Showing 26 - 32 of 32 comments
Yes, they still have film capability (a single Century projector with xenon and the “wonderful” Super Platter). The Three Stooges show (which they do every year) always does good business. In the last year or two, they have shown the Stooges program, Wizard of Oz, Willy Wonka, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and a few other titles that I have forgotten. They were scheduled to show Ferris Bueller last year, but the print did not arrive due to a shipping mishap.
(I will be in the booth for the Monty Python shows if anyone wants to stop by.)
This theatre doesn’t look anything like the Danvers Theatre (if the poster above was indeed referring to Hollywood Hits).
In its last days, this theatre was a true dump. When I saw Titan AE there, one of the front speakers was out of phase with the others and the projector was off-center with respect to the screen. No one (staff or customers) seemed to notice or care. This venue generally showed Columbia releases which didn’t make it to GCC Framingham.
I believe that the theatre was always intended for motion-picture exhibition, but cannot confirm that.
The theatre was rather successful, but closed in 1986 or 1987 because the building was sold to a developer; it is now a dreadful mini-mall called “Playhouse Square.” At least they kept the marquee mostly intact.
I saw many films there as a child growing up in Wellesley and remember the theatre (and its chandelier, big green curtains, and antique ticket-grinding machine) fondly. They always put on a good show and the theatre was always clean and well maintained. Prices were reasonable, too. A small popcorn was $.75 in the mid-1980s.
The building was conceived and built by Roger W. Babson in the 1920s. There was originally a cafe adjacent to the theatre and a bowling alley (!) in the basement.
The current Braintree 10-plex is a similar design to the current Burlington 10-plex (which was built a few years afterwards). Both are now operated by AMC.
I’m one of the projectionists for the RI Film Fest. I took the pictures on Film-Tech (also on Cinema Tour) in 2002 during the festival. Since then, we have installed xenon lamps in the booth (replacing some very worn-out arc lamps) in the former balcony and can run 35mm there as well as in the main auditorium. The festival office is located above the theatre lobby. A barber shop is also located in the building.
I’m glad that someone finall submitted this theatre.
I worked at the Williamsburg Theatre while in college (late 1990s) and dearly loved the place. It was built as the sister theatre to Radio City Music Hall (they opened on the same week) by John D. Rockefeller as part of his resoration of Colonial Williamsburg. It is located in “Merchants' Square,” a shopping and dining area adjacent to the restored area.
In keeping with the appearance of the colonial area, the exterior of the theatre was rather plain and resembled a house more than a theatre. There is no neon marquee or gaudy sign, but rather a simple poster case and sign featuring the name of the theatre.
The RKO chain preferred small theatre lobbies, as they made the shows appear to be more popular than they otherwise would by forcing a large crowd outside the building. The chandelier in the auditorium (which has since been replaced) was a copy of the ones in Boston’s Symphony Hall. It had to be lowered manually to change its approximately 76 bulbs.
At the time when I worked there, the capacity was 535 seats with a center aisle. The building was renovated around 2000-2001 to accommodate live programs in addition to films. The seating capacity was reduced at that time to approximately 400 in the main auditorium (with two aisles). A 30-seat screening room was added above the lobby (an area formerly occupied by offices) for film exhibition at times when the main theatre was in use for live programming.
The Williamsburg Theatre was one of the first air-conditioned buildings in Virginia and the original air conditioner unit (a Carrier Model 1) remained in use until the time of the renovation.
For the tech-heads, the main projection booth currently contains a pair of Century MSA/2 projectors (originally from the Williamsburg Drive-in, installed in this venue in the 1970s, and rebuilt at the time of the renovation), Kneisley Xenex 2kw lamphouses, and a Dolby CP500 with SRD and Altec speakers. The 30-seat screening room has a pair of Kinoton projectors (one FP-30E 35mm and one FP-38E 16/35) with a CP650, SRD, and JBL speakers. Both houses have new ISCO lenses. The screening room also has video projection capability.
Since the early 1990s, programming at this venue has consisted mostly of art and foreign films, with occasional late run mainstream titles mixed in. We also did midnight shows (mostly for William and Mary students) of older films in the late 1990s, but those seem not to have made a return since the renovation.
The MFA just installed new Kinoton projectors this past week. They have the best picture quality in town (by far).