurate this is.