Colonial Theater

492 Farmington Avenue,
Hartford, CT 06105

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Colonial Theater skeleton - 2001

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Colonial Theater was once a beautiful, Neo-Classical style treasure in Hartford’s West End. Opened in 1926, by 1941 it was operated by Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp. The Colonial Theater became a venue for Cinerama from September 20, 1961 playing “This Is Cinerama”. It closed in 1979 after surviving on a diet of Spanish-language, kung fu and blaxploitation films.

After a 20 year silence, preservationists fought a tough battle against developers in 2000 – and lost. Most of the theater has now been demolished and only its skeleton remains.

A new restaurant was built behind the facade of the Colonial Theater and opened in July of 2004.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 17 comments)

Cinerama
Cinerama on January 11, 2009 at 4:38 am

Does anyone have pictures of when it was a Cinerama theatre?

MPol
MPol on January 11, 2009 at 12:30 pm

That theatre looks like it was a beautiful theatre—both inside and out, with a classic curved screen and curtains, to boot. What a shame that it had to be closed and demolished like that. Why it couldn’t have just been restored is beyond me. It’s disheartening to hear of yet another venerable old movie palace gone the way of cinema heaven to make way for these antiseptic-looking multiplex cinemas that mainly show today’s schlockier movies.

Another poster on here had an excellent idea, which could’ve/should’ve been applied to this theatre and elsewhere; Leave the venerable old movie palaces for the over-40 crowd, with the older films, at 3-5 dollar admissions, and let today’s young kids have the multiplexes so they can have the schlockier films and destroy the movie-going experience there.

nritota
nritota on January 11, 2009 at 3:38 pm

If it were that simple. I worked in the business for 20 years and there are problems with that model. Older theatres were likely in cities where parking, and adventuring downtown at night were both dubious. The megaplexes tend to play out todays films so that there is not enough run after they are complete.

Plus, the old buildings are expensive to keep up, with 80 year old roofs, outdated HVAC systems and a lot of space to heat and cool for a minimal return on tickets sold.

Unless there is a grass roots organization to place the house under non-profit status, raise funds and apply for tax breaks, a private owner doesn’t stand much of a chance.

It’s like opening a harware store between a Lowes and Home Depot; nice thought, but not practical in todays climate of business efficiency.

Cinerama
Cinerama on February 16, 2009 at 5:07 am

Chuck1231

If your still around, please let us know where we can see pictures of the Colonial when it was a Cinerama theatre. I have pictures before it was a Cinerama and after – http://cineramahistory.com/ctcolonial.htm Please contact me at

Thanks!

Roland

Cinerama
Cinerama on December 15, 2009 at 6:42 am

Hi Chuck,

I would love to see pictures of the Colonial when it was a Cinerama theatre.

Thanks!

Roland

Harvey
Harvey on February 2, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Article on The Colonial as a kung-fu house circa 1983 here.

EdmundGlazer
EdmundGlazer on September 30, 2010 at 3:09 pm

If anyone wants more information on the Colonial/Cinerama theatre, email to I worked as a projectionst at the theatre for 15 years. ED Glazer

nritota
nritota on October 16, 2010 at 5:23 pm

Ed
When were you there? Was it during the Lockwood & Gordon years or later?

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