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I wish that I had the enthusiasm of the previous posters pertaining to the future of the Victory. There is no way Holyoke and Northampton can be compared. Northampton has plenty of $$$$$ coming in just from Smith alone. I know that Mr. Ko is going to accuse me of being a bigot, but has anyone traveled through Holyoke? Nobody is going to invest in a city of boarded up buildings and residents roaming the streets or spending days sitting on car hoods. The sad part is Holyoke has many beautiful sections. But how many people from those sections would be willing to participate in downtown functions?
Also known as the Pastime. It really was a church.
According to a newspaper article written today by Stephen R. Jendrysik, Chicopee Historian, in the Springfield, MA Republican, the Rivoli opened as the Elms Theater in 1927. Became the Rivoli in 1932. Originally ran silent movies but was the first Chicopee Theater to be equipped for sound. Theater screened MGM, Paramount, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros. and RKO Radio pictures usually about a week after their showings in Springfield. The ceiling had stars and clouds. Ushers in their brass-buttoned uniforms escorted well-dressed patrons to their seats. Rich purple drapes surrounded the screen. Organ music was provided by Miss Rene Breglio prior to movie showings and the occasional silent picture. Mr. Jendrysik also mentions that the Exchange, Midway, Willow, Pastime, Wernick and Royal were other theaters operating from time to time in Chicopee.
Attended this theater once or twice while stationed at Malmstrom AFB in 1960-61. Believe it only opened on weekends and was a second run house. Recall it having a balcony and loges.
Believe that the city is kicking in $50,000 as a temporary fix. The local public television station is also involved. I have no doubt that the taxpayers of Northampton and contributors to PBS will see their money put to good use.
Unfortunately, due to financial reasons, this old treasure has suspened operations except for a few previously booked stage shows. The 32 year manager was laid off. He has offered to continue on a volunteer basis. The trustees are trying to prevent converting the building to condos, other uses, or even worse, demolition. Being owned by the city of Northampton it would be unreasonable to expect the taxpayers to foot the bill for a financially losing facility. Hopefully, some creative planning will bring it back to life.
During 1959 &‘60 I remember a Brighams on Mass Ave. near the Loews State. Around the Uptown I recall Walton’s Cafeteria on the east side of Gainsboro St., Hayes-Bickford Cafeteria on the west side of Gainsboro, Waldorf Cafeteria, Ramona’s Restaurant and Joe & Nemos on Huntington Ave.
There’s the hotel to the right of the Victory that I had mentioned. The ‘hearsay’ does make sense.
Was this ever named the Dunham? With the Union being located on Dunham St. could it have taken on the street name? The Boston Herald listed an obit for a Harry S. Fisher on November 24. He was an assistant manager for “numerous theaters including the Union Theater in Attleboro, the Norwood Theater and the Dunham Theater.
I believe that the name of the bank was the Washington Trust Co., or something similar. It would be interesting if the actual height of the room and stage could be determined above the false ceiling. Also, the seats must have been portable since dances were held there.
I immediately recognized the exterior shot of this building. During the early ‘60’s I was dating someone in West Kingtston whose family had a business. I recall giving her mother a ride to that location for her banking business. She always came out laughing. The bank manager had several jokes, many off color. She wouldn’t repeat them to me as she was affraid that I would tell them to her daughter. I never realized that a theater had been located there. The building was at a Y between Rt.138 and another road. Could have been Rt.3. I would never have guessed that this building once contained a theater.
Newspaper ads list Pothole Pictures, not Memorial Hall, as the venue. I started the Pothole thread for that reason. I did’t notice the Memorial Hall thread until I was reminded of it in the Pothole thread.
I was 12 years old when mom & pop took me and a cousin to Boston from Springfield, 90 miles away, to see “This Is Cinerama.” Arriving at the theater we got pop to spring 50 cents each for 4 Cokes which he grumbled about right up to showtime. Cokes at that time went for a dime. I recall the cousin and I complaining during the show about the 2 vertical lines in the picture, because of the 3 projector format.
I recall that the marqee was very plain. It basically was an overhang with lettering indicating the attractions only on the left side. Looked unbalanced. This was due to the fact that Bridge St. was one-way traveling west.
Latest progress report has the exterior completed, but the interior notta. According to a newspaper report Konrad must arrange additional financing in order to complete the project. Personally, I hope he isn’t in over his head. That building will be the focal point in the revitalization of downtown Chicopee.
Almost got to see one of their last movies at the Loews State. Hitchcock’s North BY Northwest was playing in late Spring of 1959. My father accompanied me to sign up at a school and as we walked past the State I suggested seeing NNW, but he wanted to get back to Springfield. For a year I walked by the Donnelly Memorial and felt what a waste because they weren’t doing much with it. Cardinal Cushing made the decision to buy that theater and turned it around at a good profit by selling the property at the going market rate later. He also did the same with a little struggling TV station, WIHS, now known as WSBK-TV38.
Originally, that would have been the stage house, supposedly. During construction it was determined that the stage should be at the opposite end of the building because of a hotel to be constructed to the right of the building. By having the stage end next to the hotel live performers would be more inclined to stay there because of proximity to the stage entrance. This is hearsay, but sort of makes sense.
Didn’t the Keith-Albee Boston, RKO, eventually become the Cinerama Theater?
I was in the Astor only once, around 1965 or ‘66. I attended a Sunday afternoon run of a film that I don’t recall. My wife at the time wanted to see it. Seated prior to the showing when the house lights were on, I recall being amazed at how plain the auditorium was with a decor of blue brick. It appeared that the screen and curtain were hung against the back wall. The place was very clean and the movie well projected. Sorry, don’t recall the popcorn.
It did open in 1929. I recall reading somewhere that the seating capacity was around 3000. Can’t imagine it ever being an MGM exhibitor with the Paramount name and the Loew’s Poli having exclusivity on MGM (and 20th Century Fox).
The AMC road sign still stands with “For Lease” displayed. Could be for the theaters or the space they once occupied. Don’t think it is the latter since large shopping centers don’t usually promote available space that way. If that lettering was put up upon the theater’s closing, wouldn’t the center’s owners haved the sign taken down?
As my original post states in the first sentence, the Grand Theater IS located in Indian Orchard. I would assume, after reading my post, that my info stating that the place is used by a religious denomination could be considered a church.
Is the library on the left heading north through town? Somehow, I remember the Lee Theater being on the right up a little from The Morgan House Inn and restaurant. This goes back to the 60’s.
Addendum to the above. I recall my father telling me that in his single days he and his buddies would pay a dime and go up to the top balcony and sleep off a night on the town on long church type pews prior to going home.
Sorry that I cannot provide the previous poster with additional information since my parents, who attended performances regularly, have passed on. But I do have an update on the hotel. Part of the roof collapsed. However, the owner claims he is still going ahead with renovation plans.