Port Washington Cinemas

116 Main Street,
Port Washington, NY 11050

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robboehm
robboehm on May 31, 2014 at 7:50 am

Just recently saw an old Century Theatres ad from 1931. At that time is was part of that chain.

robboehm
robboehm on March 25, 2012 at 3:05 pm

On March 23, 1962 Skouras reopened the Beacon with new decor, seating, screen projection and AC and heating. “All designed to provide the ultimate in motion picture viewing for the discriminating audience!” The opening attraction was “A Majority of One” with Rosalind Russell and Alec Guinness. On March 23, 2012 TCM screened the same movie. Serendipity?

popcornlover11050
popcornlover11050 on September 21, 2010 at 4:32 pm

View link

I know its a different theater but its in the same town and im sure of interest to some.

popcornlover11050
popcornlover11050 on September 21, 2010 at 4:32 pm

View link

I know its a different theater but its in the same town and im sure of interest to some.

robboehm
robboehm on March 13, 2009 at 4:50 pm

And on the subject of changing library links, the one posted by Lost Memory dated 1961 was probably the one showing a new marquee showing the Skouras name being erected which appears on the same site as the two from Warren G. Harris. If you would please do the honors, sir.

robboehm
robboehm on March 13, 2009 at 6:16 am

Well, at least we now have the story of the mountain of metal in front of the theatre. Without the explanation it just looks like junk. This is all the trash they cleaned out of the theatre after the late Saturday night show.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 13, 2009 at 3:58 am

This is another Beacon photo from the same collection: View link

robboehm
robboehm on March 12, 2009 at 4:35 pm

During WWII the people of Port Washington had a scrap metal drive with the slogan “Let’s beat the pans off the Nazis”. A photo of the collection in 1942 in front of the theatre, with the marquee prominently shown is among the photos which are part of the Long Island Memories of the LILRC Digitalization Program -http://207.97.148.182 click on advanced search and indicate Beacon Theatre. I don’t have the techie skill to allow you direct access. This may, possibly, be the same 1942 photo Lost Memory mentions but I can’t pull up either image from the 2007 posting, whether this is temporary or not I don’t know. Usually, I can pick these up.

robboehm
robboehm on February 22, 2009 at 1:27 pm

The two, “alleged” smaller theatres are in former stores. In the older, free standing theatres it was common to have a long lobby to the auditorium. This provided a store on either side. Hence, the alleged theatres.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on December 16, 2007 at 5:57 am

Here’s a rare individual ad for the Beacon Theatre from 1932, when programs changed three times weekly, with double features Saturday through Monday. Note the rhymed slogan “It’s worth your while to ride a mile to the Beacon.” Not accurate if you resided in Great Neck, where this ad was published in the weekly newspaper: www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/pwbeacon32.jpg

gtdriver98
gtdriver98 on June 30, 2006 at 4:59 am

I managed this theater for nearly 6 years from 1998 to 2003. Clearview Cinemas operates it now and has for the past 10-12 years or so. For much of that time, including when I worked there, they only did the bare minimum to keep the place running. We ended up doing a lot of work ourselves because the contractors they hired were terrible. You can see from the poor design of the candy stand and the shoddy work they did overall with the lobby renovation in 1998-99. Management at Clearview has changed since then for the better and I understand they are preparing to make some more renovations, including a handicapped bathroom on the ground floor and joining the 2 tiny theaters to make 1 larger auditorium (though they may have some trouble with that as a major support column runs through the wall separating the two). They already replaced the curtains in the auditoriums and are also supposed to be replacing the seats in the entire building.

As for the days of old, when the theater was known as the Beacon theater and was a single screen house, much of that can still be seen if you do a little digging. Behind the screen in Theater 1 is a closet which leads to a covered up stairwell. If you open up the small access hatch and climb down into the basement, you can see the stairwell which came from behind the original stage. Climb through another small opening and you’ll find the entire orchestra pit still there and largely intact, sitting under the front of theaters 1 & 2. The back theater was built across the stage and I suspect that the stage was destroyed in the process. The owner of the building insists that he had the organ buried in concrete when the theater was cut up, but I can assure you that it is not there. The only remains of the organ are what is left of the blower, made by the Spencer Turbine company. Going back up into the closet, you can pop a few ceiling tiles and lo and behold, you come across a metal rung ladder. Climb about 25-30 feet up and you’ll find the original catwalk. The presidium arch over the stage is still there and peering down through a stage light opening, you can still see the floor of the front of the stage.

