North Station Cinema I

276 Friend Street,
Boston, MA 02114

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1974 photo courtesy of the Dirty Old Boston Facebook page.

This was a single screen gay porn cinema that was located away from the city center, north of Scollay Square. I have it listed as operating in the mid-1970’s (1977 edition of the Bob Damron Address Book).

It was operated by the same management as the South Station Cinema, another gay porn cinema located to the south of the city center and shared the same ads in newspapers.

Any further information on the current status and history of this theatre would be appreciated.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 19, 2005 at 9:08 am

Thanks Ron for your information on this theatre.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 19, 2005 at 10:10 am

To clarify, the Shawmut Inn opened in 1994, but the building is much older, probably dating back to the late 19th century.

This whole ‘Bulfinch Triangle’ district was quite run-down and isolated for many years, being surrounded on one side by the huge and ugly Government Center Garage and on two others by elevated train tracks and the elevated Central Artery (I-93). The garage is unfortunately still standing, but the elevated rails and highways were torn down last year.

I never attended this or any other adult theatre, but after taking a walk there this morning, I have a vague memory that two other North Station Cinema screens had an entrance halfway around the block on Portland Street. Eventually I’ll try to verify this from old newspapers or phone books.

advocate on June 3, 2005 at 10:24 pm

I confess to having seen a couple porn films in the North Station Cinema, circa 1977. At that time I believe they had an entrance on Portland street, where there was a single screen, and another on Friend street where there were two screens. (Or the other way around, I can’t recall.) At this time it showed straight films only, but I believe it changed over to a gay genre a couple years later.

advocate on June 3, 2005 at 10:52 pm

On reflection,I seem to remember that they had a single screen on Friend Street and two on Portland. I’m not sure, but I think after a time the single screen closed. It’s possible that the one on Friend showed gay films; I only remember that the two on Portland were straight when I was there.

sinclair on June 13, 2005 at 1:52 pm

The North Station on Friend Street was showing gay porn early in the ‘70s, as I witnessed “Bijou” when it was playing there, 1973, with a very vocal accompaniment by Sylvia Sydney, one of Boston’s reigning drag queens. Boston After Dark gave it a very good review, considering.
An economical porn buff could always wait a week for whatever played there at the one screen to appear that following week at the South Station duplex.
There was a theater under the elevated, directly across from the Boston Gardens – was this the aforementioned possible duplex No. Station? I saw a lot of questionable R or very small 'x’ rated movies there, like “Birds of Peru” – an unfortunate film for a doomed Jean Seburg – and “DeSade” with Keir Dullea, post his fame with “2001”, but no too long after that, say 1968 or ‘69. It nonetheless felt like a 'raincoat’ crowd attended. And it was just the one screen at these times.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on June 13, 2005 at 4:28 pm

The theater under the elevated on Causeway Street was E.M. Loew’s West End Cinema. It was originally built as the Lancaster Theatre, and ended its life as the West End Pussycat. It was torn down in 1990.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on December 16, 2005 at 9:06 am

In the early 1980s, I attended a straight xxx film at a little cinema on either Friend St. or Portland St. It was on the east side of the street, a few doors down from Causeway St. You went in and turned right to face the screen. I think it was a single-screen operation. It was in an existing building.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on December 21, 2005 at 8:19 am

With reference to the cinema visit mentioned above, I just looked in my travel log, where I sometimes entered movie and theatre visits, and found that I attended “Cinema 3 near North Station” on Tuesday, December 2, 1980. This implies that there was a “Cinema 1 and 2” nearby.

ppherber on June 23, 2011 at 10:08 pm

I confess to being a bit of a porn hound when I lived in Boston. North Station Cinema ran straight double features in the early 80’s. Mostly New York-produced flicks, as I recall.

DavidZornig on July 20, 2017 at 4:24 pm

1974 photo added courtesy of the Dirty Old Boston Facebook page. Films on the marquee were released in 1969 & `70, though neither were pornography films. So it appears North Station Cinema 1 was also trying to be a revival house.

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