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Bird’s Hall is listed under East Walpole MA in the 1927 Film Daily Yearbook. It was said to have 200 seats and was open 2 nights per week.
The Park must have opened after 1941 because it’s not listed in the MGM Theatre reports. There was an earlier movie operation in East Walpole which is listed in the 1927 Film Daily Yearbook. It was Bird’s Hall, address not given, 200 seats, open 2 days per week.
I drove by today and noted that an ancient, battered old upright piano has been moved outside and placed under the front overhand to keep it out of the rain. I wondered if this was the piano used for music during the showing of silient films there.
That’s a great idea, Comf. Cool ! How about “Entertainment Venue World”, or “Cinema & Stage Treasures”? Thousands of additional buildings could be listed here.
Stretching CT’s rules doesn’t bother me. (I recall that someone once set up a page here for a highschool auditorium somewhere). I like to see the CT database growing. I think that there should be a sub-program in CT called “Stage Treasures” for all the legit theaters, opera houses and concert halls.
There was an earlier “Huntington Avenue Theatre”. That was the original name of the Strand Theatre at 175 Huntington Avenue which was a popular neighborhood cinema which lasted into the 1960s. Its name was changed to “Strand” about 1921.
Norm Lindway is correct: at the Strand Theatre in Quincy MA, up on the mezzanine lounge level, there was a soda machine circa-1950. You put your dime in the slot, pressed your selection of soda, a paper cup dropped in place, followed by a sluice of ice, followed by the soda itself. Then you drank it right there, gassy fizz and all – no taking it to your seat. This machine was in addition to the concession stand in the inner lobby, which sold fresh popcorn and candy.
The news that the new building next to the theater will have an open balcony for theater patrons, weather permitting, reminds me of another Boston theater which had such a feature: the Shubert across from the Wang Th. on Tremont St. At the north end of the corridor behind the second balcony there was a small open terrace which could hold about 20 or more people during intermissions. Most were smokers, as smoking was very common back then (1940s-50s). I went out there many times and there was a good view from the railing of the Met across the street, the Wilbur, and the Plymouth/Gary Theatre. 2nd balcony tickets for Saturday matinees cost only $1.20. I used to go with my older brother, or with friends from school who were both movie fans and stage fans. We liked the very popular musicals of that day, such as “Oklahoma!”, “South Pacific”, “King and I”, “Guys and Dolls”, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, etc., and also the revues, such as “New Faces” and “Ziegfeld Follies”. The difference between going to the movies and going to live shows was that buying tickets in advance was a must, and you had to dress up in jacket, tie and shined shoes (no jeans and sneakers). They used to play the national anthem at the start of the show, a practice which died out after the 1950s. (They still play it at sports events).
These shows were 100% acoustic, with no “mics”.
Another theater with an open terrace upstairs is the State Theatre at Lincoln Center in New York.
The print edition of today’s Boston Herald has a feature article about the planned building with 2 “shopped” photos of the site. The new building’s facade is stepped back slightly so that it adjoins the facade of the theater. There will be a lobby entrance in the new building, plus a theater cafe, and a second floor foyer, event space and even an open-air balcony overlooking the street. The theater name will be changed to “Huntington Avenue Theatre” on July 1st.
In the photo section there are 2 photos taken of the Park’s fancy facade in its early days as a “motion picture” theater. This facade was part of the building which preceeded the Crabtree Building – that’s why it doesn’t look at all like the facade in the later State Theatre photos. I once saw a photo of the Park entrance taken after it was built in 1879 and the entrance was through an old house-like structure something like the old Boston Globe Corner Bookstore at the northwest corner of Washington & School streets.
Yes, there was a State II adult cinema located in a storefront in the Crabtree Building and not part of the State Theatre itself, but probably under the same management.
Yes, the State II was in a storefront near the State Theatre entrance, and was definitely not carved out of the State itself. There were a number of these small porno cinemas located in storefronts in those days.
Refurbishment recently finished on the Cameo. There are larger new seats, new carpets and drapes, paint, etc. Seating capacity was reduced by about 100. The marquee is to be repaired next. The owners still also operate cinemas in Scituate and East Bridgewater, and they both still work at their day jobs. There is an article about the Cameo with 3 color photos in the print edition of the Patriot-Ledger, Mon. May 8, 2017.
It’s great that the THS collection is in a purpose-renovated building which can offer a safe repository for archives and which has a downtown location. For many years the collection was housed in unsafe and insecure out-of-the way locations.
Channel 7 Boston local TV news had a short item which stated that prior to opening in January 2018, various refurbishment and updates would take place in the Colonial.
jmadore- thanks for providing update and additional information. At the time I set this page up I wrote to the theater mgr for more info, but never received a reply.
I toured this venue with a Theatre Historical Society group in 1989, and also went to a couple of concerts there. Never to a movie. At one concert I was seated in somewhat of a circle around the main floor seats; the floor was wood. When the gigantic organ opened up, the vibrations from the bass came right up through the floor into the soles of my shoes. Amazing! And it’s a very impressive old building.
Effective Nov. 1st the parent organization running the Wang Theatre (and the Shubert Theatre across the street) will be the Boch Center for the Perf. Arts. Ernie Boch Jr owns automobile dealerships started by his late father, runs a rock band, and is a pop music historian. So the theater names will be “Boch Wang” and “Boch Shubert”.
Ron- I’m not sure about that- I have never seen anything listed here in recent years. One activity inside is “deconstruction” – removal of anything that does not fit in to a restored theater. Anyone who comes by while there is a work party inside is welcome to look around.
There will be an open house at the State Th. on Sat. 6/18 from 10AM. They have open houses occasionally to maintain community support. Work continues on various projects inside waiting for the day when major financial help arrives. Meanwhile, Avocados, a popular new Mexican restaurant in Whitman, is about to open a location in Stoughton, right next to the State’s entrance.
The business page of today’s Boston Herald reports that the deal-making began in March and that Boston University will sell the theater for $25M to a real estate developer who is working on behalf of the Huntington Theatre Company. The building of sets and scenery on-site will be moved elsewhere and the space will be developed into retail on the ground floor and housing above. There will be some refurbishment of the theater. Yes, almost certainly the theater’s name will be changed, probably to “Huntington Theatre”.
Ron Newman- Plans are not firm to build anything on the site- Owner is mulling possibilities. He purchased the theater to raze it or convert it into a large Asian foodmarket, but then his original older plan to convert a factory in N. Quincy has recently been approved after a long struggle. So now he has two sites. There are vague plans to save and sell off some artifacts from the “Wolly” at some future date. See Quincy Patriot Ledger, Sat. June 4 2016 edition.
Demolition began about June 1st. First action was to remove the seats, then they began to gut out the interior. The failure to save “The Wolly” all boils down to one important thing: $$$$ Money $$$.
Yes, Spectrum is correct- the Town Hall auditorium was used as a commercial cinema and is listed in some of the old Film Daily yearbooks.
The building which contained the Pi Alley cinema is to be demolished at some future date so that the parcel can be “redeveloped”. I learned this from the business news in the Boston Herald.