Cort Theater

32 East Main Street,
Somerville, NJ 08876

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Associated Prudential Theaters Inc., General Cinema Corp., United Artists Theater Circuit Inc.

Architects: Maurice D. Sornik

Functions: Retail

Previous Names: Somerset Theater

Nearby Theaters

Cort Theater Somerville, NJ

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 The toy store has since closed and been replaced by another retail establishment.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 .

Contributed by frank richardson

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

stock008 on September 16, 2006 at 5:15 pm

I just came back from the theatre, there is no more 32 east main, it skips from 30 -34-36 the building there is definatly the theatre with a fresh stucco facade and broken down into three stores one a bicycle shop ,another a nail saloon,but if you stand on the court house steps you can see that it was a theatre there at one time.There is even a dance studio in the back. There is very little remnence of the theatre, all gutted out and sub -sub divided- areal shame, by the way im Chris Cort. -great grand son.

kencmcintyre on September 29, 2007 at 8:21 pm

The Cort was part of the Rapf and Ruden Co. in 1963. President was Arthur Rapf. The only other theater in the chain at that time was the Gramercy in New York.

wcardona on October 28, 2010 at 3:42 pm

any one has old pictues of the cort theather soemrville nj?????//

from 1940 1960 or 1976??

wcardona on January 27, 2012 at 8:41 am

to::::Chris Cort. -great grand son,,,do you have any old fotos of the theatre i lived behind the cort went every sat to see movies.

Capitolbob on July 27, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Hi The cort theatre was first called the somerset built in 1922 and had a wurlitzer 2-6 theatre organ opus 521 style 160sp. I have what was left of the organ installed on my organ.Bob.

BAM on March 16, 2016 at 6:39 pm

When this movie house was doing 77 cent double features, the second flick was often Foul Play. It ran for years as the second feature, along with The Big Bus. Loved this place. They also played midnight features, saw Mondo Cane, and Rocky Horror Picture Show. Wet the seats with a water gun.

wcardona on March 16, 2016 at 7:17 pm

anyone has anymore pictures

mustangsally on June 7, 2016 at 1:48 pm

I worked at the Cort in the mid sixties while I attended Somerville High. Between Ronnie and I we could sell tickets, take tickets, sell items from the candy counter, seat people using a flashlight and, when needed, help operate the projector. All for $1.00 an hour. But for those jobs and pay I could not have willingly and freely taken a seat and forever more been absorbed by the “loverly” MY FAIR LADY. Ralph

wcardona on March 12, 2017 at 12:17 pm

anyone has anymore pictures

Guodone on October 5, 2020 at 12:34 pm

I saw Monty Python’s ‘And Now For Something Completely Different’ here on the mid 1970’s. Nice theater.

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