Memories of the Forest Theater

posted by CSWalczak on November 16, 2009 at 5:39 am

WEST HAVEN, CT — Closed and virtually abandoned for several years, the Forest Theater will probably soon be demolished as the property has been sold to a developer. In a recent article, writer Randall Beach reminisces with the former operator.

I recall the warm presence of Irene and Tony Terrazano, Richard Mallette Jr.’s grandparents, who worked alongside him when he came aboard full-time in the Forest’s final decades. In 1990, Tony Terrazano told me he had begun working there in 1942, three years after it screened its first film, “Honeymoon in Bali.”

In 1945, Terrazano got a chance to buy the theater. He went for it and spent the rest of his working life there. He died in 1999; Irene died in 2002.

Mallette kept the marquee glowing for a time after their deaths. He was assisted by various relatives part-time but he worked seven days a week except for an occasional Wednesday: booking the films, overseeing the projector, selling candy and soda pop and taking the ticket money as well as handling maintenance and repairs. He even opened an ice cream shop next door.

Read more in the New Haven Register.

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