Empire Theater

Monmouth Street,
Red Bank, NJ 07701

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Obscure and short lived theater which opened on September 20, 1909 and operated until 1920.

Excerpt from a 2000 interview with Daniel Dorn, whose father was a projectionist at the theater:

“You wouldn’t remember the Empire. The Empire was a theater right across from the Savings and Loan place on Monmouth Street; it was this little one story thing, and it was a moving picture theater and vaudeville. He started in the Strand Theater, but then they got him to move to the Empire and operate the projectors and the spotlight there for the stage performances, the vaudeville. The theater had a flat roof, and right along side of the theater was a Sears Roebuck, which had a sharp angled roof. They had about eighteen inches of snow one night, and it was a wet snow, so it clung to the roof. When it thawed, it slid onto the theater and brought the whole thing down. So that was the end of that!”

Contributed by tc

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 6, 2005 at 1:53 pm

The Emprire Theatre, Red Bank, NJ is listed in the 1914/15 edition of American Motion Picture Directory (no street or full address is given). The Lyric and the Majestic are listed as the other two theatres in town at that time

teecee on April 12, 2008 at 6:15 am

Open from at least 1913. Managed by M.E. McNulty, known locally as Mr. Barnum of Red Bank. In addition to showing moving pictures, his vaudeville shows at the Empire featured dancers, magicians and animals. The roof collapsed in January 1920 from heavy snow. The building was ruined and never reopened.

source: Stars of the New Jersey Shore, page 110

Kat_En on April 12, 2016 at 5:39 pm

You may find it interesting that the Empire Theater in Red Bank NJ is mentioned in the January 1911 edition of Moving Picture News on Page 17. The article is as follows: Vaudeville – Chas. W. Ritter, of Red Bank, N.J., has made a flattering success of his moving picture show and has developed into a manager of no small proportions. His Empire Theater at Red Bank is his second venture, he having owned the Bijou, which was recently destroyed by fire. Mr. Ritter has had plans prepared wand will build a terra cotta theater with all the latest safeguards against fire, etc., at Rahway, N.J. and will manage this in connection with his Red Bank house. His shows are up-to-date and only good, clean pictures and acts are given.

50sSNIPES on September 2, 2021 at 1:41 pm

The Empire opened its doors on September 20, 1909 under the management of Frank Evans and Perry Ryan of the borough of Fair Haven who has been in the theater business prior to the Empire opening.

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