Proctor’s Palace Theatre
The Palace was a double decker theater, which meant that one auditorium was stacked on top of the other, a rare design choice at the time. The lower, street-level auditorium had 2,300 seats and the upper had around 900. The space was among the largest and most open in the area, leading the city to use it as the site of it’s 250th anniversary celebration in 1916.
Originally, the Palace was a vaudeville theater. The theater eventually switched over to exclusively movie showings, but the occasional vaudeville show — such as Bela Lugosi’s“Horror and Magic Show” — still played there.
Shortly before his death in 1929 F.F. Proctor sold his company to Radio-Keith-Orpheum Corporation (“RKO”), and the name of the theater was changed to RKO Proctor’s Theatre.
The Palace was closed in 1968 when RKO merged with Stanley Warner, who owned Newark’s larger and more profitable Branford Theater. The lobby has been renovated and is currently used as a shoe store. The rest of the building remains vacant and after years of neglect has started to collapse.