Center Theatre

339 Main Street,
Hyannis, MA 02601

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The Idle Hour Theatre opened in around 1911 (it was certainly operating by October 1911). It was re-named Center Theatre in the 1930’s. It was badly damaged by a fire on December 23, 1971, and was totally destroyed by another fire in 1972. The land has remained vacant ever since. This theatre was located next to the Hibel Museum of Art in downtown Hyannis, Massachusetts.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

crownx
crownx on December 18, 2005 at 11:25 am

It seems that you have searched out most of the info in the Idle Hour /Center . I was manager of the Center Theater in 1954 and projectionist in later years. It indeed was built as Idle Hour and changed to Center (Year unknown) It was operated by Interstate Theaters, Boston. The fire that demolished the theater in 71-71 is correct. Ir was burned once in 1971. Started by vagrants who had broken in and set fire to the stage area. And again burned before it was finally torn completely down. It has been a vacant lot for many years.
The Center theater was the drop off point for many cans of film destined for showing at the home of Joseph P. Kennedy. His home in Hyannisport included a theater.
The Center was a first run theater. I remember Sound of Music had an extensive run there.
I submitted this theater on Cinema Treasures under Center Hyannis.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on July 11, 2007 at 7:09 pm

A postcard view of the Idle Hour Theatre during the silent era:
www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/idlehourpc.jpg

kevinp
kevinp on November 11, 2007 at 1:25 pm

Another post-card from my own collection. Enjoy

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevp/1964704118/

VintageGirl
VintageGirl on January 22, 2008 at 5:01 am

My grandfather grew up on the Cape and somehow acquired an Idlehour Poster. He said it came from an old movie theater that he use to go too and told us it burned down. The poster is from 1929 featuring several “talking pictures” the most famous person listed poster is Gloria Swanson staring in “The Trespasser”. Other movies include, “Acquitted”, and “Jazz Heaven”.

MichelleT
MichelleT on June 21, 2008 at 10:26 pm

My husband and I recently dined at Alberto’s Ristorante on Main St in Hyannis with his 93 yr old grandmother. We conversed about the shops that used to be located on Main Street in the old days. Across the street from the restaurant is “Jack’s Drum Shop”. The vacant lot to the left of the drum shop was where the Idle Hour Cinema was located. The theatre was owned (at some time or another, in-part or otherwise) by my husband’s great-grandfather Harold Hammett and Jack Collins. More info to come after some more research…perhaps another luncheon with “Gram” is in order.

MomJmouse
MomJmouse on April 10, 2010 at 12:32 am

The Idle Hour Theater became the Center Theater during the 1930s.

From Hy FD website: Dec 23 ‘71 – A mid day fire heavily damaged the Center Theater on Main Street. July 2 '72 – A general alarm fire destroyed the previously damaged Center Theater on Main Street. Mutual aid responded from several communities to prevent the fire from spreading to nearby structures.

Here is a picture of the Centre Food Market c1950. To the immediate left a movie poster on the front of the theater can be seen. View link

MomJmouse
MomJmouse on April 11, 2010 at 1:45 am

I found an even better picture of the Center Theater c1950.
View link

DonLewis
DonLewis on July 22, 2010 at 4:23 am

From the early 1900s a picture postcard of the Idle Hour Theatre in Hyannis before it became the Center Theater.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 10, 2010 at 7:45 pm

The 1927 Film Daily Yearbook lists the Idle Hour Theatre in Hyannis as having 500 seats, open 6 days/week.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 10, 2010 at 7:55 pm

There was a MGM Theatre Report for the Center Theatre in Hyannis, with an exterior photo dated May 1941. The Report says the Center (which they spell “Centre”) was on Main St., was a MGM customer and had been playing MGM product for one year; was built in 1940 (that’s when it was apparently remodeled), was in Excellent condition, and had 570 seats on the main floor and 134 balcony seats. Total: 704.

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