Harvard Exit Theatre
807 E. Roy Street,
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The Harvard Exit’s two screens are housed in a three-story brick building erected in 1925 for the Woman’s Century Club. The club’s main floor has a medium-sized auditorium, about 400 seats including a small balcony. In 1968, two Boeing engineers and movie buffs, Art Bernstein and Jim O'Steen, opened a movie theater there.
The curious name comes from the fact that moviegoers purchase tickets near the Roy Street entrance, but they exit through a set of doors that open onto Harvard Avenue.
Bernstein and O'Steen programmed a mix of offbeat, independent and arthouse films. Bernstein personally introduced the feature at each showing.
In 1979, the duo sold the theater to Landmark Theatres/Seven Gables.
In the early 1980s, a second-floor ballroom was converted to a small cinema, calling it the “Top of the Exit”. There are very steep stairs to the upstairs theater, and there is no elevator.
The theater’s large lobby retains a 1920s atmosphere, adorned with a fireplace, a grand piano and chandelier.
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