Strand Theatre

12 Chestnut Street,
Quincy, MA 02169

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 9, 2014 at 3:31 pm

The September 24, 1926, issue of Motion Picture News had this item:

“Fred B. Murphy has named his new theatre at Chestnut and Maple streets, Quincy, the Quincy-Strand. Orders have been placed for his marquee and electric sign and the opening will be within the next three to four weeks.”
The September 11 issue of the same publication ran this update:
“Fred S. Murphy’s new theatre in Quincy, Mass., opens for the first time on Labor Day with a program of pictures and vaudeville. It seats approximately 1,500.”
The September 25 issue carried a longer article about the openings of the Quincy-Strand and the Mark-Capitol Theatre at Everett, Massachusetts. Here is the portion dealing with the Quincy-Strand:
“THE Stanley-Mark Strand interests have opened two new theatres in Massachusetts, the Quincy-Strand at Quincy and the Mark-Capitol at Everett. The former seats about 1,800 and the latter 2,300, thus adding 4,100 seats to the Stanley-Mark interests within a week.

“The Quincy-Strand was erected by ex-Mayor William A. Bradford and leased for a long term of years to the Quincy-Mark Strand Co., of which Fred B. Murphy, who is active manager of the house, is president; Joseph B. Levenson is treasurer and Morris Sharaf, vice-president. The theatre is located at Hancock and Chestnut streets, Quincy Square. The American Seating Co. did the seating, a Wurlitzer organ is installed. Simplex projection machines are used and Ray Stewartson’s Broadcasting orchestra supplies the musical numbers. The house is of first-class construction throughout, seating 1,000 on the floor and 800 in the single balcony.

“There was no formal opening of the new theatre and a ten-year-old boy, Edward Pearlin, of Quincy, who stood in line six hours and went without his supper, had the honor of getting the first ticket. There were no speeches and the management’s announcements were made on the screen. The policy is straight pictures, continuous performance from 1.30 to 10.30 p.m. daily.

“Both theatres are equipped with ample stages so that full stage productions or vaudeville may be presented at any time. Roth houses have eleven exits and both are of first class construction.”

Although the article doesn’t give the opening dates for either theater, this comment by barrygoodkin on our page for the Capitol Theatre in Everett cites a reliable source for the opening of that house on September 6, 1926, so they both opened on the same day.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 25, 2011 at 10:55 am

In the Street View photo, the Stand was located in the parking lot on the right side of the street, behind the hedges and fence.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 27, 2011 at 10:49 am

The old building right next to the Strand, on its left, was recently demolished. So now there is one big lot there waiting for “development”.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on March 8, 2009 at 10:08 am

Parts from the Strand’s Wurlitzer organ have been incorporated into the “Mighty Wurlitzer” now being installed in the Hanover Theatre in Worcester.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on December 24, 2008 at 7:34 am

Denis- without actually going to look at the building, I’m 99% certain that the Howard Johnson’s was located in the Granite Trust building, but in a wing that stretched back from the tower itself in the front. I went there often at lunch time on Saturdays circa- late 1950s. It was right across Chestnut Street from the Strand.

Denis Vaughn
Denis Vaughn on December 23, 2008 at 5:00 pm

I used to work in the Granite Trust building, as a short-order cook at the Howard Johnsons restaurant located on the ground floor (his first “real” restaurant, it even had a liquor license). At least I think it was in the bank building, or maybe next door – it was a long time ago. Anyway, we would have a tidal flow of customers based on the schedule of movies at the Strand. Often after work I would go over to the Strand to watch a film, never thinking that a short-order cook brings with him all the semi-delightful fragrances of the greasy kitchen. I hope I didn’t offend any of you…

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on December 23, 2008 at 11:30 am

One Sunday morning sometme in the 1960s, Richard Cardinal Cushing of Boston held an ecumenical church service in the Strand. I think it may have been the first time I heard the word “ecumenical”. The Cardinal was a promoter of interfaith activities. The theater was probably chosen becasue it was “neutral ground”, and he may have sponsored similar meetings at other Boston-area movie theaters.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 4, 2008 at 10:51 am

To sedgwick- the “blacklisted” or banned Eugene O'Neill play was “Strange Interlude” and, after being “Banned in Boston” (at the Hollis Street Theatre near the Shubert and Wang) it played in Quincy at the Quincy Theatre (later the Capitol), a short walk from the Strand.

