St. James Theatre

300 Cookman Avenue,
Asbury Park, NJ 07712

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MSC77 on December 2, 2023 at 6:44 pm

This venue’s 70mm presentations history is included in the recently-published article “70mm Presentations in Asbury Park: A Chronology of 70mm Large Format Exhibition, 1958-Present”.

Seattleprojectionist on June 20, 2019 at 12:23 am

A very late response to Gilbert Carney’s comment from 2006 about the 35/70 Norelco projectors. Yes, they (and the Ascraft lamps) did go to the King Theater in Seattle which was also a Walter Reade house. They were serial numbers 713 and 714. The King did not last long as a Walter Reade house, after the bankruptcy it sat empty for a time then was operated by General Cinema until 1992. I was projectionist at the King during mid 1980’s

vindanpar on June 19, 2019 at 1:14 pm

Thank you CC. It’s a theater I miss and I was only in it once when I saw a Todd AO print of Hello Dolly in the summer of 70.

A great 70mm roadshow house.I remember an aunt and uncle going to see MFL here and paying the outrageous sum of $4 a ticket. A crazy amount of money to see a movie in ‘65.

GSCrawford on August 2, 2016 at 9:20 am

Going through some old records, I believe that I took the info of the St. James being called The Rosenberg from George Clark, the longtime projectionist there. He was a walking history book, but he could spin a few yarns as well. With the evidence presented above, I officially retract my statements as to the original name of the theatre.

rivest266 on March 22, 2016 at 4:49 pm

June 20th, 1935 grand reopening ad also in photo section.

rivest266 on March 20, 2016 at 1:36 pm

August 22nd, 1917 grand opening ad in photo section.

vindanpar on October 28, 2015 at 9:27 am

Saw Hello Dolly here in July ‘70. Believe it was in Todd AO. Wonderful roadshow theater. Comfortable with large screen. Sat mat and practically empty. No reserved seats and continuous showings. By that time roadshow presentation was just about dead though Dolly was still paying exclusive engagements and would go wide later in the summer.

I do think mezz was 50 cents more than orch or balc. Though I just sat there anyway and usherette didn’t mind.

TheALAN on September 2, 2015 at 11:10 am

Just a clarification on Gary Crawford’s comment (April 17, 2008 at 11:23 am) that the theatre was originally named the Rosenberg Theatre. Again, it never was! It opened as the (Reade) St. James Theatre in 1917 and retaind that name, or a variation, until its demolition in 1974. Please, let’s check the accuracy of our comments. Thanks!

TheALAN on August 31, 2015 at 4:54 pm

Thank’s Hyford for your comment today!

Although Henry Rosenberg built the theater, he had changed the family surname to Reade by the start of World War I, (c.1914). The St. James Theatre didn’t open until 1917.

Since the top of the marquee said Reade, it could be said that the name of the theater was Reade St. James Theatre. But in practicality, Reade was never used as a part of the theater’s name.

And Rosenberg was never a part of its name!

Hyford on August 31, 2015 at 10:55 am

Henry Rosenberg (the father of Walter) built this theater. Rosenberg was the grandson of Oscar Hammerstein I, and uncle of Oscar Hammerstein II. Rosenberg(s) changed their name to Reade at the start of WWI

vindanpar on July 1, 2015 at 9:50 pm

It really is heartbreaking seeing the old postcards of Asbury Park. I vacationed there as a boy with my family in the 60s. It was a very beautiful seaside town with both honky-tonk and class side by side. I don’t think anything like it exists today.

The St James and Mayfair were great theaters. How lucky people were back then to have such wonderful movie theaters to go to after a day at the beach and then a late evening stroll on the boardwalk.

RickB on February 15, 2015 at 2:27 pm

The St. James is the red brick building right next to the Mayfair. Perhaps it never got its own postcard.

