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This venue has been open during the Summer 2015 season. “Someone Who Was There” visited last week; also saw the fairly new performing arts center there in Rockport – the Shalin Liu Performance Center.
Yes, the Community Theatre was located in the upstairs auditorium of the Blue Hill Town Hall, at 18 Union Street. This venue is a live theater today.
The Broadway Theatre building will be 100 years old in October 2015. Mudflat Studio plans celebratory events in late-October.
Megan Pinette of the Belfast Historical Society Museum informed me that the City Theatre was located in the lower level of the old North Church building at 143 Church St. It had nothing to do with the Belfast Opera House. The church was purchased in 1926 by a local American Legion post which is still there today.
Joe Vogel- Yes, the original entrance was narrow and on the left. Had a small marquee above. You can view the 1941 MGM photo on the THS website, in the “New England Special Collection”, Card # 427.
mhvbear’s comments make sense of the 1987 photo in Marquee Magazine which I mentioned above. The photographer was concentrating on the facade of the Fine Arts II and did not include the entrance (to the left) of the Fine Arts I/ Capitol since it had closed around 1976/77.
There is a live theatre company in Blue Hill today called the New Surry Theatre. They perform “upstairs in the Blue Hill Town Hall.” The address is Union Street, not Main Street. If this is the same Town Hall that was in use in 1941 then possibly it was the location of the Community Theatre cinema.
The Theatre Historical Society on-line archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the Community Theatre; it’s Card # 345. Address is Main St. There is an exterior photo taken Jan. 30, 1941. Condition is Poor. The report says it opened in 1915, was showing MGM films, and had 400 seats. The 1940 population was 1,300.
The Theatre Historical Society archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the New Folly; it’s Card # 355.Address is “Main St.” (Incorrect – it seems that whenever the MGM agent couldn’t recall the name of a street, he merely wrote “Main St.” on the report). There is an exterior photo dated Dec. 31, 1941. Name of theater is “New”, which was incorrect. Condition is Poor. The report says it opened in 1916, was showing MGM films, and had 220 seats. The 1940 population was 660.
Joe- I agree. In the 1987 photo, it looks like it’s open. Don King, the author of the 1991 article in Marquee Magazine (THSA) about Portland theaters says that when the Fine Arts opened in 1959, it proved very popular. There are probably many people today who remember this theater, that’s why I’m surprised that it was not listed here in CT.
I checked the MGM photo. The entrance and marquee were to the left of a Western Auto store. The entrance was one story high, and to the rear and directly above can be seen the facade of Kotzschmar Hall. The Western Auto store was also one story and non-descript in appearance. This photo dates from 1941. Then I checked a photo on page 11 of Marquee Magazine, 1991, first quarter. The photo dates from 1987. You cannot see the old Capitol entrance (it’s out of the frame). The Fine Arts facade is where the Western Auto was in 1941. To its right is the fancy building (library?) To the left-rear is the Kotzschmar facade. In today’s Google view, the fancy building is still there, on the right. The big black facade is the old Fine Arts facade. Everything to the left is gone, including the Kotzschmar facade. So it looks like only the front of the Fine Arts is still there; the rest is gone.
The Theatre Historical Society on-line archive has the MGM Theatre Report for this theater when it was the Capitol. It’s Card # 427. Address is Congress St. (no street number listed). There is an exterior photo dated May 1941. Condition is Fair. The report states that it’s over 15 years old, and was showing MGM films. There were 385 orchestra seats and 150 balcony seats, total 535 seats.
The Theatre Historical Society archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the Maine Theatre; it’s Card # 429. Address is 637 Congress St. There is an exterior photo taken May 1941. Condition is Fair. The report says that the theater is under 15 years old, was showing MGM movies, and had 889 seats.
The Colby published printed programs; some of these can be found for sale on e-Bay. The most recent one that I found listed was for a week in 1949. A town anniversary parade in Colby (around April 2012) passed certain old buildings in town, and the Colby was one of them. So, still standing as of 2012, use unknown. Also, exact address unknown to me.
The Theatre Historical Society on-line archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the Colby; it’s Card # 344. Address is Main St. (no street number listed). There is an exterior photo dated May 22, 1941. Condition is Good. The report says that the Colby opened in 1940, was not showing MGM films, and had 386 seats. The 1940 population was 1,200.
The Belfast Opera House is listed in the 1897-98 edition of the Juilius Cahn theatrical guide. It was an “upstairs house” on the second floor, and had 800 seats which is twice as many as the City Theatre had in 1941.
In the Google Street View of 111 Church St., one can clearly see that the arched entrance at the right end of the building is marked “Opera House”. The 1941 MGM report card lists the address as just “Church St.” with no street number. The photo on the card looks nothing like the building in this street view. This suggests that the City Theatre and the Opera House are not the same.
The Theatre Historical Society archive has the MGM Theatre Report for this theater when it was the Park; it’s Card # 438. Address is 12 Park St. There is an exterior photo taken May 1941. Condition is Fair. The report says it’s over 15 years old and was showing MGM product. It had 500 orhestra seats and 307 balcony. The 1940 population was 8,800.
The Theatre Historical Society archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the City Theatre; it’s Card # 341. Address is Church St. There is an exterior photo dated March 4, 1941. There were big trees growing right next to the theater. Condition is Fair. The report says that the City opened in 1937, was not showing MGM films, and had 400 seats. A competing theater was the Colonial. 1940 population was 5,500.
The Theatre Historical Society archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the Strand; it’s Card # 346. Address is “Main St.” (incorrect). There is an exterior photo dated March 1941. Condition is Good. The report says it’s over 15 years old, was showing MGM films, and had 1,088 seats. The 1940 population was 2,000.
There was an old horse stable on Oak Street which was renovated into the Rollaway Rink, a roller-skating rink. The building measured 60 feet X 135 feet. This rink was renovated into the Empire Theatre, which opened on Oct. 8, 1913. It had a small balcony, and possibly a small stage as well. At the time it opened, it was supposedly the only movie theater in Portland which was on the ground floor and not “upstairs”. This info is from a feature article on Portland theaters by the theater historian Donald C. King which appeared in THSA “Marquee” Magazine, 1991- first quarter.
Warren S. tells me that he lived in North Abington until 1942 just a very short walk from the rail station and the theater. He went to the movies there many times. He says that it was packed, mostly with kids, during Saturday matinees. He can’t remember the ticket price but says it could have been no more than 25 cents. There were 2 feature films, a serial, some cartoons, and sometimes a newsreel. He doesn’t remember what the proper name of the theater was.
I should point out that when the Acadia was put up for sale, there was a stipulation that commercial movies could not be exhibited there. So, even if they wanted to, the VFW in 1942 could not have run it as a movie theater.
JohnnyC- Yes, I know about the Cinema Data Project. It has extensive lists of theaters in Maine, NH and VT. I have gleaned a great deal of info, mostly accurate, from it. Thanks.
The Acadia made it into the 1946 Film Daily Yearbook which implies it was still open then. But it wasn’t open. It apparently was leased to the Strand sometime in the 1930s and they closed it. It’s unclear if it reopened, but the MGM agent in 1941 stated that it was open. It was sold to the local VFW in 1942 for use as a clubhouse. Externally, it was a nice-looking theater.