Preserving and protecting film history at Loew’s Jersey Theatre

23 09 2011

for the record, this looks nothing like the movie theatre where ZsaZsa Balza had her first job

Fuck 3-D and high-def. I wanna see some films in a movie palace.

In case you’re the kind of girl who didn’t grow up reading The Parade’s Gone By and Lulu Brooks biographies, movie palaces were pretty much the greatest experience a moviegoer could have.

Like Newseums and Mermaid Parades, the name says it all. It’s a palace for movies.

The Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre in Jersey City, NJ is a movie palace built in 1929 for about $2 million (and that price isn’t adjusted for inflation).

It’s full of gold and velvet curtains and crystal chandeliers. Frank Sinatra found his show biz inspiration there, or so the legend goes. Back in the day a ticket bought you admission to a show that featured a full mix of live music, cartoons, news reels, feature length films and more.

Unfortunately, it fell into disrepair over the years. One of the volunteers who helped save it from the wrecking ball gave a telling description when he said stepping into the building felt like stepping into the wreckage of the Titanic.

The theatre is far from its restored glory, but it’s getting there and is spiffed up enough to host movies, weddings and to serve as a stage for some of TLC’s film shoots.

Wanna help shine like it’s 1929? Volunteer. I did recently, and between getting a basement to projection room tour and listening to the organ music fill the great hall, I felt like I was getting more than I put into it.


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