Parkway Plaza Theatre

Bradlees Plaza,
Chelsea, MA 02150

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ppherber on February 17, 2013 at 9:55 pm

I checked out most of Boston’s(straight)porn scene in the late 70’s-early 80’s, and this was the atypical one of the bunch. A 60’s era twin screen located in a run-of-the-mill strip mall, it was a world away from the theatres located in the North End and Combat Zone. Crumbling old movie houses and porno seemed to go hand in hand. This setting was somehow too clean and modern. The flicks were standard fare for the time, however. INSIDE JENNIFER WELLES was one fond memory of the place.

ThePhotoplayer on May 15, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Seating was around 800. Architect was Henry George Greene, and the original owner was New England Theatres, Inc. Originally, the theater was to be named through a contest, but it would seem that never happened. Opened around fall of 1963.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 3, 2007 at 7:43 am

I’m not sure which one you mean, but if you have information about any other theatres in Chelsea, please add them to this site (as separate entries).

anika on December 3, 2007 at 7:37 am

Has there been any movement to revive, renovate, re-open the theatre on Broadway?

EdFindlay on December 5, 2006 at 12:55 pm

I went by the site today and to my surprise part of the marquis for the Strand is still standing, it’s attatched to a pole as part of the parking lot but it’s shape is clearly the same as the old marquis…never noticed this until now and I pass by it all the time.

EdFindlay on December 3, 2006 at 5:32 pm

Regarding the former Chelsea cinemas:

The Broadway was torn down, it’s now partly a public alley and partly a pub.

The Strand was torn down too, it’s now a parking lot.

The Olympic is abandoned and empty, it’s hard to tell it was ever a theatre as it’s masked by the cheap restaurants below.

The theatre that houses a bakery below is called the Hawthorne is housed in a former Masonic temple. The exterior was recently renovated but it is unclear whether the theatre has been renovated as well or if it lays abandonedTheatre and is house

EdFindlay on December 3, 2006 at 5:19 pm

The Parkway Plaza Theatre did indeed close in 1987. The city tore it down due to concerns over safety and a huge tax bill owed by the owner.

The plaza around the former theatre does well despite it’s “inconvenient” location. It’s actually very convenient from Rts. 1, 16, 107 and is off of two major MBTA bus routes so it’s drivable and reachable. There was a five year gap between the closing of Bradlees and the opening of Home Depot that was a low point for the plaza but it has rebounded nicely and should be expanding in the near future with a new renewed enthusiasm from the city, residents, customers, and the new owners.

samuel on October 18, 2006 at 1:12 pm

Just as an aside..Broadway Chelsea had 4 theatres,, The Olympia, The Broadway, The Strand and the Chelsea

gruff62 on October 16, 2006 at 9:56 am

it was the strand

melodiep on October 16, 2006 at 5:42 am

What was the name of the theatre on broadway in chelsea? You can still a sign on the building that says “cinema” and a theater entrance as well.

there’s a bakery in the space now. Was it the strand?

samuel on February 10, 2006 at 4:23 pm

The Parkway Plaza was the successor to the Olympia Theatre which was located on Broadway in Chelsea.. It was a first run theatre run by M & P and susequently by New England Theatres when M & P was broken up …… Eventually they closed the Olympia and built the Parkway Plaza

gruff62 on January 8, 2006 at 9:30 am

i remember going there as a kid in the 60s and 70s. i can remember seeing jaws there and when the head popped out of the sunken boat how everybody screamed. they used to have the orange flavored drinks that came in a plastic container that resembled an orange and you could take it home with you. the place was pretty clean with that typical 60s decor.i can remember the lobby with the concession stand in the middle and the bathrooms were off to the right with a little lobby you could sit in. it had the movie stills on the wall for coming attractions and what was currently playing. there was a payphone and a little couch you could sit on that had no backside and a snack machine. i remember the inside of the lobby being predominantly blue;rug,couch,walls etc.

parktheatre on December 23, 2005 at 2:22 am

As of today, the only thing remaining of that Bradlees Plaza is the Bradlees sign at the former entrance to the Plaza on Webster Ave. Everything else has been razed. Major construction is now in progress (for a Home Depot?)

I remember the theatre in its 1960’s heyday. It was located in its own end of the shopping plaza, a couple of hundred yards away from Bradlees and Stop and Shop. The building contruction was white brick, I believe—not much to look at. It was also accessible from the Revere Beach Parkway (route 16). Inside, it was pleasant, but not ornate. Colored flood lights illuminated the screens—no curtains or masking. I saw Mary Poppins and It’s a Mad Mad Mad World. It would draw patrons from Chelsea, Everett and Revere with its newness—although the Park Theatre in Everett still drew most of the Everett crowd.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on August 24, 2005 at 2:26 am

I recall this being advertised in newspapers as the “Parkway Plaza Twin”.

The online Boston Globe archives go back only to 1980, but from 1980 to 1987, there is a steady stream of articles regarding this establishment. Citizens repeatedly picketed it. The police repeatedly raided it. The theatre was convicted and fined for obscenity charges over and over again.

It seemed very out of place in a shopping center that contained a Stop & Shop supermarket, a Bradlees discount department store, a pharmacy, a bank, and various restaurants. To my knowledge, it was the only Boston-area porn theatre ever to operate outside Boston city limits.

Newspaper articles about the cinema ended in 1987, so I’m guessing that’s about when the place closed. Later articles about the shopping center describe it as becoming nearly abandoned, and a dumping ground. Most recently, a Home Depot was approved for the site, but I don’t know if it has been built yet.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on August 22, 2005 at 2:45 pm

Has this in fact been demolished? What was it replaced by?