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May  12

Closed For Renovations?

Wellmont_1 If you love the Wellmont, and we do, you may have been surprised to hear that the movie house and the retro theatre experience it delivers (down to the RC Cola) is on hold. The answering machine explains that the theater is closed for renovations.

Truly one of the world's great movie palaces, the Wellmont Theatre has been honored by the Historical Society of Montclair. Originally built in 1922 as a legitimate theatre, it was converted to a motion picture theatre in 1929. Although the theatre has been multiplexed, the historical and irreplaceable decor has been preserved, and the theatre has received many awards. Unlike the box-like theatres constructed today, the workmanship and handicraft that can be seen and enjoyed cannot be duplicated.


What we have heard from several sources, but have not been able to confirm directly is that Steven Plofker has bought the theater and is behind the renovations.

If Steve returns our calls, maybe we'll find out what the renovation plans involve...

Meanwhile. here's a quote from Dick Grabowsky...

"People have told me that theater is absolutely gorgeous on the inside. I'm afraid that what's going to happen is the real estate developer who purchased it might possibly want to destroy those beautiful elements and turn it into apartments or something like that. It would be a real shame if we lost one of the few great theaters we have left in town."

May 12, 2006 in Buzz | Permalink


A great theater in which to see movies. If it's closed, then Montclair has lost a venue for popular culture. No one's going to build anything like it again, after all.

Question, Liz: does Plofker ever return "calls" to him from Baristanet? His sole appearance here that I recall was an attempted bullyragging of our beloved walleroo.

Posted by: cathar | May 12, 2006 2:07:37 PM

I kissed my first boy in that movie theater!

Posted by: hrhppg | May 12, 2006 2:13:48 PM

Cathar --
Deb has gotten him on the phone in the past, but maybe I scare him...

Posted by: Liz | May 12, 2006 2:18:22 PM

hrhppg -- and he would be absolutely flattered that you remembered. Well, maybe not his name, possibly, but at least the venue ...:) Your post just brought back memories of the Pelham Picture House in Westchester. Still there, and still an old-fashioned UniPlex, I believe (they had rattan rockers in the loges when I was a kid). And I remember my first movie kiss, there, also. Here's to you, Ms. [name deleted to protect the innocent; and me].

Posted by: Conan the Grammarian | May 12, 2006 2:35:01 PM

aahhhhh The Wellmont, formerly the Roberts Wellmont.
Many years ago, the front was on Bloomfield Ave. I had my first store opposite it.
Roberts made his $$$$$ showing CANIGULA
24 hrs a day... I remember seeing him stuff cash, lots of cash in a briefcase.

Posted by: JT | May 12, 2006 2:47:33 PM

I remember his name, but this isn't the place to mention it.

Thought here’s an irony - our posts joined by a poster named JT.

JT was the nickname of my first date - part of which took place in the now demolished Hahnes.

Ah, a rainy Friday full of nostalgia.

Posted by: hrhppg | May 12, 2006 2:53:13 PM

It was James Taylor and you are really Carly Simon? Wow.!

Posted by: Conan the Grammarian | May 12, 2006 2:54:43 PM

Plofker's sole visit here involved an attempt to out Ms. Martta and me by using our last names.

Let's hope the apartment rumor is just that. The Wellmont is a beautiful piece of history and an invaluable place to see offbeat films.

But, if you can make lots of money off its destruction, who gives a rat's posterior?

MORE money, must make more, MORE-- (gobbling up town's charm and history)!

Posted by: latebloomer | May 12, 2006 3:03:18 PM

Save the Wellmont from becoming the next late Franklin Theatre.

Or, is the day of the neighborhood movie house an anachronism?

Posted by: Tonoose | May 12, 2006 4:52:28 PM

"is the day of the neighborhood movie house an anachronism?"
With Netflixs, 3 to 5 day rentals, and I read about this VOD box. It costs
some $ 50, "rentals" shoot over the line for like $ 1 or so.
I heard that MI 3 did 48 million the first weekend.. whoa! $48 mill. I also heard that that figure was below expectations.
Movie theatres at least around here are some $ 9 plus, per.

