Proctor's Palace Theatre & Lyceum Roof Theatre

116 Market Street


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A modern visit to the Proctor's Palace Theatre by Julia Wertz.

Proctor's Palace Theatre remains in photos by Julia Wertz.

Newspaper Articles

August 29, 1909 - Newark's New Theatre
November 21, 1909 - New Proctor Structure Halted by High Prices
August 5, 1911 - Proctor Theatre in Newark
June 28, 1914 - Where W. H. Connolly Met Death in the New Proctor Theatre

From Jonathan Haeber:

Proctor's Palace Theater, Newark, New Jersey. Opened on November 22, 1915, Proctor’s Palace Theatre in downtown Newark was one of the rare “double decker” theatres. Designed by architect John W. Merrow, the eight-story complex had a large 2,300-seat theatre at ground level and a smaller theatre occupying the top four floors beneath the roof. Very little has been reported about the operation of the upstairs ‘roof garden’ theatre. It was apparently seldom used until the summer of 1961, when it was renovated for the presentation of foreign films as the Penthouse Cinema. The theatre closed in 1968, and it has remained abandoned ever since.

From "The Moving Picture Word Volume 27, January 1 1916"

The interior furnishings are worthy of consideration.  Mr. Proctor has chosen that exquisitely beautiful decorative style known as "the Francois Premier" for the interior embellishment of his new theatre.  Mr. Proctor's chief assistant in the work, J. W. Merrow, has gone to great trouble and expense to see to it that the new Palace theatre is a fine example of that fine old period of blues and gold.

The sidewalls of the main auditorium are draped in panels of rich satin damask, as are also the side walls of the grand entrance to the theater and the first balcony.  There are forty of these panels in all.  The decorative plan of the lobbies the finest genius of the painter, William De Leftwich Dodge, has been used to striking advantage in a series of Murals, probably not surpassed for beauty of coloring or originality of design in any other theater in this country.  The front of the theater building is imposing in its height and solidity.  The structure is ten stories high, with the highest floor eighty-seven feet above the street level.  The exterior of the playhouse is entirely of white glazed terra cotta and marble, with rich-colored tiles extending on each extreme side of the roof.  A series of massive hanging lights run from the third to the tenth story.  An extremely ornamental and capacious marquee extends out over the sidewalk.

The main entrance is exceedingly attractive and striking because of the unique effect produced by its great height (fully forty feet) and the picturesque box office, which occupies the center of the approach.  The woodwork of the box office extends to the top of the main arch of the entrance.  The floors of the lobbies are all in mosaic tile, and the paneled walls in white marble.  Lobby display signs are scattered at intervals about the lobbies.  There are three lobbies, throughout which electric chandeliers and art globes shed a soft light, producing an artistic effect.

Mr. Proctor in his new theater provided carefully for the essential comforts of his patrons.  These include cozy and spacious women's rooms on all floors; smoking and lounging rooms for the men, and mail chutes on all the floors.  Drinking fountains of ornate design are within easy access on all floors.

In the basic construction the use of steel, iron and reinforced concrete has been dominant.  The plot covered by the office building and theater entrance is 33 feet in width by about 120 feet in depth.  The ground in the rear, on which are, elected the main Palace and the roof garden theater extends over 75 feet by 150 feet.   In all practically 16,000 square feet of land have been utilized for the building operation.  The seating capacity of the Palace proper s approximately 2,800, while the roof theater seats about 1,400 more.

The Palace proper consists of an orchestra, entressol and two balconies, and command the attention of the patrons.  The theater is completely cleaned twice daily with huge vacuum cleaners.  Motion pictures and vaudeville form the program at the Palace.   A spacious operator's booth has been installed in the second balcony.  The booth is equipped with all the latest projection equipment and spotlight service.  A capable operator and assistant take care of the booth, which is absolutely fireproof.