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I recently joined Work Out World (good gym by the way!). Having been to this theater many times as a teenager, I often look for clues as to what in the theatre design still survives.
The upstairs projection booth is a cardio room.
The lobby (with entrances where one could enter the theatres) is still there.
The concession stand is now a juice bar? Not sure on that one.
Of course the floor has been leveled and there are platforms that hold more cardio machines that I believe are new construction.
What most stood out for me about this theater: ET playing there for eight months in 1982.
Hmmm…unless my memory is even worse than I imagined, I recall that on one side of Landsdowne Street is Fenway Park, on the other are four adjacent nightclubs that are doing very well. There are some industrial/business buildings at the top of the block. I wonder what he planned to demolish.
(Then again, knowing many Boston residents' aversion to nightlife of any kind…it wouldn’t surprise me if they did lean on Redford to demolish the nightclubs.)
Where could Robert Redford have possibly built the multiplex? Kenmore Square is totally jammed with buildings.
Is the bankruptcy the reason the reason all those cinemas closed one by one? It’s sad especially that three of them died within a two year period. (1992-94)
While living in Boston in the mid-late 1990s, I remember reading every so often about either Loews or AMC (or maybe both?—the memory here is foggy) planning to build a multiplex in the South End. Whatever happened with that? The South End, if I remember correctly, was/is a crummy neighborhood, but wouldn’t that be a different location than downtown/Fenway?
And good riddance to the Copley Place cinemas.
Ah, I wanted to add this theater but you beat me to it. :)
This theatre shows the more popular of the art films. My boyfriend and I want to see a film here badly, but they never play anything we want to see when we’re in the area (we live 45 minutes away). A question: is this theatre on an independent circuit or does Princeton University do the bookings?
Ah, the Madison—that was it! Thanks Gonzo! :)
When did Cinema 9 go (temporarily) back to first-run? Was it in the mid-90s? I was away from the area for ten years so I never recall the theater, except for a few weeks immediately after moving to the area in 1981, showing anything except porn.
I remember the Razz-Ma-Tazz too. Wasn’t that a Chuck E. Cheese ripoff? It’s still standing and a total eyesore. At this point I think it’s been closed at least twice as long as it was open.
Have you been back to the area recently? You would be surprised as to how the Sayrewoods Center looks now.
I’m confused. It was a dollar theater before it was twinned?
This was the theater my father took my brother and me to see the summer Disney festival in the early 70s. I don’t know what the price for tickets was back then (I was a little girl!) but I don’t think it was a dollar.
Also, when was it twinned? I’m pretty sure I remember seeing it twinned by the time I was a teenager (early 80s) and a 99 cent store by around 1984 or 1985.
Here is a little bit of info on the mystery theaters. It’s not much, but it’s all that turned up so far:
Scroll down a bit—both Cinema 9 and the Sayrewoods Theatre (which I believe is one of the two we’re looking for) are on the 1980 map. I’m not sure whether the Sayrewoods is the other XXX or the twin theatre off Ernston Road.
Ah-ha! Why didn’t I think of this before?
So the theater has probably been closed for a little over 18 months.
I’m off to find info on those other theaters!
Hi Robert :) Sorry it took me so long to reply to you.
I managed to get a quick look while driving on Route 9 this afternoon to see if the theatre resembled being open. From what I could gather at going 45 mph, there was brown paper covering on the doors and windows, and as I reported before, the theatre name was removed from the street marquee, as well as the sign from the building. It looks closed to me.
Interesting. It seems the more things change, the more they stay the same. I second thanking Ron for the photo link.
I remember walking into the alley during the spring of 1987. The theatre was already closed by then. It took me a while to find it tucked away in the alley. I wonder why it closed. Other than the Beacon Hill, which was on the edge of the Common, it was really the only theater downtown. Perhaps because it was hard to find?
Is the marquee still up? I remember a flea market setting up in the Pi Alley a year or two after it closed. It didn’t last long.
I believe the Nickelodeon was still thriving when I had to move out of the area at the end of the summer of 1999, however as I mentioned before they were starting to book more mainstream product. Wasn’t it only the last two years of its life once the Kendall Square Cinemas as well as the AMC in the Fenway that it had to struggle?
