Verona Theatre

450 Bloomfield Avenue,
Verona, NJ 07044

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bvjazz on August 10, 2014 at 11:09 am

The Verona Theater was Built by John Geyser in 1947 an operated by his Family until remodeled to its current use as an Office Building in the late 80’s. At Janets 50th High School Reunion we heard in person about those first date and cuddling in the Balcony stories.

headwaiter on July 30, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Chuck – Do you have first hand knowledge of a theatre at 550 Bloomfield Ave called the Century? My memory goes back about 50 years and I don’t remember a theatre called the Century.

headwaiter on July 27, 2012 at 1:10 am

This was a enjoyable neighborhood theatre. Growing up in Glen Ridge and currently living in Montclair – I saw many a movie here at the Verona Theatre. I miss it as well.

Oleksij on September 29, 2010 at 8:03 am

Were these old movie theatres really as wonderful as we remember, or do we just view them through a veil of nostalgia? Well, I think they were. Modern multiplexes are huge, sterile and corporate. Older theatres, certainly the small town ones, even if they were part of a chain, really were community and family oriented. The Verona Theatre was a case in point.

I lived in Verona between 1962 and 1965, between the ages of 5 and 8. The Verona Theatre was the second movie theatre I ever knew, it was the cinema of my childhood. It was a time and place when no one worried about a 6 or 7 year old walking the several blocks to the theatre on their own on a Saturday afternoon. And there was always something to see at the Verona on a Saturday afternoon. I didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back now I do, but the Verona deliberately programmed that long-vanished tradition – the Children’s Matinee. Films such as “First Men in the Moon,” “The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao,” “Atlantis the Lost Continent,” and “The Three Stooges Meet Hercules” were featured on the bill. Stuff that kept a child joyfully entertained throughout an afternoon.

Not that the Verona was beautiful inside. The auditorium walls were coated with heavy brown paint that was chipped and peeling. The lobby was better with off-white wallpaper and a pale green carpet, but there was no refreshment counter. All they had was an ancient soda machine from the 1940s, the kind where (for a dime) you could see a cup drop down and watch the syrup and carbonated water mix before your eyes. (It also had the unique feature of allowing you to mix flavors. I thought I had invented the idea of mixing Coke and cherry flavorings!) The only snacks they sold were small boxes of stick pretzels, also for a dime. These were dispensed by an ancient usher in a maroon jacket with faded gold trim.

Still, the Verona was a cozy place. And as I say, it was community oriented. Every Halloween they would hold a costume contest. The participants would get up on stage and the winner would be determined by audience applause. I participated one year in a Robin costume (as in “Batman and…”) my mother had made me. I lost to a pretty young girl in a cat suit. (Hey, I would have voted for her too.) But does any theatre hold events like these any more? I doubt it.

In 1965, we moved from Verona to the nearby town of Nutley. I didn’t return to the Verona Theatre for a couple of years. When I did, I was astonished and pleased that money had been spent fixing it up. There was now a snack bar in the lobby selling popcorn (in the traditional red & white striped boxes), candy & soda. The auditorium walls had been covered with expensive press-patterned white wall paper. Illumination came from frosted glass flambeaux with rainbow-colored edges. And white, octagonal fountains stood in front of the stage, one on either side. Just inside the right-hand door to the auditorium a little partition blocked the rear row of seats from the aisle. Which meant anyone sitting there couldn’t be seen by most of the audience, making it a great place to snuggle up with a date. There was also a tiny balcony upstairs.

During the late ‘60s and early ‘70s I saw any number of films at the Verona: “Diamonds Are Forever,” “Love Story,” “The Omega Man,” re-releases of “The Green Berets” and “The African Queen.” The last film I ever saw there was Woody Allen’s “Zelig” in the early 1980s. Soon thereafter the Verona Theatre closed and was turned into an office building.

I miss it still.

teecee on August 20, 2006 at 12:44 pm

The Sound of Music played here on 8/21/1968:
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teecee on March 10, 2006 at 6:00 pm

1969 ad (bottom left for The Graduate) courtesy of Bill Huelbig:

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teecee on March 3, 2006 at 4:44 pm

Listed in the 1956 FDY as part of Independent Theater Service, Inc.

teecee on March 2, 2006 at 3:06 am

Listed in the 1961 FDY as part of Triangle-Liggett Theatre Service.

pbubny on December 2, 2005 at 6:43 am

The Verona had a cozy neighborhood-theatre feel to it. The flipside was that you wouldn’t want to see “Lawrence of Arabia” or “Star Wars” here—the screen was not ‘scope width and was not even vertically masked to accommodate a 2.39:1 aspect ratio, so any movies with an aspect ratio wider than 1.85:1 were simply chopped off at the sides.

BarryMonush on April 19, 2005 at 1:25 pm

Note, the name of this theater was the Verona, not the Verone. Also, it did not close in the late 1970s because the only film I ever saw there was Harry and Son which was released in March of 1984. I believe it closed shortly afterwards.

teecee on March 24, 2005 at 7:37 am

Not listed in the 1951 FDY.