Gardner Cinemas 1 & 2

34 Parker Street,
Gardner, MA 01440

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2010 Photographs

The Orpheum Theatre was opened prior to October 1914. Seating was provided for 702 in the orchestra, 416 in the balcony and 40 in the loges. In 1925 an Estay theatre organ opus 2333 size 2/17 was installed in the Orpheum Theatre. In the 1940’s it was operated by the George A. Giles circuit of Cambridge.

In late-1968 it was remodeled as the Gardner Cinema 1 and an addional screen was added at the side which became Grardner Cinema 2. After closing as a movie theatre in 1999, the building was converted to retail use. It most recently housed a health food store and Chinese restaurant. On May 5, 2007, the former Gardner Cinemas was destroyed by a fire. The remains were demolished in late-February 2017.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 28, 2008 at 12:08 pm

As the Orpheum, this theater was included in the MGM Theatre Photograph and Report project. The form has an exterior photo taken in 1941. The theater had a narrow entrance with a small rectangular marquee and a vertical blade sign above. Movies posted were “That Night in Rio” and “Man Who Lost Himself”. To the right of the entrance was Student Bros. shoe store. The Report says that the Orpheum had been playing MGM films for over 15 years; it was over 15 years old (as of 1941), and in Good condition, and had 1158 seats, with the same breakdown as in the heading above. The theatre was on Parker St., and the competing theater was the Uptown.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on November 19, 2008 at 5:36 pm

Here is a 1939 photo from a new collection of Life Magazine images on Google:
http://tinyurl.com/5celtq

spectrum
spectrum on December 26, 2008 at 11:16 am

According to the article mentioned above, the building had been triplexed by the time of its closing. From the looks of the google photo, the building had a very long narrow lobby going to the auditorium which was well back from the street.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on December 26, 2008 at 11:28 am

The marquee in the 1939 Life photo found by mister boob is the same marquee which was on the Orpheum in the 1941 photo on the MGM Theatre Report. This theater did have a narrow entrance.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 11, 2010 at 11:20 am

The Orpheum in Gardner is listed in the 1927 Film Daily Yearbook as having 1,000 seats and open 6 days per week.

Scott Neff
Scott Neff on April 21, 2017 at 11:41 am

The Worcester Telegram reported on 2/28/17 that the building was being demolished.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 25, 2018 at 6:50 pm

An item about the conversion of the Orpheum to the Gardner Cinema I and Cinema II appeared in the October 2, 1968, Fitchburg Sentinel:

“Gardner -Theaters To Replace Orpheum GARDNER – Cinema I and Cinema II are the names of two movie theaters which will replace what was once the Orpheum Theater on Parker Street. The latter theater has been closed since June 4, pending plans for complete renovation. Cinema I, which is due to open before the end of the year, will be housed in the former Orpheum auditorium. Cinema II will be housed in an entirely new building to be constructed adjacent to the existing building.”
Also, the Orpehum appears to have been older than we thought. This item is from the November 24, 1917, issue of Motography:
“Million Dollar Theater Company Is Formed

“The interests of the Trimount Theaters Inc., a Massachusetts corporation, which controlled the Princess and Gorman Theaters, of Framingham, Mass., and the Orpheum and Gardner Theaters of Gardner, Mass, were taken over by the George A. Giles Company, a new Massachusetts corporation with a capitalization of one million dollars.

“Mr. Giles, the treasurer of the old company, is also the treasurer and general manager of the new corporation.

“The Giles Company under its new and broad charter is making plans for more extensive operations.”

Indeed, a photo of the audience in the Orpheum runs across the bottom of page 633 of the October 11, 1914, issue of The Moving Picture World (scan at Internet Arcnive.)

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