Surf Theater

432 Humphrey Street,
Swampscott, MA 01907

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Surf Cinema

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Built circa 1952, the Surf Theater was the first theater in the area to have built-in widescreen accomodation. It had a large auditorium including an upper balcony/lounge area that was converted in the 1970’s to a second screen.

I have fond memories of attending this theater particularly on the Saturday kiddie matinees (25 cents admission!!) that were shown on a weekly basis. It was located on Humphrey Street just across from the ocean and Fisherman’s Beach and was torn down sometime around the early 1980’s and I believe the valuable property now houses apartments or condos.

Contributed by Alan Abrams

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 2, 2006 at 5:51 pm

According to a Boston Globe article from September 4, 1983, the last shows at the Surf were ‘Yellowbeard’ and ‘Psycho II’, on July 14, 1983. It was torn down during the second half of July and all of August.

It was twinned in 1979.

FrankGayton on June 5, 2009 at 10:10 am

Growing up on the North Shore, I often attended movies at The Surf. It was beautiful in its 50’s way. I particularly remember taking my grandparents there one summer evening in 1975, to see YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. My gosh, how they laughed! My grandfather always remembered going to The Surf to see THE WORLD OF SUZIE WONG; “the whole theatre smelled of Chinese insense!” Those were the days.

JonMontgomery on January 7, 2010 at 2:10 am

I remember taking dates to this theater in the 1960’s. I was sorry to see it go but I guess the property it was on became more valuable than theater operations could ever be. Anyway, it was a very beautiful, very modernistic, clean and well maintained theater with a classy 1950’s styling right by the ocean. I may be wrong here but I think it was owned and operated by American Theaters Corp (ATC). I think the stand alone marquee outside had a very small “ATC” written above the big “Surf” letters. I have a picture from 1966 I will see if I can find. I’m standing in the Surf parking lot with my girlfriend (now my wife) next to my 1965 Mustang ragtop.

da_Bunnyman on August 25, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Easy to see why the real estate was so valuable, the theater was literally across the street from the ocean. A nice house but kind of long and narrow. When it was twinned they split it crosswise sparing it from becoming the dreaded twin bowling alleys. If you were sitting in the back house you’d see the projectionist walk down the aisle to another booth to start the show in the front house.

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