Elm Theatre

924 Quaker Lane South,
West Hartford, CT 06110

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Showing 1 - 25 of 60 comments

rivest266 on February 25, 2017 at 9:44 am

Grand opening ad for April 7th, 1978 as a twin cinema.

rivest266 on February 21, 2017 at 1:57 pm

This opened on November 10th, 1948. Its grand opening ad can be found in the photo section.

Cinerama on October 27, 2015 at 12:28 pm

Saw Sound of Music at this theatre. I also use to live on Grove St. in 1980’s and could walk to the theatre. I think it was only 99 cents to see a movie after it was twinned.

TZToronto on March 26, 2013 at 9:36 am

I took my girlfriend there to see Sound of Music. We had reserved seats, as I recall. Liked the movie, the theater, and the girl.

cablepuller on January 28, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I worked here as a teen in the early 1960s. Only one screen when I was there. We played Lawrence of Arabia in 70mm twice a day, every day for months.
The Perokas theater chain had 13 theaters and the chain was headquartered at the Palace theater in New Britain.

DTG on September 1, 2011 at 7:48 pm

I remember going to see Close Encounters of the Third Kind when it first came out in the 1970’s there. That was my first time there, unfortunately. While the movie was great, what I mainly think of is the theater. I’ve seen alot of films in theaters in the past 30 or so years, but this one sticks with me. I managed to see a few more films there in the subsequent years, but I didn’t live in the area so it was hard.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 28, 2011 at 6:29 pm

An ad for Anemostat air diffusers in Boxoffice of May 7, 1949, featured a picture of the Elm’s auditorium. The caption says the theater was designed by New York City architect E.C. Bullock.

nancymc on November 15, 2010 at 1:54 pm

I am looking for information on who might have owned the Elm Theatre around 1955-1960. When I was a kid during that period I had a friend (Maureen) whose family (an uncle perhaps) was connected with the theatre. She and I would go to the saturday mats. free. It was a huge treat for me since that was the only chance I got to go to the movies. I’m trying to reconnect with Maureen. Does anyone know who might have owned the Elm during this period.?

EdmundGlazer on September 30, 2010 at 3:25 pm

The projection equipment from the Elm is now located in the Belding Theatre two of the Bushnell Performing Arts Centre Theatre. ED Glazer

kencmcintyre on September 5, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Here is another photo of the Walgreens:

cmbrown127 on January 17, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Jamie, don’t go inside the Walgreens, you’ll be sad. Dropped ceilings, florescent lighting, vinyl tile floors – nothing left of the theatre interior. The Elm sign and a few other bits of memorabilia are just inside the vestibule. Like stuffing and mounting one’s kill after a hunt. Creepy.

Taxi on December 17, 2008 at 9:22 pm

I just ate at a new trendy restaurant called Elements, right accross from the old Elm theater. Why! Walgreens Why! The new Blue back section is such a cluster you know what, that the old cool is now the new cool. I see excellent growth and a bright future for the Elmwood section. If only this theater could have held out a little longer.


JamieBlumenfeld on June 15, 2008 at 9:30 am

Wow, great to see this stuff – I have fond memories of clutching a dollar and going to see the (almost) latest movie.

Who doesn’t remember the Snack Valley trailer with the penguins? I’ll take a Sprite please! If anyone knows of video or stills from it PLEASE contact me!

I’m glad to see the frontage is still there but I haven’t been able to bring myself to go inside when I visit WH.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on February 10, 2008 at 4:30 am

As I wrote above, it closed in September 2002. I was there the final weekend.

kencmcintyre on February 9, 2008 at 6:32 pm

This photo may have been taken after the theater closed for good:

doctordialtone on July 4, 2007 at 2:59 pm

Worked there Sunday nights as projectionist. I relieved the long time projectionist, Bill Martus (Hartford) so he could go to Showcase at night for his 2nd shift.

Bill trained me (300 hours) at the Elm. I worked there 1975~1981. Long time manager’s name was Murray Lipson, who left in a scanndal over ticket revenue.

The projection booth originally had two CENTURY projectors with Peerless Magnarc Carbon Arc Lamps, and a water cooling system for the “jaws” that held the carbon rods in the lamps because they got so hot. At the time, “Sound of Music was the longest running movie, (296 days I think) followed by "The Sting”. Theater has a working curtain with a working motorized masking system for regular(Flat) or Wide Screen features.
Wood paneling in the lobby, a coat room, a large room (phone booth) with a windowed door with smoking fan. Ushers in uniform. Large Altec Lansing speakers behind the screen and RCA tube amps. I also worked there when we installed “Sensurround” ..large woofers that shook the seats… “Earthquake” or one of those movies.We miss her.

cmbrown127 on July 24, 2006 at 4:26 pm

Roger, you’ve been tireless in documenting, encouraging and assisting in the effort to save the theater. Glad it was you that gave the pictures. I understand and agree why you did it.

I just wish it weren’t pictures and memories, but a vibrant and vital part of the community fabric. We lost something good here, folks, and added to the drive-up, drive-by atmosphere of our neighborhood.

  • Cyn
Roger Katz
Roger Katz on July 24, 2006 at 2:02 pm

CM: Those photos in the vestibule were taken by me. When Walgreens asked to use them I was tempted to say no in spite, but then decided that it is better they have those there than have no memory of the theatre at all.

cmbrown127 on July 24, 2006 at 1:07 pm

If you really want to wallow in “what coulda/shoulda,” just go inside as far the entry vestibule to see the “shrine” Walgreens has created with the lit neon Elm sign and other bits of our demolished gem.

Behind Plexiglas.

When one of our town councilors saw it she gushed about how sensitive Walgreens was to the neighborhood and its past.

Ah, me.

ggates on July 24, 2006 at 6:38 am

Walgreens and CVS have become the new McDonalds Burger King one-two punch.

mbspeed on July 24, 2006 at 6:20 am

Seeing Roger Katz’s images brought back a flood of emotions. Like Shelly, I too worked at the Elm theater. I was their relief projectionist from 1989 to 2000 when I moved to the west coast. Although I’d heard the theater had closed, I couldn’t bring myself to see it whenever I came back to CT.

I remember helping Shelly (and many others) with the cast metal letters for the marquee. I remember fidgeting with all five of those platters to keep a movie on-screen. I remember the anger and disgust of our ‘regular’ patrons when ticket prices were raised above 99¢ too! Mostly I remember the good friends I made over those years. It really was a fun place to work.

I have nothing [specific] against Walgreen’s. I’m not opposed to progress either. It just saddens me that it’s at the expense of a piece of history like the Elm Theater.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on July 24, 2006 at 6:01 am

I have no idea why it is listed as demolished. I have repeatedly tried to get its designation changed, but to no avail.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on July 24, 2006 at 5:53 am

It is the same building that the Elm was in. The building has been gutted, but the exterior remains.

SpikeSpiegel6262044 on January 31, 2006 at 3:36 pm

It’s so sad to see it turned into another drug store. I remember the balconies and the inside was pretty nice. I remember all the movies I have seen there. Now there it stands a shell of it’s former self, it should have become a play house for theatre groups.

ShelB on July 24, 2005 at 6:11 am

Looking at these pictures was like feeling as if someone knocked the wind out of me. Holy cow. Sad, sad, sad.