Orient Theatre

654 Ocean Avenue,
Jersey City, NJ 07305

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Rosenblatt-Welt Theaters

Architects: C.H. Ziegler

Functions: Bingo Hall, Community Center, Special Events

Nearby Theaters

Orient Theatre

The Orient Theatre was opened October 7, 1916 with William Russell in “Soul Mates”. Initially it had 700 seats. In September 1923 it was equipped with a Wurlitzer 3 manual organ.. Listed in editions of Film Daily Yearbook thru at least 1957.

On May 28, 1958 it was purchased by a church and became the Parish Hall.

Contributed by tc

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

NannyDeb on September 7, 2009 at 12:25 pm

This is the theatre that is the one I remember was across the street from where my aunt lived on Ocean Avenue. This is the one that she saw Frank Sinatra in and I think Elvis. Boy this was many years ago. This really shows my age!!!!

spectrum on March 24, 2010 at 3:13 pm

The building still exists. From street level photos, it looks like a late 1920s construction – typical neighborhood theatre. The marquee is wrapped with a banner proclaiming “Our Lady of Sorrows Church” with a street number of 654. But there is painted plywood across the entrance with padlocks. Looks like the church has closed down or moved, but the building is still intact, and presumably also the interior.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on August 10, 2013 at 11:52 am

The Rudolph Wurlitzer Company installed a tiny pipe organ, style 108 (3 ranks) opus 700 in the Orient Theatre, in September 1923.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 19, 2014 at 11:17 am

Unless the Orient Theatre operated in more than one location, it existed before the 1920s. This item is from the January 29, 1916, issue of The American Contractor:

“Jersey City, N. J.—Moving Picture Theater: $22,000. 1 sty. Archt. C. H. Ziegler, 75 Montgomery st. Owner Orient Theater Corp.. Wm. A. Higgins, pres., 27 Monticello av. Fdn. started. Gen. contr. let to the Jersey City Constr. Co., 75 Montgomery st.”
The style of the brickwork on the facade of this theater was popular in the 1910s, so I’m inclined to think that Our Lady of Sorrows Church is the movie house built by the Orient Theatre Corp. in 1916. $22,000 would have been adequate for construction of a theater of this size before construction costs rose following the U.S. entry into WWI in 1917.

The October 21, 1916, issue of The New York Dramatic Mirror said that the Orient Theatre in Jersey City had opened on October 7. The new moving picture house was being managed by John E. Moody.

rivest266 on February 7, 2018 at 1:52 pm

October 7th, 1916 grand opening ad in the photo section.

JonLeonard on February 24, 2023 at 6:31 pm

The former Orient Theater (I remember it pretty well, I grew up on Ocean Avenue in the 1950s and my Grandmother lived in a cold-water railroad flat on Armstrong Avenue, between what was then Jackson Avenue and Ocean Avenue) is not actually the Our Lady of Sorrows Church building: that’s a few blocks away, on Clerk Street. On May 28, 1958 the Archbishop of Newark approved the purchase of the Orient Theatre on Ocean Avenue to be renovated as the parish auditorium. It is still used for weekly bingo games and social events. Frank and Nancy Sinatra were married at OLS on February 4, 1939. My grandmother and I used to wait for the Greenville-Lafayette bus at the corner of Ocean and Cleremont, across the street from the OLS auditorium after our Saturday visits to Woolworth’s on Jackson (now MLK Drive) and Cleremont.

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