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The exhibit was… astounding. The original blueprints were found and used to build a three dimensional model of the auditorium. A Wurlitzer Style E Console (same as it originally had) was on display, with actual recordings of the organ from 1927 made by Edison Records and never released! The National Park Service had found them. The exhibit covered every decade, even the dark and dank 70’s and 80’s era… with a few highlights like when they managed to get Jaws and sell the place out every night. The theater manager in the 80’s saved the posters, including the Ghostbusters poster that hung out front for months. (Not a poster, THE poster from THIS theater). The best had to be the 1940’s when the theater brought back the lives shows and ran through a different show every week with A-names in the cast like Helen Hayes, Ethel Barrymore, Tallulah Bankhead, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Robeson, Teresa Wright (who lived in Maplewood!) among endless more. The climax was the first revival of the thus-far-failed Porgy and Bess where Cheryl Crawford cut down the opera into a musical which was moved to Broadway after leaving Maplewood. Amazingly, there were photographs of these productions from the Billy Rose Library… as well as huge clippings binders reviewing every show. The exhibit was simply everything this theater deserved and more.
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Remember or hear family tales about the Maplewood Theater’s glory days? The Durand Hedden House and Garden Association wants to hear from you! In preparation for a forthcoming exhibit, Durand Hedden is collecting pictures, ephemera, and anecdotes about the Maplewood Theater’s 86 year run. Did you happen snap a Polaroid when Ghostbusters was playing? Found something on eBay you want to share with the world? Even as much as an old ticket stub, we want it! Stories and memories are also welcome. Contact
Another article on 100th birthday. (The building is even older)
If you want to see some great photos of this place, find a library with a copy of American Architect December 1932. It has a multi page spread from when it was still the RKO Roxy. Lots of great detail shots of things like the ashtrays, drinking fountains, and various lounges.
The IOKA will be auctioned on Thursday!
I posted some pictures including a handbill from 1936, some exterior shots from 60’s/70’s, an interior shot from about 5 years ago (Manager let me pop a ceiling tile and shoot the original ceiling)… and best of all, Bill Bojangles Robinson on stage in the 1940’s. Yes, that is Mr. Bojangles, and the show is “The Hot Mikado”. Glory days of the Maplewood Theater were the early 40’s that’s for sure.
Screen 3 was recently raised by 10 feet to accomdate today’s larger vehicles! Now who saw that coming?
Someone had the forethought to save a chunk of this theater… a massive head which is now on the campus of St. Anselm college, in nearby Goffstown NH. A rough replica of the marquee is in the Manchester Historic Society’s new millyard Museum. Manchester misses this one.