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Drove by here over the weekend unintentionally. Looks the same as the street view, although the sign seemed faded. Rough-looking section of Worcester, too.
This building is still standing, albeit repurposed.
If you plug the location address(24 Mill Street, Worcester, MA) in Google Maps, and look at the Street View, this building is clearly visible in the background. Move down the street in Street View: You’ll be in front of Sun'N'Sound, an auto detailing/car audio business now located in the former Webster Square Cinema.
I suspect the auditorium(s) were turned into the installation bays. But it is mostly definitely this building. However, if you didn’t know that it had been a theater, there is no way of telling from appearances.
I know this theater well – I grew up about a 5 minute drive from it, and remember the area before it was built(I was a teenager at the time).
The land the cinema is on was empty(as opposed to the strip mall next door(that used to be Russo’s House Of Sunshine(a greenhouse/nursery), which is now is West Bridgewater. All redeveloped when the theater went in. There also used to be business across the street – all victims of “Showcase Cinemas Randolph and The Quest for More Parking”. These businesses were:
Levine-Briss Funeral Home(as noted in the description)
CRC?? (My memory is a bit fuzzy here, but there was a business inbetween the funeral home and Middle Atlantic).
At any rate, the cinema and strip mall completely chamged the area. Traffic was, and still is, a nightmare. It’s probably the biggest knock against this theater – parking and getting in and out is a NIGHTMARE when it’s busy. Other than that, it’s a pretty nice theater, albeit spread out over three levels and several escalators.
There’s was a rear entry/exit ramp from the main parking lot, but it was blocked with a metal gate pretty early on. Why? Because having traffic spill out onto West Street(behind the cinema, parallel to Mazzeo Drive) became a epic traffic nightmare, and the town woudn’t tolerate it.
The last film I saw here was THE DAVINCI CODE. I moved from the area a scant two months later.
Personal anecdote: I remember bicycling down here during construction(I was 15 at the time) to apply for a job. They didn’t hire me. My brother applied a couple of years later; they did hire him. And he hated it! ;)
Here is a real treat for everyone.
This is a 1970 radio aircheck from WBCN. If you forward to 1:15 in, a commericial advertising The Orson Welles' one-day-only offerings for that day begins(with a musical interlude, spoken ad starts at 1:50 in).
The movies show on this particular day were I’M A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG(1932) and LARCENY INC(1942). The ad also mentioned the The Orson Welles Cinema Bookstore, and notes that both are located at 1001 Mass Ave in Cambridge.
Here is a transcription of the ad.
“Gangster movies and prison movies at The Orson Welles. Today Only: I’M A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG and LARCENY INCORPORATED. The Orson Welles Cinema and the Orson Welles Cinema Book Store are located at 1001 Mass Ave in Cambridge.”
As an added bonus, this is an aircheck from Charles Laquidara’s show. Talk about Boston radio history. Enjoy!
Note: You can right-click and download the airchgeck, or just click the link and stream it.
True, MPol, but supposedly the CitySquare project will revive downtown Worcester.
The problem I see for this theateris this: if no one does anything with it before CitySqaure starts really moving, it has a target painted on it. And once it’s marked for demolition, it’s unlikely anyone would step up to save it, given it’s recent history. Seems such a waste..but what can you do?
I drove by this theater a week ago. If you look at the 2007 picture, the store front on the left is empty and boarded up, and the sign is gone. The storefront on the right still has it’s sign, and is boarded up.
The place looks sad. I wonder if some minimal TLC could give it a new lease on life? Worcester doesn’t have any movie theater’s in the downtown area, so it would likely do reasonably well. Shaking the stigma of it’s previous incarnation would be difficult though….
Maybe so, Mike, but trying to run a theater here would be suicide – the Cinema de Lux would kill any competitor that tried. Not a feasible or logical idea.
It would seem this theater was made redundant and obsolete by the new Showcase Cinema De Lux nearby, so National Amusement closed it
I would guess since this is no longer listed by National Amusements, and the odds of them letting a competitor move right next door are slim-to-none, that this theater is closed.
I have submitted an entry for the new Cinema De Lux as well.
