Pearson's Perfect Pictures

306 Broadway,
Somerville, MA 02145

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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.

Contributed by Ron Newman

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 31, 2010 at 10:59 am

David Guss’s article “Lost Theatres of Somerville”, from the First Quarter 2006 issue of Marquee, the journal of the Theatre Historical Society of America, is now online at View link .

Besides an extensive history, the article also contains many old photos of and advertisements for the various theatres in Somerville.

(This is a 17-page scanned-image PDF, so unfortunately you cannot search or copy the text.)

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on July 13, 2010 at 10:59 am

Very nice website,too bad you cannot see it all, still very nice.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on July 13, 2010 at 11:03 am

cannot see what all?

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on July 13, 2010 at 11:36 am

I could see the photos but could not scroll in the text parts or print or save any photos like it says in your May 31 2009 post.I clicked on your post and could not get it at all, I clicked under the header and got to see it.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 12, 2010 at 5:39 am

According to David Guss, this theatre changed its name to Winter Hill Theatre in 1922 before finally closing in 1927. It is not to be confused with an earlier Winter Hill Theatre nearby.

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