Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Old Hoboken: The Fabian

June 24, 2008

Slezak sent me these pictures of the old Fabian Theater. Kinda took my breath away...I had heard of it but had no idea it was like this.

The building was demolished in 1968 to make way for a Shop-Rite supermarket, which was ultimately replaced by a CVS pharmacy and a Barnes and Noble, down on the corner of Newark and Washington Streets.

Slezak tells me the Fabian seated 3500 people. In the 1950's, he says, for 25 cents you could see two feature films the Pathé News, and a few cartoons. If you stayed in your seat you got to see the movies twice.

At the Fabian you also might see stage shows starring Elvis Presley and others. Allen Freed brought rock and roll shows here, and at Halloween, according to Slezak, "scary shows." It was indeed the big time.

Slezak says "This picture was taken in 1928, but it looked the same in the 1950's 60's. 60s...Don't you wish they never destroyed it? PARKING no problem just walk there."

Now I can see why people say Hoboken isn't what it used to be.


Anonymous said...

I guess you envisioned the Fabian as just a movie was as you see A GRAND WORK OF ART...a show piece. If kept would have been a grand theater for the arts...OFF BROADWAY PLAYS...and not just a place to see A LOONY TOON CARTOON...a picture is worth a thousand words.

And just think, it would have been just a short walk from your house.

Mary Lois said...


Anonymous said...

When I was four (1944) my parents allowed me to accompany them on a Saturday night to the FABIAN!!!
It was a grand place.....palace if you were four. I felt like a princess. They would get there early and I would pretend it was my house and walk down the staircase just enjoying being regal!!
It then became a weekly ocurrance. First dinner, usually at the Jade Fountain in Journal Square (my four year old's version of Times Square). Then on the 15 Passaic, back to the Fabian. It was always a double feature and my parents would tell me that "my movie" would come on soon, so just curl up & we'll wake you for your movie. I saw Johnny Fedora & Alice Blue Bonnet if it were yesterday. What a glorious time and I'm so priviledged to have grown up in the Hoboken of the 40s & 50s.
Even today I wear my Hoboken T-shirt with pride.
I came out of the voting booth this past election wearing my shirt and a man going into vote said, "you should be wearing a Teaneck shirt"..........."Nope.... B & R. You just can't take it out of a person." He seemed perplexed. Too bad. AND I've been in Teaneck 38 years........but it ain't home like Hoboken is home.

Anonymous said...

Sort of like the old Saenger in Mobile.

Mary Lois said...

Coach, "sort of" is the operative phrase. The Fabian seated 3,500.

Anonymous said...

ANONYMOUS writes of her childhood at the Fabian...and seeing JOHNNY FEDORA and ALICE BLUE BONNET, a song sung by the Andrews Sisters ...a must-see on Googles.

At the old Fabian, the lobby was a treat, ALL THAT CANDY and POPCORN! And your climb to the balcony felt were seated by an USHER with a flash your seat...thick rugs muffled your footsteps ..THEN THE LIGHTS GO DIM...and the movie starts...the movie screen was large you felt like you were in it!

Going to Journal Square was a treat too. The glory days of Journal Square are gone many places to eat and things to do

THE HUDSON BURLESQUE on 38th street Union City was a treat to for the older crowd...NOW it is a parking lot. We had BOXING TOO and THE ROLLER DERBY...(the Jersey Jolts) That made it to t.v. So growing up in Hoboken was not boring.

Taking a bus to Bayonne to rollerskate at the ARENA was candy for the eyes, ALL THEM GIRLS in them short skirts, rollerskating. I thought I would go blind.

Unknown said...

They also had local beauty contests at the Fabian. I was in the Little Miss Hoboken Contest.

Gregg.K said...

Wow, Does the Fabian bring back tremendous memories. I used to live on Bloomfield street, literally a block away and I used to go nearly every weekend to see the latest Movies. Sure is sad to know it's gone, but just like my long gone Parents, it will always be in my heart.

mary ellen khwaja said...

I remember my grandfather telling me about the grand old days of the Fabian. My mom and her brother and sister said they used to go and see movies for ten cents in the 1930's. Does anyone remember Muller's delicatessen?

Unknown said...

Wow,,Memories of the Fabian. I was born in 1941 in Hoboken and started going to the Fabian Theater before I was five and continued to go as I grew up. I remember my friends and I ran all the way from downtown Jefferson St. to see Bwana Devil in 3D. There were many times that the Fabian had a Cartoon Saturday Matinee with 25 Cartoons one after the other. Us kids lined up on the street waiting for the Fabian to open and get the best seats. Great,Great Times and Memories will be in my Heart Forever!

Jerry said...

I recall the Fabian quite vividly
since I attended High School in
Hoboken from 1955-59. However,
I also have a much earlier recollection of another smaller
movie theatre on the east side
of Washington St. a few blocks
north of the Fabian. Was there
a theatre there or is this memory,
clouded by time, in error. The film was Diablique (in French).

Mary Lois said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

1When I was eight (1962) I lived right near the Fabian. I would go to the Matinee's every Saturday. It was so grand and beautiful. When school would begin in September, they would give out free pencil cases. They would have contests there, too. I won the hula hoop contest. Such great memories.

Unknown said...

Jerry the other theater was the U.S. Theater on, I believe, 6th & Washington. I lived at 404 Washington St, just about half way between the Fabian and the U.S.
Great memories of both.

Unknown said...

Jerry, the other theater was the U.S. Theater on, I believe, 6th & Washington. I lived at 404 Washington (over Diana Biers and Gartners), just about half way between the two. great memories.

jms said...

My father worked here before I was born.