TheALAN on February 15, 2015 at 1:50 pm

Hello! Why is the Mayfair Theater pictured on the St. James Theatre site above? It even says Mayfair Theatre, Asbury Park, N.J.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 1, 2011 at 9:57 pm

There’s a source with information that calls into question the claim that this theater was originally called the Rosenberg. Page 89 of “Asbury Park’s Glory Days: The Story of an American Resort,” by Helen-Chantal Pike, says:

“But when the St. James opened, its most noteworthy feature was located on the marquee. The name that topped the sign was Reade, and thereafter the father and his only son would be known, respectively, as Walter Reade Sr. and Walter Reade Jr.”
Also of note is this item in The Moving Picture World of August 5, 1916:
“Rosenberg Interested in Theater.

“Asbury Park.-The St. James Theater Company, Inc., has been formed with Henry Rosenberg, Helen L. Bergen, and Henry Sincer as incorporators. The registered office is at 300 Cookman avenue, and the authorized capital is $100,000.”

I don’t see why the St. James Theater Company would open their new house as the Rosenberg Theatre when Walter Rosenberg had already adopted the surname Reade by the time it opened. Also, in the whole wide Internet, this page of Cinema Treasures is the only place where the name “Rosenberg Theatre” appears. I’m not sure that Cinema Treasures is the most reliable source of information. ;–)

veyoung52 on August 17, 2008 at 10:13 am

The CineMiracle production “Windjammer” did have a short 3-week run here. It opened July 1, 1959 with two shows daily at what was advertised as “popular prices,” one week after the roadshow run of “The Diary of Anne Frank” had ended. According to the Asbury Park “Press,” the installation included a wall-to-wall screen measuring 60 feet across by 25 feet tall, somewhat small for a CineMiracle showing, and full-seven-track sound. Nonetheless, it concluded its run July 22, to be followed by “The Nun’s Story.” Installation of the tri-projector equipment took two days; dismantling only one day.

roxy1927 on June 18, 2008 at 2:27 pm

Summertime and right about now until the 60’s the biggest roadshow movie of the previous autumn season would open here on a reserved seat basis for the tourists.
A day on the beach and then in the evening dinner and 70mm showing of South Pacific, WWS or MFL. Then after the movie a walk on the Boardwalk and maybe a belgian waffle.

GaryCrawford on April 17, 2008 at 2:23 pm

The theatre was originally named the Rosenberg Theatre.

When the 35-70 projectors were installed, a new booth was built over the balcony directly under the original (on stilts in the front of the new booth!) Word has it that the original booth, the floor or other structural matters would not allow the 35-70s to be put in the original booth.

GilbertCarney on May 11, 2006 at 11:52 am

Yes the St. James did have two, Todd-AO 35 70mm projectors in the booth backed by two Ashcraft arc lamps. The house projectionist was a man by the name of George Clark. In the early 70s the projectors where removed and shipped to the Kings theatre in Seattle Washington was the story I was told. The projectors for the Brielle Drive inn where installed in the St. James booth. I was there for the tear out and install of the projectors. The projectors from the Drive inn ran in the St. James till it’s demolition in 74.

teecee on March 24, 2006 at 7:17 pm

Rosebnberg, who later changed his name to Reade, resurfaced the theater with white stucco in the 1930s. It was originally built with brown brick.

teecee on March 24, 2006 at 7:09 pm

Walter Rosenberg paid $200,000 for the construction of this theater.

Asbury Park’s Glory Days, Helen-Chantal Pike (2005), page 89

Patsy on February 2, 2006 at 9:13 am

It was a Thomas Lamb theatre which makes reading about any demolition very hard to accept.

Patsy on February 2, 2006 at 9:12 am

In the book Dean and Me written by Jerry Lewis a St. James Theatre is mentioned and I wonder if it was this theatre?

teecee on November 4, 2005 at 8:31 am

circa 1967 photo with “To Sir With Love” on the marquee:

View link

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 8, 2005 at 12:54 pm

Listed as the St. James Theatre in the 1941 edition of Film Daily Yearbook with a seating capacity of 1,789 (1,818 seats in the 1943 edition of F.D.Y.).