I’ve heard that the theater has fallen apart in recent years, which is a shame. It was never the nicest theater around, but it was a great place to see a movie with friends or family. I hope the renovations are done the right way- and maybe they will help make it a great place once more.

baffled
baffled on July 24, 2005 at 9:15 am

That is nuts! I had no idea porn ever played there. I seem to recall the Soundview theater had a brief adult run (so I heard – this was many years prior to the Soundview Shopping Ctr’s remodeling – it was a ghost well through the mid-“80s), and there were at least two very seedy strip clubs in P.W. that survived until "81 or so (one of which went down in a prostitution sting!) I can’t help thinking the rundown "70s PW was a lot more interesting than the glossy, materialistic megaburb it is today.
Be glad to hear from anyone else who knew the town in those days.

That ad notes that the Beacon was owned or operated by GG (?) – not the late GG Allin, I assume, but the business name of the owner? In the mid-“80s I remember my friends who worked for the video store next door bitching about "Mr. GG”, the cranky and stingy owner of the building (this was the time of the senseless expansion detailed above.) Yeah, it’s all coming together…..

RobertR
RobertR on July 8, 2005 at 10:58 am

“Nana” played here at the Beacon in 1971.
View link

baffled
baffled on June 13, 2005 at 7:36 am

There wasn’t a lot to do growing up in P.W. in the late “70s. Even when it was triplexed this was a pretty good place to see movies if one was young and undiscriminating. I remember seeing Star Wars, Tom Sawyer, Heaven Can Wait, Flash Gordon, and others here. The fact that most of the original ornamentation & fixtures remained definitely inspired my ideas of what a movie theater should "look like”. Then in the early “80s the luncheonette next door put in a game room and overnight the scene was all burnouts, denim jackets, Defender, and other stoner-rock accoutrements from J&G Records up the street. (Anyone else remember any of this period?) Regardless, at 14 or 15 I definitely knew the "Triplex” was not doing right by us when they started subdividing, but at that point the whole town was getting hypersuburbanized and overpopulated so nobody really noticed. I do remember a few other excellent movie nights there, “Day of the Dead” on opening night and a double feature of “Nightmare on Elm St 1 & 2”. By then it was pretty seedy, but on L.I. in the “80s, seedy was what you expected.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on April 29, 2005 at 1:22 pm

The Beacon Theatre opened on 15th October 1927 with the First National Picture;“Life of Riley” starring Charles Murray plus a Vaudeville show. It was equipped with an Austin 3Manual/11Rank theatre organ and had 1,613 seats.

In early 1975 the Glenn Miller Orchestra gave a concert at the Beacon Theatre, Port Washington and over 1,000 attended. It is noted at the time, that the Austin organ had been partially restored and was being used for public performances.

Evidently this was soon to change when the theatre was split into several screens.

rcdt55b
rcdt55b on November 30, 2004 at 6:03 pm

That wasnt the ceiling in the small booth. That was the staircase to the balconey that you had to duck under to thread the other machine. In my case it was crawl on your knees.

sticky
sticky on August 23, 2004 at 7:53 am

I was 19 years old when saw the Count Basie band at the Beacon theatre in the mid 70’s. They were doing a benefit for a Port Washington treatment center. After the show I went backstage to meet some of the band and have Basie autograph a record for me. I’d never been behind the stage. It was a ratty looking place with dirty ropes and musty curtains.

These Basie musicians were experienced. Most of them were in their 50’s and 60’s and had spent years on the road. They were sitting on old wooden folding chairs but happy to accomodate a young jazz fan for an autograph. I still have my autographed poster. They were legends and I was in awe of them.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on March 8, 2004 at 8:38 am

The Beacon Theatre’s address was 116 Main Street. For much of its life, the theatre was operated by the Skouras circuit, which was always very stingy about maintenance.

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on February 5, 2004 at 1:47 pm

You should try being the projectionist there in those two smaller rooms. I won’t even classify them as theaters. The ceiling is so low that you have to bend to get around. Gee, what a treasure this place is. HAA!!!