Country Cinema

523 Main Street,
Watertown, CT 06795

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Showing 25 comments

DavidZornig on October 19, 2018 at 3:28 pm

The name change from Cameo Theatre to Country Cinema took place in 1972.

JackCoursey on July 16, 2018 at 9:03 pm

The theatre is currently on the market with an asking price of $1,200,000:

Maruchyd on February 28, 2018 at 12:31 pm

The old style of cinema reminded me when my grandfather took me every weekend. I loved! I love the sound!

nritota on October 23, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Wasn’t this an SBC (formerly L&G) theatre? When I worked for the chain in RI, we had a Cameo in CT; can’t remember if it was Waterbury or Watertown.

BTW, this theatre has a changeable sign. A marquee is attached to the building. By definition: a covering like roof: a permanent canopy, often of metal and glass, projecting out over the entrance to a large building such as a hotel or theater.

MPol on May 25, 2009 at 11:29 am

Too bad that the theatre is so dirty, run-down and so poorly-staffed and poorly operated, as it looks like an unusual movie theatre! Here’s hoping they renovate it, add more staff, and monitor their projectionist(s) better.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on May 7, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Wow…it looks exactly the same as it does today, only less worn down.

edwardguinea on December 30, 2006 at 10:10 am

The original marquee was V shaped and hung out over the sidewalk in front. It had plenty of space, 4 long lines, 10 feet wide. It was taken down in 1972. The current marquee is very small, 3 short lines and often misspelled.
Ed Guinea

stevemoviegoer on November 15, 2006 at 9:11 pm

The last movie I saw here was Star Trek Nemesis. The sound quality was very poor at best.

BTW- I noticed the new seats in the theater as well. I wonder if they were the same seats that were used by the Colonial Plaza cinemas before they closed down?

anexwaterburian on September 27, 2006 at 9:05 am

The woman who refurbished the original auditorium and opened the Cameo in Watertown also owned and operated the Cameo Theatre at 314 Baldwin Street in Waterbury, not one of the big theatres like the State or Strand. The Cameo in Waterbury became the Win Theater sometime in the 1950s.

shoeshoe14 on September 1, 2006 at 1:09 pm

It was a Tuesday night and there were 12 folks.

longislandmovies on August 30, 2006 at 3:29 pm

how many people in the theater shoe?

shoeshoe14 on August 30, 2006 at 2:33 pm

Alright commenters, put your fears to rest from the previous posts. I was there yesterday for the first time to see a movie. Marquee is still there. First movie of the day (Da Vinci Code) was showing at 4:45, then a different movie at 7pm (Cars) and then Click at 9pm. The lobby is small and warm with a small concession stand and a foreign accented guy running it. There were wooden chairs alongside the wall and vintage lanterns hanging on the wall.

Inside the cinema, you would never know there was a cinema there. Upstairs is the men’s room and the balcony with seats (you can’t sit there) and downstairs on the right is the women’s bathroom. I asked the owner and he said there were 200 seats. At least 150 of them were brand new recliners (very comfortable) and the 50 up front were older uncomfortable chairs. There were $3 seats all day. The screen was small but nice. Red curtains adorned the stage and the walls while 3 “torches” of fluorescent lights on each side stayed on the entire time, but it was for ambience and didn’t affect the movie.

I stay for end credits all the time, but the owner shut it off after 2 minutes and started to close up.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on April 11, 2006 at 1:00 pm

This may be the most unique cinema I have ever seen.

edwardguinea on February 23, 2006 at 6:51 pm

The Country Cinema became so-named in 1972. An extensive renovation project at the time included an expanded lobby, new chairs and the auditorium was redraped. At this time, unfortunately the local fire codes forbid the opening of the balcony and the demolition of the wonderful on-street marquee.
Mrs. Florence Schaperow owned the theatre as well as the Ville Theatre, Lake Drive In and Center Drive In. She was a smart businesswoman. Her theatres often outgrossed the downtown chains by playing movies like “Ben-Hur”, “My Fair Lady” and “The Sound Of Music”.
The theatre was built in 1923 and named The Community Theatre. Along with silent movies, the theatre held contests and small graduations. I am not sure when it became the Cameo, but Mrs. Schaperow bought the building with her sister in the late ‘50’s.
With all of those renovations, unfortunately the sound and projection booths were untouched. Too bad. The building is now protected as part of the Watertown Historic District. In the region at this time, it remains the only second run theatre in operation.
Ed Guinea

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on August 26, 2004 at 9:16 pm

Bantam is nice, but it is too small for me. The auditoriums each seat about 60 people which means everyone is on top of each other and only a few choice seats can see the screen. Bantam is very well run, though,and the size is my only complaint. Country Cinema could learn a thing or two about presentation and service from them.

