32 East Main Street,
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Architects: Maurice D. Sornik
Previous Names: Somerset Theater
Opened in 1922 as the Somerset Theater. By 1927 it had been renamed Cort Theater. It was located across from the County Courthouse on East Main Street. It was remodeled in 1948 to the plans of architect Maurice D. Sornik. I recall seeing movies here in the 1970’s when they offered two movies for 99 cents and then 2 movies for 77 cents. Although downtown Somerville never became rundown, the nearby Bridgewater Mall Theaters caused this old house to close in the mid-1980’s.
The building has a large backstage area although the auditorium itself was completely gutted when converted into a toy store. The toy store has since closed and been replaced by another retail establishment. The Cort Theater was located a block from the bank in which Lee Van Cleef worked. Somerville (NJ) is Van Cleef’s hometown and presumedly, this is where he went to the movies.
The poster encasements and the terrazzo flooring leading into the former theater are still intact. Also, probably due to town ordinances, the Cort Theater featured a flat marquee (against the facade of the building) rather than the traditional sign hanging over the sidewalk .
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