Colonial Theater

Beachway Avenue and Carr Avenue,
Keansburg, NJ 07734

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Casino Theater

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This theater had no heating plant, and operated summers only on the beachfront. During its final season, management tried a porno policy that didn’t work, and the theater closed permanently in the late-1980’s.

Contributed by jimmyt

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

teecee on August 19, 2006 at 5:25 am

Listed as the Casino Theatre in the 1944, 1951 & 1956 Film Daily Yearbooks.

teecee on August 20, 2006 at 12:40 pm

The Sound of Music played at the Casino on 8/17/1968:
View link

KGordonMurray on May 10, 2009 at 11:57 pm

Jimmy T’s initial entry is not correct. I was projectionist at the Colonial Theater from 1977-1980. It had heat and was open year-round. The owner at the time was Jim Corbett who also owned the Jackson Cinemas in Jackson, NJ (which is not listed in yet). The Corbetts tried running 7 nights a week year round when they first bought the place. It was overseen by Jim’s son (I believe his name was Skip) who made occasional visits. The second story had living quarters and offices that were unoccupied. I was told at the time that the mayor of Keansburg was once headquartered up there for several years. The building was nestled amongst the attractions of the Keansburg Amusement Park on Beachway which was open during the warm weather. Once the park closed for the season, the theater attendance suffered and the owners went to a Thursday-Sunday policy. It was an ancient and unkempt theater with terrible acoustics and many useless seats that had no cushions. The Corbett’s got their heads caved in on this investment. I once had a $75 payroll check bounce. Mr. Corbett was mortified and took care of it out of his personal account. A very nice man who I believe may have wished he never got involved with the place. I knew every inch of that theater … it was old, deteriorating and smelled. But it was “my theater” and I enjoyed every second of working there! BTW, I took over as projectionist from a man named Val Straub whose son also did occasional fill-in. The co-managers at the time were Jim Woods and John Coffey, two wonderful characters who made working under such crippled circumstances a lot of fun. A small condominium now occupies the site.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 9, 2012 at 5:06 am

Keansburg, by Randall Gabrielan (Google Books preview), has a photo on page 46 showing the Casino Theatre about 1952. It was on the south side of Beachway about mid-block between Highland and Carr Avenues. The caption says that the theater has been demolished.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 9, 2012 at 5:18 am

It is likely, though not a certainty, that the Casino was the theater that was to be part of the project mentioned in this item from The Moving Picture World of January 3, 1914:

“The Keansburg Heights Company is laying out work to be completed before the summer of 1914 for an amusement park, to include dance ball, moving pictures, carosel, swings, park building and broadwalk.”
The earlier comment by KGordonMurray does say that the theater was located in an amusement park, and the Casino Theatre in the photo in the book I linked to earlier certainly looked old enough to have been built in 1914.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 4, 2014 at 12:00 pm

An item mentioning the Casino Theatre in the April 22, 1937, issue of The Film Daily says that it had 600 seats:

“Cocalis Adds 2 Houses

“Sam D. Cocalis has added two new units to his circuit. Both are in Keansburg, N. J. One is the new 1,200-seat house nearing completion. He will probably call it the Alexander. The other theatre is the Casino, seating 600.”

A Red Bank Register article from February 10, 1938, said that Sam Cocalis was operating the Casino and Fowler Theatres in Keansburg. The house he was building in 1937 must have been the Fowler, which we list with 580 seats. It’s possible that the Film Daily article got the capacities reversed, but maybe it was the Yearbook (which was probably our source) that got them backwards. Both theaters have been demolished, so satellite view is no help in determining their sizes.

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