Cameo Theatre

234 Robinson Street,
Binghamton, NY 13904

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The Cameo

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Cameo Theatre opened in the 1930’s to serve the Robinson Street neighborhood. It has a bird cage style box office, inside the lobby. The concession stand and restrooms are located in the rear of the auditorium. The theatre was operated for many years by Ken and Fran Robinson, who were very popular in the community.

In the 1980’s, Carroll’s Development leased the theatre and operated it. Caroll’s merged their operations with Nutmeg Theatres of CT to form CinemaNational. In 1987, that circuit sold to USA Cinemas, which, in 1988, was sold to Loews. Loews operated the theatre until 1993 when they opened the Town Square in nearby Vestal. At that time, they closed their four remaining single-screen operations in the Greater Binghamton area—The Cameo, Crest, Towne Endicott and Cinema Endicott.

The Cameo reopened under an independent, who installed DTS Sound. After not meeting with much success, the theater closed. Fran Robinson stepped back in and reopened the house and ran it for a few more years. It closed for the last time in 2002, and has been empty since.

Contributed by Joe Masher

Recent comments (view all 42 comments)

JennyAnne
JennyAnne on April 23, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Hello…can anyone tell me if Mrs. Robinson is still interested in selling the Cameo? Thank you!

Tonynap123
Tonynap123 on April 25, 2010 at 8:30 pm

hello,
As my friend and I have passed the cameo many times and always wondered about it we both are very interested in the cameo building. I would greatly consider helping re-opening the cameo or would help with repairs needed. maybe doing some minor altercations to help bring back that feelings from years past, maybe as well as making it into a art theatre just because there are so many actual movie theatres around this area. As well as not to many art theaters which may bring in a few more people than just a normal movie theater.

bobc007
bobc007 on December 26, 2010 at 11:55 am

I remember going to the Cameo to see “Blazing Saddles”. I think it was 1074. It was $1 to get in and the place was packed!

bobc007
bobc007 on December 26, 2010 at 11:57 am

My earlier posting should read 1974. Movies didn’t cost $1 in 1074!

DavidWallick
DavidWallick on December 27, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Use this link to see some current photos of the Cameo:

share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8AcMnLNo3Zt21q

If the link isn’t “clickable” you will need to copy and paste it to see the photos.

Liberty
Liberty on August 7, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Sadly Fran Robinson passed away yesterday 8/6/1011.For those of us who grew up with the Cameo we won’t soon forget her.Eastender

generalenigma
generalenigma on August 8, 2011 at 6:25 am

I just read the obituary in this morning’s Press & Sun-Bulletin. I want to express my sympathies to her family on her loss. She was a very nice lady & she, with her husband Kenneth, provided many years of happiness to the Triple Cities movie-going public. After Kenneth passed away, she continued that effort alone for many years. One her many accomplishments, which I complimented her on several times, was her successful bidding on “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” in 1979. As an independent theatre operator, she “beat out” the mighty Cinema National chain (which owned almost every other theatre in the Triple Cities!) for the exclusive right to show the film locally! I had the pleasure of speaking with her a couple of times over the past 3 years. After telling me each time that she didn’t know what she could tell me about the “old days” of the Triple Cities' theatre history, she spent better than half an hour bubbling over with her fond remembrances of her years in the movie business with Kenneth & later carrying on alone. She still went next door into the theatre regularly to be sure “everything was OK”. I also had the pleasure of stopping over to her house this past March to present her with pictures of Binghamton Classic Film’s (of which I am a member) annual display at the Broome County Library which featured several wonderful 8x10 color photos of The Cameo (including one night shot showing the lighted marquee of which Kenneth & she were so proud) & a huge newspaper article about her & The Cameo from 2000. I know her family, as well as many of us in the Triple Cities, will miss her. I hope her theatre will end up being acquired & hopefully reopened someday. Sincerely, Jim Macumber

DonLewis
DonLewis on September 29, 2012 at 4:57 pm

From the 1930s a photograph of the Cameo in Binghampton.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 31, 2012 at 5:23 pm

A chapter devoted to the Cameo Theatre in volume 2 of Jack Edward Shay’s Bygone Binghamton: Remembering People and Places of the Past (Google Books preview– chapter begins on page 35) says that the house opened in April, 1928. Its best-remembered proprietors, Ken and Frances Robinson, took over operation in 1954, and bought the house in 1957.

ManagerGreg
ManagerGreg on August 25, 2013 at 7:13 pm

I was 7 when I had my first visit to the Cameo was to see Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979. The next film I saw was Star Trek IV: The Undiscovered Country in 1991. My mother grew up on that side of town and the used to call the place “Kenny’s Cow Palace” in reference to the large barn hall feel.

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