28 State Street,
Gorham, ME 04038

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The Gorham Theatre was opened in 1940. By 1943 it had been renamed Playhouse. I only know this theatre from the small amount of time I worked there as a projectionist 1965-1966. It was an old rectangular, two-story, wooden structure with (white?) clapboard siding. Typical seating with one large middle section and two small rows down the sides.

I recall the projection booth was modest in size. Old Simplex projectors that worked flawlessly as most did. What stood out in my memory was the masking of the screen. The black felt was moved sideways and up-down by an elegant system of motor-operated ropes and pulleys. However, while I was there, the system hadn’t been used in years, the ropes were dry, the pulleys were cranky and it stayed full open.

They had Tushinsky Anamorphic lenses for CinemaScope movies. Erratic in operation, they wouldn’t hold a setting well when removed and re-inserted. Thus the projectionist had to re-focus, re-center and re-adjust stretch for the first reel of every CinemaScope movie. The owner was thrifty and carbon-stretchers were used constantly and right down to the nub.

I wish I remembered more of the lobby and the auditorium, but memory is dim.

Contributed by Roger Kirk

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on August 1, 2015 at 11:45 am

The Theatre Historical Society on-line archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the Playhouse; it’s Card # 375. Adddress is “Main St.” There is an exterior photo dated March 6, 1941. The marquee reads “Gorham” Theater. Someone typed “Gorham” as the theater name, and then that was crossed out and someone wrote “Playhouse” next to it. So it was the Gorham Theatre, renamed Playhouse. Condition was Good. The report says it opened in 1940, was showing MGM films, and had 450 seats. The 1940 population was 3,500.

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