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I’d love to see these pics too.
I’d love to see those ads. My email is
The best part of the business was running the floor when the lobby would be packed waiting for the previous show to exit, the lines waiting until the crowd moved in to continue selling, filling most of the auditorium, then packing them into the balcony before continuing to fill the downstairs, then the making of “doubles”, and finally at the end of the day, cashing out and being “even”. Doing it four times a day on one screen and the same on a second was even better.
Attending a movie at nearly any Boston area theatre, even in the shopping centers, was a grand experience through the 1950’s and even into the ‘60s. In those days, the family “got dressed up” to go, whether it Sound of Music, Doctor Zhivago, or any number of blockbuster features, which people flocked to see in the large auditoriums with big screens. When was the last time you saw a line around the block buying tickets to anything? And the lines moved faster too, with 1000 seat auditoriums filling up in a matter of 20 minutes or so.
The aperture plate was cut to allow the picture to fill out the screen to the edges of the shadowbox.
Ken, how much would it cost to refinish a concrete floor, removal of the old bolts, and installation of those $89 seats? As for the booth, how much would the delivery and installation of that “good used” equipment cost? What would you estimate the complete outfitting of a new projection booth into an empty old one to cost? Please include the cost of speakers, and installation.
There are several thoughts that cross my mind on this subject. First, reseating an old abandoned auditorium would probably cost upwards of $200 per seat. If you thought reusing old Griggs style chairs from a more modern theatre, don’t because you’ll find problems with floor pitch, location of floor bolts, tired and bottomed out cushions, etc.
Second, to restore an average marquee which hovers over the sidewalk at the front entrance would probably cost in excess of $40,000.
Next, to put in a brand new projection booth and sound system for a single auditorium may be in the vicinity of $200,000. Some old theatres may have original carbon arc lamphouses in place, others nothing. You would have to convert to xenon, put in platters, and probably install speakers behind a screen, and likely rewire the entire building to fire codes.
I’m not sure what a new screen would cost, but you may have to install the framework, and put up new curtains and masking too.
Lobby and public areas would look better in wallcoverings, rather than a simple coat of paint. A visit to the Orpheum in downtown Boston shows how cheesy a rehab done on the cheap can look.
Other major expenses to rehabing an old theatre would be a roof, air conditioning, heating, plumbing for restrooms and concession, as well as carpeting, aisle lighting, and so many other things I probably missed. Imagine the utility bills for heating and airconditioning an auditorium with 1200 seats and a balcony, for example. I think a single air conditioning rooftop compressor would cost about $5000 to install, hooked up to existing electric and ductwork. Many old theatres may not even have that.
The way to success, would be a local group of dedicated people with a vision for it’s use, such as amateur stage shows, or musical use, who are willing to spend years raising funds. They would probably want to incorporate as a non profit, and attempt grant writing for some of the costs.
It’s a huge undertaking, as many would probably agree.
The Colonial ran film for some period during World War II. One would have to look at microfilm ads in the Boston newspapers to come up wit specific films and dates.
How many ways can I send the same message?
It would have been August of ‘68. I don’t remember noticing the Capri at the time. General Cinema had taken over the Uptown before it closed, but I never went inside. Izzy Strier remembers they sold hots dogs at the refreshment stand.
It was probably August of ‘68. I didn’t notice what was happening to the Capri. Wish I had paid more attention. I think the Uptown had been taken over by General Cinema before it closed. Izzy Strier remembers they sold hot dogs at the refreshment stand.
Are you charged a flat fee for running film?
The Uptown was demolished in 1968. I used to walk past it on my way to my concession job at the Cheri that summer.
It was already closed down when Cambridge Seven Architects used it as a prototype to display their new design elements to the executives. It was a one-time deal, not an ongoing program. And not used as a prototype while opened. (grey paint replaced white, grey formica and fabric covered wall panels over old white formica and alpro, and black ceilings, with hanging fixtures, to make the theatre darker. Carpets went from red to blue, and concessions got back-lit back bar graphics. After the executives looked at the makeover, the Cambridge Seven went ahead and did over the theatre in Columbia Maryland, Chestnut Hill, Arlington Texas, Parmatown Mall, and probably a few others, to one degree or another. They also begain to use Cambridge Seven Design when building new theatres. I believe this was around 1986.
Does anyone have photos of this theatre, that they’d care to share?
I agree with you. However, I get that everytime I visit an AMC or Showcase too. Seems like the theatre owner’s just don’t understand what turns off the customer.
I understand Regal is buying Fenway. That would be their first in the Boston area, I believe.
People who live in the Brockton area go to the Showcase in Randolph.
I drove past the site today, and there isn’t a theatre there. (wish I had taken a photo, sorry)
That’s correct. The two Framingham booths were seperated, and they did manual changeovers. They also used carbon arcs. I don’t remember exactly when they automated, probably early seventies. They still used two projectionists, as the Cinema II booth was seperated from Cinema I by going down a hall past the popcorn room, up some steps past the balcony Men’s room, then through a door and up some more steps. Not to mention that both projectionists, Walter King and either Herb Kenney or Vin Kane seemed about 70 years old.
I think Henry Cummings briefly ran Worcester Center and Waltham.
Actually, I think Peabody may have been their first twin.
You must have known Henry Cummings!
It’s not a “help them out” situation. Reviving the theatre can only be done when the owner wants to do it. In this case, I’m afraid the owner hasn’t shown good faith efforts.
I’d go wait by the exit doors and sneak in.