I could be wrong on this though—I didn’t start to have a major interest in film until about three years ago. :)
I have a two-part question that has always been hounding me: Is the theater name prounounced “Sherry” or “Sher-rEE?” And what is behind the name? Is it the theater owner’s daughter or maybe the owner just thought something French-sounding would be nice? If anyone could please solve this little mystery, you would much have my gratitude. :)
Does anyone know what is currently in the Nickelodeon space?
I remember seeing occasional mainstream product on the marquee in the mid-90s—usually a Woody Allen film or a chick flick or the like.
That was it—I knew it had something to do with the restaurant! Thanks Ian :)
As of May 1996 (after the closing of the 57), the only theatres in Boston proper were the Cheri, the Nickelodeon, and the Copley Place.
The Cheri got the potential blockbusters and the Nickelodeon got the art films. If the film was neither, it was rammed (literally) into the Copley Place.
I saw both Independence Day and Chain Reaction here. Both times the auditorium (don’t remember which except it was one of the larger ones) was packed. Independence Day might have even been a late-night showing. I thought it was a cute little theater and I miss it.
Boston may be a small city but it deserves more than two mundane multiplexes.
I believe it had something to do with the hotel building the theater was housed in, though I’m not sure exactly what. Maybe the hotel restaurant?
To me, it’s sad (but not surprising) that the Copley Place is the last of the theaters inside city limits that I knew from living in Boston from 1986 (as a college student) to 1999. From the mid-90s on, all Boston had was the Copley Place, the Cheri, and the Nickelodeon. If it wasn’t enough of a potential action blockbuster to play the Cheri, or arty enough for the Nickelodeon, the Copley Place is where it went. Which is why I saw most of my movies in Brighton and Chestnut Hill.
I know it’s a harsh thing to say, but IMHO good riddance when the Copley Place closes. I can’t believe that Loews played art films there after they closed the Nickelodeon.
I am happy that the Cheri has found new life :)
I wish Boston had a true art theatre to call its own.
A teeny correction on my last post…the marquee in the shopping center where the movies were displayed now showcases Petco in the lower part and Staples (in another part of the strip mall, not part of the theatre) where the Loews/Music Makers brand was.
Yes, you’re right—the demolished theatre was in a strip mall a bit further down on Route 9 going southbound. Demolished sometime in the early-mid 90s I believe. There’s an Old Country Buffet there now, but I think it’s a new construction.
I also recall there was a twin theatre diagonally across on Ernston Road, also long gone. When I moved to the area in 1981, I saw first-run movies on the marquee one week…the next week it was wiped clean except for the simple word “closed”. Do you remember anything about this theatre?
Robert, I don’t think there is one. The only theater on Route 9 between the Route 35 turnoff in South Amboy/Sayreville and Freehold is the Regal 8 in Marlboro, which was a typical multiplex last I checked :)
Now that you planted the seed in my mind, however, it is possible that the theater may still be in operation, only much more subdued (in other words, they no longer have their sign advertising on the highway). I could swear up and down the sports bar took over where the theatre was, but I could be wrong. If you can wait until Sunday night, I can take a zoom by closer to confirm one way or the other.
I hate to correct a listing, but I drive by what used to be Cinema 9 on the way to my job, and I can tell you it has been turned into a sports bar. I believe the theatre closed three or four years ago.
When I first moved to the area (this would be summer 1981), they were still playing first-run fare, but switched to porn a few months later, remaining so until it closed.
This theatre is now a Petco, and has been for quite a while. There’s no trace of its ever having shown movies. In fact, I shop there and often forget that myself :) What most likely killed this and the other theatre TMQ mentions were the 8-screeners at the nearby Freehold Raceway Mall (which did not exist until 1989) and Marlboro, the next town over (run by Regal, not Loews).
As for the other complex, it has been gutted to become a gym. My boyfriend works out there and I recall him telling me something about how he believes an upstairs cardio studio may have been the projection room. I can ask him again if you like.