Saturday, March 23, 2024

Clairidge Theater, Montclair, New Jersey -- March 23, 2024

Motion Picture News, 08-March-1924

The Clairidge Theater ( still operates in Montclair, New Jersey. It now has six screens and is operated as a non-profit. Note that article spells the theater's name incorrectly. 

Modern Theatre Approaching Perfection

Suburban House, Incorporating Many Features,
Held Up as Example

MODERN theaters in the suburbs of large cities or prosperous small cities and towns have become a predominating factor in the advancement of theater design and the popularity of motion pictures themselves. It has been left to these houses, with their detailed attention to complete appointments for the patron's comforts, to interest that part of our potential clientele that have hitherto ignored motion pictures.

To be sure, regardless of the beauty and comfort incorporated in theaters, their drawing power would be practically nil without proper pictures. But the combination of good pictures and fine theaters results in greater patronage and — of paramount importance — higher admissions.

The Claridge theater, Montclair, N. J., offers an excellent illustration, through its many noteworthy features, of the advance in theater construction technique. On this and succeeding pages are shown views of this house.

As has become an accepted practice for the purpose of neutralizing the degree of risk of an investment in theater property alone, the Claridge is the main feature of a very attractive business building. This building comprises high class retail stores and offices.

Mention of the importance of electric signs and marquees as a medium for advertising a theater and its picture attractions has often been made in these columns. The owner and manager of the Claridge, Ernest Hinck, apparently fully appreciated the value of these features. At night the exterior of this theater can be clearly seen from a great distance, dominating all other store fronts for several blocks.

Advantage of location of the theater block built at the V intersection of the two busiest thoroughfares of the town gives the Claridge an entrance on both of these streets. The lobby, 60 feet in width and 350 feet long, extends from entrance to entrance, opening into the theater auditorium at its center.

This wide and spacious lobby, extending through the center of the business block is utilized after the fashion of an arcade, adding greater value to the store space.

While this feature of display space is excellent in this particular instance, it is well to bear in mind that a small lobby cannot be employed in a similar way. Crowding will result from the audience lingering after each show. Also the space used for store display can be of unlimited value to the theater itself for advertising of coming attractions.

The auditorium has a seating capacity of 1,400, there being no balcony.

A mezzanine floor affords an attractive place for lounging and resting, the picture being conveniently viewed from this floor. This unusual design of the mezzanine is shown in a reproduction of the interior on a succeeding page. The direct view permitted of the picture is worthy of consideration for other houses of this type.

The "interior of the Claridge is treated in Adam style architecture, the ornamental work being beautifully decorated in ivory and gold and the dome on the ceiling is treated in polychrome combination of colors. The side walls of the theater are of genuine caen stone imported from France.

The combination as described, and the views shown of this theater, convey an idea of its beauty in design and decoration.

Yet all these features would likely pass with casual observation by the clientele of the house if it were not for the lighting system and its effective control. In bringing forth the beauty of the theater and in securing a pleasing atmosphere, through modified lighting, the Claridge has taken full advantage of this modern art. The lighting control equipment is of the latest design and adequate of complete flexibility of performance of duty as required of it by a theater of this type and size.

The stage is of the concert type, of ample size to permit the presentation of the more elaborate prologues along with full sets.

Realizing the importance of excellent music as a necessary adjunct to the successful presentation of pictures, especial consideration was given this feature. An orchestra pit of sufficient size to accommodate several pieces is available along with a high-class theater organ. The organ installation was studied and carefully planned before the theater was constructed in order that the sound chambers could be positioned to greatest advantage.

The organ has proven an excellent investment as music, particularly organ solos, are exceedingly popular with the theater's clientele. It is of interest to note that good music finds almost universal popularity among motion picture theatre goers, regardless of class.

The projection department of the Claridge gives conclusive proof of its modernization. In this feature, no expense has been spared, the best of equipment being installed throughout. As a safeguard against emergency and as a relief unit, an auxiliary motor generator is available for use at all times.

It is such theaters as the Claridge, along with the finer pictures, that is gradually gaining friends for motion pictures among the most discriminating of people.

William E. Lehman and N. Harris were the architects.

Motion Picture News, 08-March-1924

Motion Picture News, 08-March-1924

Motion Picture News, 08-March-1924

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