Robespierre on August 26, 2004 at 8:55 pm

This place was scuzzy when I checked it out 10 years ago. A friend wants to go there tomorrow night…after reading Mr. Katz’s comments, I want to run the other way. I think I’ll try talking her into going to Bantam Cinema, in Bantam. If you’ve never been there, I’d like to suggest that you check it out. They show everything, foreign films, independents, documentaries, a “meet the producer” night, they have it all. The place is clean, the concession stand is top-rate (a bit $$$ though), even the coffee is good. You can join their membership program, mostly free movies (not sure about weekends or special events), for $140 a year. As for refunds, I attended an afternoon showing on a Wednesday, there were 6 of us in the audience, the movie screwed up twice, for maybe a minute each time, we all received free vouchers for another movie. If you were able to travel to Watertown, take the extra 15-20 minutes and drive on through to Bantam…you won’t be disappointed. And if you’re hungry before or afterwards, there’s are a few pretty decent restaurants in the area. A good deal, all around~

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on January 11, 2004 at 12:27 am

I hate to criticize, but I would bet that this is probably the most poorly run movie theatre in the entire country. Here’s the story of tonight’s misfortunes:

I went to see the 9:00 showing of Kill Bill. The theatre owner was running the concession stand while his approximately 10-year-old grandson sold the tickets. When the movie starts the theatre owner is supposed to go up to the booth, turn on the projector, and then ensure everything is all set. Apparently he went into the booth, turned the projector on, and then went back to the concession stand. After a couple of minutes I went out to the lobby and told him that he needed to turn off the lights on the theatre, which were still shining brightly. He commented that he had forgotten and then turned them down. Now that it was dark enough to see the picture I went back in and soon realized it was way out of focus. I went out to the lobby, asked the 10-year-old who was the only one out there where the guy running the theatre was and he told me that HE was now the one running the theatre. Apparently the theatre owner had left to do something and for quite a while the theatre was staffed only by one 10-year-old boy (and yes he was 10, I’m not exaggerating). In addition to being out of focus, the picture was too wide for the screen so not only did it shine on the wall next to the screen, but also on the curtains on the side of the auditorium. Also they had it in the wrong place as the bottom of it was below the screen while the top part of the screen was dark. Finally after about 15 minutes the owner returned and focused the movie. Naturally, there was about 10 seconds of darkness when switching from one projector to the other in the middle of the film, and then of course also the picture ran off the opposite side of the screen from the one it was running off before.

I will not go back to this theatre again unless the movie I want to see is playing nowhere else. For $4 I was able to put up with the ratty screen and messed up seats, but such horrid presentation is unacceptable. I have never worked in the movie business, but I swear I could do a better job running a theatre than this guy. Hell, it would literally be impossible to do worse. If only it comes up for sale sometime…

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on December 29, 2003 at 6:53 pm

According to Yahoo! Maps, from Country Cinema it is 7.6 miles to the 10-plex and 7.8 miles to the 12-plex.

BTW, Larry, you should edit your profile and put a link to your e-mail on there, it would make it much easier to converse!

Lawrence on December 29, 2003 at 5:15 pm

Roger, do you happen to know the exact mileage from the Country Cinema to the big screen plexes in the larger city – door to door?
I am a film buyer for independent theater operators and have been
very successful in breaking “clearances” depending on mileage
and population, demographics,etc. Just Curious if I might be able
to help this little guy out.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on December 29, 2003 at 3:26 pm

It can’t go first run because in the city bordering it are twenty-two first run screens and in another small town next to it there are two art screens.

Lawrence on December 29, 2003 at 1:19 pm

What a shame that this cute house is in such disrepair.
Being the only cinema in this community, I wonder why the owner
does not attempt to run 1st Run fare and charge only a $5 admission
which is completely acceptable in a country town venue?
With such a policy he could probably make more money and upgrade
the house into a solid profitmaker.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on December 25, 2003 at 6:01 pm

This is the only movie theatre left in Watertown as the Watertown Drive-In is now abandoned and decayed and the Community Theatre now houses a live theatre. I’m not sure of the owner’s name, but he has a foreign accent and runs the cinema with his son, I believe. It is a very poorly operated theatre. It is falling apart and dirty. At least once per show there is a gap in the movie because the next reel is having trouble starting or was threaded wrong. Also, a friend in the business tells me any prints received from Country Cinema are absolutely destroyed. That being said, I still go to movies here because, after all, where else can you see a show for only $4.00?

Lawrence on December 25, 2003 at 3:53 pm

Is this the only movie house in Watertown CT?
Does anyone know “who” the owner is by chance?
How to get intouch with them maybe?

William on November 19, 2003 at 7:33 pm

The Cameo Theatre seated 462 people.

GaryParks on January 22, 2003 at 5:16 pm

My late father told me he remembered this theatre opening as the Cameo when he lived in Watertown. According to him, it was a pre-existing auditorium which had been used for a variety of purposes including movies, but was rather lackluster. It was when refurbished as the Cameo that Watertown really felt they had a proper movie theatre. The person behind this refurbishing was a woman who also owned and operated one of the big theatres over in Waterbury, either the State or the Strand, I can’t remember which.

Watertown also had a first-rate movie screening facility in the auditorium of Taft School, a private prep-school for boys. In the Thirties, the son of one of the Skouras brothers was a student there, and so his father equipped the school’s auditorium with then state of the art projection equipment. It was at that time not unheard of for brand new movies to make a one-night stop at Taft School while en route from one nearby city to another.