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I have heard that there is a project at the Music Hall to fit the facade with some sort of colorful marquee. The theater sits on a narrow side street and does not have much visibility downtown.
At one of the internet auction sites recently there was a lot of 16 old theater programs; 14 were from New York theaters, one was a program for a play in 1910 at the Park Theatre on Washington St. in Boston (later, the Trans Lux/ State), and one was for a 1911 touring show at the Rockland Opera House.
Two THS members went inside the Art around March 2005 while scouting for the 2006 Boston convention of THS. It was operating at the time. I was not with them. The entrance was on the far right of the building with a nice staircase going up one flight. The proscenium and stage were at the left end of the building. They stated that there was a second screen in the balcony, however the visitor in 2008 reported that the auditorium was whole. Anyway, the front wall of the building served as the left sidewall of the theater.
The problem is that the THS finds these news items in newspapers and then reprints them in their newswire and then transfers them here to CT. The items make sense to local readers reading their local newspaper, but they don’t make sense to us in CT because there is little or no identification of city/town. CT readers post complaints about it, but obviously no one at THS reads these complaints!
There will be competition in the future for this cinema because this week ground was broken for the big “The Hub” building on Causeway street on the site of the old North Station and the old Boston Garden. The first phase of The Hub will include a 60,000 sq.ft. Star Market and a 60,000 sq. ft. 15-screen ArcLight Boston cinema. There will also be a music hall for live acts run by Don Law & Ed Kane. This news is from a long article in the business section of today’s Boston Herald.
Mike L., who grew up in Rockland (b. 1937) and was an avid movie fan there in the 1940s and early-1950s, had no knowledge at all of the Rockland Opera House. He did not even hear about it until he was an adult. He doesn’t know exactly where it was located. When we talked about it a few years ago, he attempted to contact someone he knew who was very much into town history, only to learn that she had recently passed away. Another opportunity lost.
Yes, because only a real “political Junkie” from outside New Hampshire would have ever heard of the Manchester Union Leader, a paper infamous many years ago for its blatant racism (since cleaned up). The fact remains that these news stories should have the city, and state/province/country on them. There have been complaints posted here in CT several times in the past but no one seems to have read them.
The THS transfers these news stories to CT from their on-line newsletter. Doesn’t anyone there read them? Do they think that readers know in what city the Union Leader newspaper is located? The lead sentence should say “The Manchester NH Union Leader…” Then readers would know that the story is about the Palace in Manchester NH. Basic journalism.
There was an earlier Rockland Opera House which became Hibernia Hall, a social/fraternal facility. It may have been located at 279 Union St. (not sure of that). The opera house was on a long list of theaters and halls in Massachusetts which received state licenses during 1920. John Bowler was Mgr. then.
The Rockland Opera House was listed in the 1927 Film Daily Yearbook as having 500 seats and open 2 days per week. Competition was the new Strand Theatre in Rockland. The reduced seating capacity may have been due to the fact that the balcony was closed permenantly.
The Rockland Opera House is listed in the 1897-98 edition of the Julius Cahn Official Theatrical Guide. It had 985 seats, electric illumination, and was located on the second floor. The proscenium opening was 26 feet wide X 17 feet high, and the stage was 30 feet deep. Edward Wicher was Mgr; There were 2 weekly newspapers and 4 hotels for show folk. The 1897 population was 7,000.
There is a new book about Boston streetcars in the period 1950-1964 which contains many brilliant photos made from old color slides. There is a photo of an outbound trolley train on the Arborway line taken in front of the Boston Opera House. The right side of the facade shows, including the entrance to the second balcony at the right corner. There are 2 things that surprise me: the date of the photo, April 16 1958 and the fact that there is no demolition fence or barrier in place. At that time, I was in uptown Boston almost on a daily basis. In my trip log I noted “Jan. 13- Wreckers are on-site (at the Opera House)”; “Jan. 24 – Rear stage wall gone”; Feb. 3 (no notation). If the date on the photo is correct then it is amazing that the front of the theater was still intact as of April 16, 1958.
