Pearson's Perfect Pictures
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In 1904, just 8 years after Edison introduced the Vitascope, a confectioner named Arthur G. Pearson showed the first movie in Somerville. Using the large auditorium in the Odd Fellows Hall above his store, he showed two ten minute films along with a series of illustrated songs. Within weeks these shows were regularized and what began as a small experiment, became Pearson’s Perfect Pictures, Somerville’s first movie theatre.
Pearson closed this theatre in 1927, when the larger and fancier Capitol Theatre opened across the street. However, he kept his candy and ice cream shop open for several more years.
The Odd Fellows Hall itself opened in October, 1885, and lasted until May 9, 1974, when a spectacular fire destroyed it. The site remained vacant for 27 years until the Broadway Health Center was built here.
For much more information on this theatre, including many photographs, please visit David Guss’s excellent website, Lost Theatres of Somerville.
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