According to this article , which also contains sparse info about Newburyport’s other theatres, the Port was located at the corner of Pleasant Street and Titcomb Ave.
According to Google Maps, that’s somewhere between 70-80 Pleasant Street. The building standing there looks like it could’ve housed the lobby perhaps, with the theater in the parking lot behind it. But I can’t say for sure.
I saw this building while I was in Harvard Square this weekend. The once-empty marquee frame has been used for a sign for Wagamama Nooodle Restaurant, located in the Galeria.
Just a thought – and correct me if I’m wrong: Shouldn’t this be listed as “Stuart Street Playhouse” with “Sack 57 Cinemas” as a “aka”, because it’s not known by that name anymore?
This land has been, and still is for sale. The listing is here. (warning: this is a PDF. For the basic listing, go here, second to last on page )
If someone’s got $1.250,000, there’s a lot there to work with, condition not withstanding.
I believe the last time this drive-in was in operation was the mid-90’s, but it didn’t lsat long – dispute with the town, according to the former owner. The marquee, which I see regularly, seems to be decaying at an accelerated rate. Seems such a waste, especially when it’s still mostly intact, and in a better location than the also shuttered-and-decaying Edgemere Drive-In. But, time marches on, I guess.
It would appear this should be “Closed/Demolished”. Haveing scrolled up and down Orange Street in Google Earth, I can find no trace of it’s exsistence on current maps, or any historical imagery going back to 2004. Apparently it’s become a residential development now.
There’s also a link on the drive-ins.com page what is supposedly a 1998 aerial shot of the location of this drive-in. It’s identical to the location SiliconSam suggested. Also, in the 1998 aerial, you can clearly see the shadow of a screen tower. So this was probably the drive-in’s location.
After doing some more poking around, it seems that the project slated to be developed on the drive-in’s proptery has been in a holding pattern thanks to the economy.
The most recent article I found was from several months ago, and said that they expected to break ground at summer’s end. If this pans out, then the drive-in is in it’s final season. If not…who knows. Unfortunately, all of the articles were archived, so I’m going on the snippets available to me.
You know what? I stand corrected, and I have no clue what the hell I was thinking. This is not a twin, it’s a single screen. Which makes it that much rarer – not many single screeners survived this long, although the drive-in in Wellfleet, NA is also a single screen theater.
This was last owned by David Fedeli, who also owns the Tri-Town Drive-In in Lunenberg, along with a pair of independant multi-plexes. He was also the last owner of the Whalom Drive in.
This is a pretty interesting article. It give a pretty good history of the Fedeli family’s involvement in the theater business over the last, oh, 80 years or so.
Lost, the price is per carload. If it was per person, they’d have closed years ago!
As far as the location goes, the impression I have from the articles I’ve read is that it’s been considered to be a Lunenberg landmark for some time. So I suspect it’s on the outskirts.
Well, actually, the Whalom IS on www.drive-ins.com It’s listed as beiing in Fitchburg, not Lunenberg, though. The page is here.
It’s noted on the page that the screen burnt down, although I think this happened after it had closed, and was not a factor in the drive-in closing.
Well, I tihnk MPol comment might be more a result of the giant, empty, dead mall in the heart of downtown Worcester, which casts a bit of a pall. Also not helping is the recent “suspenion of operations” by Worcester’s venerable, if not celebrated Foothills Theatre Company.
I also hope they never take down the “E.M. Loews” marquee on the Palladium. Losing that would be tragic.
This should be changed to “Closed/Demolished”. The building was razed in early 2008. It decayed surprising fast for being closed for less than 3 years. But I guess vandalism and age will do that. An article from the Attleboro Sun-Chronicle about the demoltion is here. Article includes a picture of demolition.
Yeah…sorry, apparently I’m thinking faster than I can type. I meant to put that in my post. Ugh.
This article talks about the past and present theaters of Falmouth, and is where I source my informatino from.
I agree, SiliconSam. I guess I goofed adding this one. They switch films around, apparently. Interesting.
The article mentioned above is here (new window). My apologies.
Also, this article says the Cinema Pub has 2 screens. So either the owner expanded, or films are rotated, I guess.