Posted by: JT | May 12, 2006 5:06:33 PM

I trust that Steve P or Dick G are not behind the scene with the 'closing' for renovations at the Welmont.

I'd hate to see the Welmont replaced with a condo?

Posted by: Franklin | May 12, 2006 6:20:19 PM

Didn't Dick G. do away with the Screening Zone and turn it into a tacky Halloween store?

Case of pot calling the kettle rusty. . .

Posted by: latebloomer | May 12, 2006 6:24:11 PM

Just so you know, the Wellmont is in the Town Center Historic District, so the exterior cannot be screwed with by anyone at this point, beyond serious long term litigation, therefore if anyone tries to knock it down they will see the full force of the local ordinance come down on their puny little heads. Interior and use is a different matter, and preserving the large theatre space will be a long, hard fought fight. Lets hope someone with vision wil see that the theatre in its entirely is worth presserving.

Posted by: jmo | May 12, 2006 6:47:45 PM

Now this is one thing cause I could get behind. Even though they always put some undeserving movie in the big theater room and things like Titanic and Harry Potter in the teensy ones downstairs, the Wellmont is still one of my favorite places. And, hi $5 student tickets, free coffee, and FREE SODA AND POPCORN REFILLS?!

Posted by: Meghan | May 12, 2006 8:15:13 PM

Once again, to read Baristanet, you would think that the only two people who live in Montclair are Steve Plofker and Dick Grabowsky. Time to get your heads out of the sand and start meeting some of the other 38,000 people around town.

Posted by: Ug | May 12, 2006 8:23:50 PM

The Wellmont will rise again, Stella!

Posted by: Doug Howard | May 12, 2006 8:50:42 PM

oh if only they used the theatre to bring in some live shows--OutPost in the Burbs enlarged...bring back Passaic's Capitol Theatre--only this time bring it to Montclair---

Posted by: cstarling | May 12, 2006 8:56:23 PM

Once again, to read Baristanet, you would think that the only two people who live in Montclair are Steve Plofker and Dick Grabowsky.

Yes but there aren't 38,000 other historic theatres in town.

"But when you act, the things you do affect us all"

Posted by: echriscopal | May 12, 2006 9:13:25 PM

I am part of the problem because I can't deal with the movies anymore. People are just too darn rude (like the obnoxious woman on the 6:18 train out of Penn today, anybody else happen to witness the spectacle in the first car?)

Posted by: echriscopal | May 12, 2006 9:14:51 PM

in 1974 i saw the marshall tucker band open for the charlie daniels band (the south's gonna do it again) at the capitol and when i got out my car was towed... wasted and tired and i had to go to the impound yard...what a night.

Posted by: Iceman | May 12, 2006 10:08:37 PM


tell us about it!

Posted by: pissant | May 13, 2006 5:59:10 AM

Iceman - that was a CONCERT - sorry about your car though - getting towed or your stereo lifted was always an consideration down there. BUT what a venue. One of my other favs - think it was 75 /75 - 2nd row Lynrd Syknard seats right after Second Helping was released.
My brother did lights down there for a couple of years and boy did i see some good (and not so good ) acts

Posted by: Megan | May 13, 2006 6:55:12 AM

Is this rumor true? When will Steve Pfloker stop? Is anyone else concerned that he is ruining Montclair? I am so sick of this guy.

Posted by: the bystander | May 13, 2006 7:37:37 AM

steve must not have heard the old adage that you don't sh*&& where you sleep.

even dogs intrinsically understand this.

in other words, you don't ruin the thing you love.

do you love montclair steve?

doesn't look like it to me.

Posted by: pissant | May 13, 2006 8:49:12 AM

I've been among 5-6 patrons at the Wellmont on some weeknights. I saw the Perfect Storm upstairs, and was one of 15-20 people in that whole, huge room.

It's a business, and I'm surprised the Wellmont has survived as long as it has. It's not a museum...

Posted by: Paul from OB | May 13, 2006 9:28:57 AM

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