Proctors Palace Theater 1915-1968

On November 22, 1915 , Proctor’s Palace Theater opened in downtown Newark. There are two theaters housed in the building, a rare “double decker” theater. Designed by John W. Merrow, a nephew of Frederick Proctor, the theater’s builder and owner, the eight story complex had a large 2,300 seat theater at the ground level and smaller theater of 900 seats occupied the top four stories.

The upstairs theater, of which, I could find very little information, was renovated in the early-1960’s and was called the “Penthouse Theater”. They specialized “foreign” films and continued to do so until the larger theater was closed  .

The main theater, with its two huge balconies, was always one of Newark’s leading theaters, first as a venue for vaudeville and later exclusively showing movies. When RKO , a/k/a Radio Keith Orpheum purchased all of F.F. Proctor’s theaters, it became RKO Proctor’s Theater. When RKO merged with Stanley-Warner, which operated the nearby  and larger Branford Theater , the new management decided to close the Proctor’s. That was in 1968. The theater has been unused since then.

The paper fan shown here was given away to advertise the theater. On one side is a charming depiction of a group of children and a pony. The other side shows rare interior views of the theater and makes it known to the public that the theater is open all img_5405summer and is a “cool place during the hot days”. Imagine, what an  enticement that was when  most homes did not even have an electric fan !! For an item made from thin cardboard, it is amazing that it has survived for so many years in like new condition.img_5404

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