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The Gentry closed in 2014, soon after “re-opening”.
It really should be listed as “Cinema Center” since that’s how it was known for 30 years, first under Lockwood & Gordon and later under SBC Theatres. Hoyts purchased in late 90s and ran it into the ground due to poor management & lack of upkeep. For several years, between maybe 1970-1985….it was notable as the highest-grossing theatre complex in all of New England/ per person based on the size of the community.
The Jerry Lewis Cinema had a difficult time getting it’s footing because the 4-screen cinema across town had much more booking power. The Jerry Lewis did have a few successful multi-week runs with “Lovers and Other Strangers”, “Little Big Man”, “Airport 1979” and “Andromeda Strain” and a few John Wayne features including “Rio Lobo” and “Big Jake”. It was much more successful as a hardcore porn house with multi week sold-out runs of fare such as Deep Throat, The Devil & Miss Jones & Debbie Does Dallas.
The State Theatre remained open until 1969/70. It was the only theatre in town for a couple of years after the Haines theatre burned down. It was also a Lockwood & Gordon Theatre. When Cinema 1 & 2 opened in 1968, the State began showing double features & second-runs. In 1969-70 it ran a lot of softcorn porn and weekend kiddie matinees. After it closed it became “Steve’s Restaurant” (still open as of 2016]– , not the Silver Street Tavern which is a few doors down. When Lockwood & Gordon’s Cinema 1 & 2 expanded to 4 screens in 1971/72….the State closed soon afterwards. Charles Champine was the district manager for both theatres as well as for the Saco Drive In, Portland Twin Drive In, Lewiston & Auburn Drive Ins, Skowhegan Drive In and Strand Theatre Skowhegan. Also the Farmington State Theatre and the Winslow Drive In Theatre.
I remember Bruce Gallagher, he was a great guy. His boss was Charles Champine, who as of 2014 was still living in Waterville (and another great guy).
Lockwood & Gordon built this twin cinema after the Haines theatre downtown burned to the ground. It was first opened as “Cinema 1 and 2” and later re-named “Cinema Center” when 2 additional screens were added. Did not have rocking chair seats but they did recline (red seats in all auditoriums). Longest-running feature was “Smokey and the Bandit” at 26 weeks, (and it returned several times afterwards) biggest bomb was “Harold and Maude”(3days, 17 patrons).
Cinema 1 was the setting for a riot in the mid 70’s when “Midnight shows” became a popular fad. “Night of the Living Dead” oversold and unruly patrons overturned the boxoffice and broke windows.
Waterville was also home to one of the few “Jerry Lewis Cinemas” which became the “PLaza Cinema” and eventually a porn house. It was located on Upper Main Street where “Arby’s” is currently located and seated 325.
It was a Lockwood/Gordon Theatre and then part of SBC Theatres out of Massachusetts (Doug Amos). It was managed for years by a couple named Ouellette who also lived in an apartment over the theatre. It was single screen until 2006.