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This theater was built by Charlie Bonoff, father of Leo Bonoff who ran Bonoff’s Theater (now Madison Art Cinemas) in Madison. There is a 1940s photo of the Bonoff family in front of the Saybrook at www.bonoff.net. The same photo makes a brief appearance in The Tent: Life in the Round, a new documentary about the Warwick Musical Theatre in Warwick, RI, started by Charlie’s grandson Burton “Buster” Bonoff.
As of this past Sunday, it’s still standing. The lobby is being used for storage (possibly the auditoriums as well). There is a for lease sign on the building – commercial/subdividable.
Today’s Providence Journal suggests an early- to mid-October opening.
The Park CafÃ© and 848 martini lounge are open! The second-floor LOL Comedy Lounge opens September 12. As for the theater itself, they have hired a manager who is traveling the country booking entertainment.
Cranston Herald article #1
Cranston Herald article #2
Cranston Herald article #3
Comments on the theater description: total seating is currently 1,052, and it was a porn house until 2002. I’d also argue that the Stadium should be included on any list of Rhode Island’s finest surviving historic movie houses.
The Columbus was closed by the City of Providence on August 25 for fire code violations. Offices in the building were allowed to remain open. The owner must bring the fire suppression system up to code, repair electrical deficiencies, remove fire hazards including paint cans, reapply decorative tiles to the exterior (?), and repair at least one door. The cost of the fire suppression upgrade alone is more than $100K. The inspection was apparently the result of a complaint by a parent of a contestant in a beauty pageant held at the theater last weekend.
Providence Journal article.
New feature on the Park at Art in Ruins, with photos from 2004 to 2008: View link
Looks like the current official name is the “New 400 Theater”
The Avon appears at 2:30 in this 1938 film.
Video tour of the project with mayoral candidate Cindy Fogarty and Councilman Emilio Navarro, from August 2008. “The restaurant and bar should be open within the next two months” – well, not quite.
Joe Campanella from CLTV has a great photo gallery from the Silent Film Society of Chicago’s April 26th benefit for the restoration of the Portage’s “new” 1927 Kimball organ:
Incidentally, there is a 90-seat cinema inside the Blackstone Valley Visitors Center at 175 Main Street. If I remember correctly, the seats came from the Leroy; the spirits of two Pawtucket movie houses live on!
Here’s an interesting study of what was playing at the Star in 1912-13 and who was coming to see it on pages 95-96 of Americanizing the Movies and Movie-Mad Audiences, 1910-1914 by Richard Abel (University of California Press, 2006). Other references to Pawtucket theaters appear throughout the book.
Unless the house numbers were radically altered, this theater also no longer exists. 116 or 126 Roosevelt Avenue would be the parking lot for City Hall.
So what has become of Two Boots' basement now that the theater is closed?
The plan as of September 2007 was to remodel the existing building.
Wow… I know ‘64 Chevies are popular as lowriders, but that’s a bit too far :).
“Thank you, gentrification!”
Edward, I think the Pioneer was more a product of gentrification than a victim of it.
Not sure if this is the same photo Warren posted in 2006, but here’s a 1936 photo of Queens Boulevard at Union Turnpike/Interboro Parkway, with the Fox Kew Gardens on the right.
Only $312K. Wow.
Archived versions of the theater’s website can be found by searching for it at http://www.archive.org
I just came across this video of the Commodore during demolition.
Here is Gina’s photo of the building as Andersen Mercantile Co.
Gina – you can e-mail it to me at
Overton is a lovely town. I passed through there a couple of weeks ago and had an excellent lunch at the Inside Scoop.
For what it’s worth, the liquor store is now known as Mendon Wines & More. They still use the marquee to advertise.