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Happy to report the marquee has been returned to the facade of the theatre. According to the original banner it was to have been repaired. However, driving by it looked new albeit the same. Wow, is it ever bright now. And they actually sprung for new letters for the signage.
The theatre had one central seating section with aisles on either side. There was one fire exit off each of the side aisles. The floor was sloped. There was no balcony. According to a former employee, whose father managed the theatre for a time, there were
probably 20-25 seats across in each of the rows.
There is a picture of the theatre in George Washington Tiernan’s book, “Kings Park – A Pictoral History – 1870-1960”. There is no current web link available.
I would hope that extensive pix be taken of the interior as it is now before any renovations take place so there is some historical record.
Great news. Hope it comes to fruition.
What were the admission charges in those days? I remember that in the 1950s the first show was 90 cents.
Mark could you provide links to the online items to which have referred?
But you didn’t provide a link.
The reason I used 3700 was because that is the address CT shows for the UA Coram which was built on the site of the drive-in. The theatre cards I’ve seen and the ads, and the Prudential guide always said Rts 112 & 25. So you’re saying the address for the UA is wrong also. Maybe that had a real address that we can trace back.
That is one bleak, forbiding looking building. It’s appropriate that it’s now a medical center since it looks very institutional, unfortunately MENTAL institutional.
Somewhere out there I know there is a drive-in site which might have the car capacity. I can’t remember the name, however. But then, again, I wonder how accurate it is since they list a drive in in Centereach Long Island for which I can find no substantiating evidence.
Also, there is an ice cream parlour in Middle Island or Ridge on the south side of Route 25 that has several of the old theatre cards advertising the drive in among its movie related memoriabilia.
Interestingly, there is a new leisure center on the drawing board for Widnes which is to include a multiplex cinema. In the interim Cineworld in Runcorn is the closest theatre in the Halton district.
An address is going to be tough since there is currently no building on the site. The empty plot is behind the diner which is located across from the Smithtown Library at the intersection of Routes 25 and 111. Any advertising I’ve seen, and programs from the summer theatre, don’t show an address. I’ve checked with the library and the historical society. Probably the only way for an address is in an old phone book. I believe they have some at Hofstra.
Never could figure the title but it’s a nice, soapy flick that TCM has on a couple of times recently.
And, for the record, TCM broadcast “Operation Petticoat” this afternoon.
apd and I visited the theatre site yesterday. Windows have been added to the second floor where there were indications that they may have previously existed. You enter through the lobby where the original ceiling is still intact, with the addition of a ceiling fan through the center medallion. The floor, which originally had an incline, to the auditorium is now level. The two stores which flanked the lobby are now part of the martial arts complex with entrances through the lobby. The auditorium has been converted into a two story warehouse. Since the owner/manager was not present we were not able to look further than the public space. The employees indicated they had never seen any of the remnants of the original theatre, not even the actual ceilling, which I would have imagined would be visible from the second floor warehouse area.
Don’t know what the original auditorium decor was like but this is certainly impressive and tasteful.
Or, perhaps, the “facilities”
And what is even more interesting is that although the shopping complex is still called Eaton Centre, Eaton’s is no more. Now it’s Sears.
WLIW, Channel 21, Long Island PBS, broadcast a repeat of their RCMH special ( for pledges, of course). Interestingly, I received a mail order catalogue which had the program available for $19.98, less than it would have been by pledging.
I was never inside this theatre but found the signage unique. Am I not correct in remembering this and the Deer Park as having the only yellow signs of all the Long Island theatres?
Looking at those choices, 1948 must have been the only year when my parents didn’t take me to RCMH or any of the other biggies over the holidays. I would assume, however, that we did get in to see the tree and the holiday windows. Now only Lord and Taylor has animated windows.
Well, at least during the summer there was a sign saying the marquee was being repaired. But the last time I went by the sign was down. Perhaps in prep for the new marquee?
There is a followup to the October article in the November issue of the Peconic Bay Shopper. The cover shows the screen. In addition to a few more rememberances they have printed a copy of the Prudential Eastern LI Theatre Guide for one week in 1958. That, itself, is a treasure.
According to an article in the Smithtown Star for January 20, 1960- “St. James as it used to be” by Robert Markle, the theatre was transferred from this site to a ground floor location around the corner (Second Street)because of safety concerns about a large number of people on the second floor. No date was given.
Well, technically HE didn’t make his screen debut. Where are you getting your information for these, almost daily updates of RCMH attractions?