sedgwick
sedgwick on May 7, 2008 at 3:12 pm

Drezniak was the local new wave/pop band that held two performances there before the owners tried to bring the Plasmatics. The promoter was Jack Hoffman, Abbie Hoffman’s brother. That was the last events held at the Strand. That owner, Tony Delpidio’s (sp?) brother or cousin today owns niteclub The Roxy in the Boston Theatre District. I also know that a Eugene O'Neill play was blacklisted there in the early days.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 21, 2007 at 10:46 am

In the 1942-43 Motion Picture Almanac, the Strand in Quincy is listed as part of the Levenson Circuit of Boston. Headed by Joseph Levenson, the circuit also ran the Alhambra (Art) and Quincy (Capitol) theatres in Quincy, as well as the Coolidge Corner and Brookline theatres in Brookline and the South Station Theatre in Boston. Plus 6 others.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 20, 2007 at 10:39 am

Yes, it’s the lot on the east side of Chestnut Street just a few steps away from where Chestnut Street ends in Quincy Square, and directly across from the east side of the Art Deco landmark office tower. Richard T. LeBreque, writing in the Quincy Patriot Ledger of April 20, 1962, states that the Strand was built in 1925 by a former mayor of Quincy named William A. Bradford. The Strand presented the first “Talkie” movie in Quincy, Lionel Barrymore in “The Lion and the Mouse” (Vitaphone). Unfortunately, he doesn’t give the date.

mb848
mb848 on June 5, 2007 at 2:10 pm

Actually, the site is still a parking lot. It is located across from the Granite Trust building on the other side of Chestnut Street.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on January 31, 2007 at 1:52 pm

The property is now a brick building across from a small shopping center.

DennisJOBrien
DennisJOBrien on January 11, 2007 at 5:48 pm

Yes, this cinema seemed to always have double features. It would get the first-run movies after they had been playing in downtown Boston. For example, we saw “My Fair Lady” here in what must have been a general release across the nation after it won the Best Picture (of 1964) Academy Award in the spring of 1965. It had a big screen and the sound was good. I remember seeing “Midnight Cowboy” here in the spring of 1970, again after it won the Best Picture of 1969 Oscar. It was paired with “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.” I never went back to the Strand and I guess it closed soon afterward.

mb848
mb848 on December 11, 2005 at 4:54 am

I just stumbled across a Boston Globe article from October, 1981 about a rock show by the band the Plasmatics scheduled for the Strand. The article states that the Quincy City Council voted unanimously 4-0 to disallow the concert, and to pull the Strand’s entertainment license as well. This must have been the final blow for this theater, and it probably came down in 1982-1983. Ron must be correct that there were some live performances it its last days….

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 28, 2005 at 7:25 am

I was a regular patron (junior-size) at the Strand from mid-1940s to late-1950s. It stood on the east side of Chestnut St. across from the side of the Granite Trust bldg. It had a brick facade which I have heard described as “Georgian”. There was a 2-sided marquee making a somewhat flat triangle. There were 2 small shops on each side of the entrance. The box-office was on the right. The inner foyer had a refreshment stand. 1600 seats sounds about right. The lounge upstairs under the balcony was called the “mezzanine” – first time I think I had encountered that word. It had a fairly good-sized stage. There was an odd structure at stage-right — many live theatres have a scene-dock on one side of the stage or at rear. The Strand had an oblong brick structure that came all the way out to Maple Street, with a roll-up overhead garage door at its sidewalk end. After lunch on inclement days during school vacation weeks, one had to stand in long lines to get in. The Strand showed sub-run features with a “B” movie as “extra added attraction”. Up in hte mezzanine lounge there was a drink machine- you put your dime in, (4 quarters today), pressed a button, and instead of getting your choice of a can of sodapop, a cardboard cup dropped down, ice chips went into in, and then your choice of pop flowed into it. This theatre enjoyed very good houses on Fri and Sat nights. It was definitely the leading theatre in Quincy. I’m going to guess that it closed circa 1970 or so; there were some live pop music concerts there occasionally afterward.(I think). I recall that it was demolished around 1981. The site eventually became a parking lot.

mb848
mb848 on September 10, 2005 at 4:07 pm

I think this was probably the most popular theater in Quincy for a time. It was located across from the landmark Granite Trust building at the entrance of downtown Quincy, and most likely was built around the same time (late 1920’s). It was demolished for a parking lot.