Jarvis Theatre

169 Main Street,
Binghamton, NY 13905

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Contributed by Dave Bonan

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

generalenigma on May 20, 2008 at 3:12 pm

Steve … With your connection to The Crest I am quite sure you will be quite interested in hearing about 3 very special rememberances I have of The Crest.
1st … in December 1969, I remember going down to Riverside Drive in JC with my very best friend from where we lived on Ingraham Hill in the Town of Binghamton to his grandmother’s house across from the Baptist Bible Seminary & shovelling her driveway after a major snowstorm. We were both college juniors (without much money)home on Christmas vacation & both huge James Bond fans. After we finished our job, we WALKED up to The Crest to see “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” !!! After shovelling & then walking a couple miles through all that snow to see the film it seemed very appropriate to see a film full of so much snow & skiing !!! AND it WAS A GREAT FILM !!!
2nd … I about 1976 I was working for Fowler’s in the Oakdale Mall & had gotten to know Joe Hazlett who was then regional manager for Cinema National. The Enjoy Theatre was up for sale & I was interested in possibly running a theatre but with a difference. I wanted to run kind of a cinema dinner club that would offer classic films … one per week with each month of the year having a different theme … mysteries one month, sci-fi another, westerns another etc etc. But I was not sure about the availability of non-current films for exhibition & when I asked Joe he said that the projectionist at The Crest had been in the business forever & if anyone could help me he could & he set up an appointment for me to meet with the projectionist one evening in the projection booth. I saw & learned with him all about changing the carbon rods in the twin projectors … how to start up the next reel when the “spot” appeared on the screen to come on the screen flawlessly as the previous reel ended … rewinding the previous reel as the new one played & re-canning it & getting the next reel set up for when the present one finished. (every 20 minutes !!! learning THAT was why a 2 hour film was known as a “Six Reeler” !!!) It was an education I will never forget & am very thankful for experiencing. (even though my idea for the Enjoy turned out to be unfeasable)
My last rememberance is the World Premiere of “Twilight Zone – The Movie” at The Crest on Sat June 11, 1983. I got tickets for myself & my Mom for the full experience with the pre-screening party at Binghamton City Hall with Mayor Juanita Crabb, Kevin McCarthy, Rod Serling’s daughters & others & riding the special bus to the theatre & walking in on the Red Carpet just like the movie stars !!!

SteveVerno on May 21, 2008 at 8:01 pm

Jim, my grandmother May Davis used to work at Fowlers in Binghamon. She lived in an apartment in the building now housing Litle Venice Restaurant on Chenango Street. Little Venice also used to be located right across from the Strand and Rivera. I remember when The Beatles hard Days night played The Strand. Johnson City and Binghamton were fantastic places for going to the movies or drive ins back in th 1950s, and 6s.

deleted user
[Deleted] on February 10, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Does anyone know if the Jarvis (Laurel) Theater ever had an organ?

Admiral37 on April 14, 2011 at 11:53 am

I have lots of memories of the Jarvis Theater from growing up on the west side of Binghamton. On weekends our parents would drop us off for a Saturday afternoon full of cartoons and short subjects. I remember the admission was like 50 cents for the afternoon.

I don’t recall, was the theater still standing when the Mutual Furniture store on Main Street burned? They’re both on the site of what is now McDonald’s. The empty lot left by the fire and subsequent demolition became a car lot (Arrow Ford?)

generalenigma on December 19, 2011 at 4:48 am

Yes, Admiral37 .. The Jarvis Theatre was still standing & operating when Mutual Furniture was ravaged by a fire on Sunday Nov 11, 1962.

Actually The Jarvis Theatre itself had a bad fire 10 months earlier on Wednesday Jan 3, 1962 & it took 2 months of repair & refurbishment to reopen for business on Friday March 2, 1962.

The theatre closed for good 8 ½ months later after the days' screenings on Tuesday July 30, 1963.

The vacant lots of both The Jarvis & Mutual Furniture were sold 2 years later to Public Service Garage, Rambler City, Inc. & was announced in June 14, 1965 with construction to begin in 10 days for the new Rambler dealership.

Admiral37 on December 22, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Thanks for the memories, generalenigma. I do remember the Jarvis being closed, we had to go to the Crest for the weekend matinees. I even remember going to the Art Theater for a matinee once, which was kind of strange given what the normal fare at The Art was back in the day.

I also remember Rambler City on that site, across from the A&P and Turf Exchange Hotel. It eventually became Arrow Ford, correct? And once that closed, the lot sat empty for awhile, and then Brighton Donuts built on a portion of the lot.

steve_verno on May 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm

The jarvis used to have Bingo games before the movie started. The prize, a 50 cent piece. I will try to find the picture I have of the jarvis and try to scan my admission ticket I also have a mint movie ticket to The Riviera which used to be on Chenango Street

Uglyoldman on February 14, 2013 at 6:20 am

I used to live kitty corner to the Jarvis. There was a Rexall Store, and an apartment building with a Hot Pie shop and a store called AB Dick on the first floor. I spent a few of the early years there. Now it’s a parking lot. But I remember the theater, and Henry’s Hamburgers. The Oasis. The Drug store, and the barber shop.

Admiral37 on February 14, 2013 at 8:07 am

Was the Rexall Store where the parking lot is now? I AB Dick sold mimeograph and spirit duplicator machines, a good business to be in until Xerox came along.

BenSunness on March 3, 2013 at 10:29 am

At the time of the fire my grandfather, Samuel Sunness, owned the Jarvis, Crest, Art and Airport DriveIn theatres. I too spent many Saturday and Sundays there free of charge. If I remember correctly, if you brought your own container the popcorn was free, Anyone remember that?

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