The Boston Herald of Jan. 14, 2016 had a lengthy feature with color photos of 4 cool places in eastern-MA to see movies. One of the four was the Plimouth Cinema which they point out is open year-round. The others were the Orpheum in Chatham, which has a special film package going on now; the Brattle in Cambridge, and the Coolidge Corner in Brookline.
The Opera House is listed under Colorado Springs in the 1897-98 edition of the Julius Cahn Official Theatrical Guide. S.N. Nye was Mgr. 870 seats. Tickets 50 cents to $1.50. The theater had both gas and electric illumination and was on the first floor. The proscenium opening was 24 feet wide X 18 feet high, and the stage was 45 feet deep. There were 7 members of the house orchestra. Hotels for show folk were the Antlers, Alamo, Elk and Spalding. The 1897 population was 15,000.
Yes, Donald Trump had a rally at the Flynn. According to the news, 2,000 people showed up with tickets, although the place only has 1,400-plus seats. In the old show-biz days, printing and distributing more tickets than seats was called “Papering the house”.
There was a Narrow Gauge Motel in Alamosa CO years ago which derived its name from the local railroad which had a track-gauge of 3 feet. The Narrow Gauge Cinema in Farmington celebrates the old Sandy River Line there which had a track-gauge (distance between the rails) of only 2 feet. Some of the patronage at Farmington’s theaters, stores and hotels undoubtedly arrived from the north on the Sandy River trains.
Also showing movies in Princton was the 200-seat Opera House on Main Street, which operated from the 1920s into the 1950s. “Lakeview” may have been a new name for the old Opera House, but I’m not sure of that. The CinemaData Project has seperate files for the Opera House and the Lakeview in Princeton.
The Theatre Historical Society archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the Lakeview; it’s Card # 435. But no one filled the report out, so there is no info, only an undated exterior photo probably taken sometime between 1946 and 1951.
Portage and Portage Lake appear to be parts of the same community and have the same Zip Code. The Town Hall today is at 20 School St. The CinemaData Project page for the Town Hall theater points out that in the 1946 edition of the Film Daily Yearbook it was called the “Pastime Theatre”.
The Theatre Historical Society archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the Community Theatre; it’s Card # 357. There is no street listed. There is an exterior photo dated August 4, 1947. The photo depicts a 3-story wood-frame building. The report says that it opened in 1910 and had 250 seats. The population was 1,400.
The Theatre Historical Society on-line archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the Town Hall in Portage; it’s Card # 426. No street is listed. There is an exterior photo taken July 30, 1947. The report says the theater opened in 1925 and had 165 seats. The 1940s population was 773.
The CinemaData Project lists the Opera House in Stockholm as being on Main Street and operating from the 1920s into the 1950s. They also list the Stockholm Theatre as a seperate theater, but I don’t think it was.
The Theatre Historical Society archive has the MGM Theatre Report for a “Limestone Theatre” in Limestone; it’s Card # 395. But no one filled the form out; there is only an undated exterior photo. I cannot find a reference to a Limestone Theatre anywhere, so I believe that the card was for the Scenic Theatre in Limestone. There was also a Star Theatre in Limestone on Main St. with about 200 seats. Was the Star another name for the Scenic, or were they two seperate theaters?
The Theatre Historical Society archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the Stockholm; it’s Card # 448. Street is not given. There is an exterior photo taken July 31, 1947. Condition is not given. Seating capacity is 195.
This theater is not open every day so a visitor needs to call ahead. It’s interesting that when it was built in 1912 to replace the old Russ Music Hall it had 750 fewer seats. Was this because the 1912 population was smaller due to the fact that the granite industry on Deer Isle was not as busy as it had been in the 1880s when the Russ Music Hall was built?