Jamaica Theatre

413 Centre Street,
Boston, MA 02130

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The Jamaica Theatre was a large neighborhood house on Center Street in Jamaica Plain. It was opened in 1921 and at one time run by M & P Theatres, a Paramount affiliate.

Contributed by Ron Salters

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

bobbyfran
bobbyfran on February 22, 2008 at 4:04 pm

The Egleston theatre was a bit more subdued as far as kiddie behavior. As I now look back at those days in the early 1950s, Mr Sweeney at the Jamaica Theatre tolerated quite a bit, within reason. The Egleston manager did not. As I recall, the Egleston ticket prices were higher than the Jamaica.

I draw a blank as far as the Strand goes but will ask my sister.

The Madison was the craziest movie theatre around. In fact, our knickname for it was “The Spitbox”!! I’ve seen kids get up and walk on the stage in front of the screen. I once saw someone throw a knife at the screen and then go up and retrieve it by pulling it out of whatever the backing for the screen was. I forget the managers name. He was small in stature but a real, no nonsense, tough guy. If he could catch the offender, they were thrown out the door bodily. No lawsuits in those days. I have to admit that I didn’t go to movies too often at the Madison.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 23, 2008 at 1:54 pm

Thanks Bob D. How about posting your memories directly on the pages for the Madison and the Egleston -anything and everything you can remember. There is very little posted there so far, especially for the Madison.

MarkB
MarkB on November 21, 2008 at 11:43 pm

The Jamaica Theatre was at the site of the present Hi-Lo supermarket parking lot, at the corner of Centre and Barbara streets.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 22, 2008 at 12:55 pm

Thanks for the info, MarkB. Please post anything you can find out about these neighborhood theaters in JP and surrounding areas. There is very little posted about them here in Cinema Treasures.

MarkB
MarkB on November 22, 2008 at 6:07 pm

Ron

This article is from my blog. It includes the Jamaica, the Strand and the Madison.

View link

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 23, 2008 at 12:44 pm

Mark-not-Whitey – enjoyed your blog, the theater ads and the little site maps are very helpful. I will be going back there to read more of the trains and trolleys info. Please see if you can locate the “Eggie” on a map; it was right below the El structure somewhere in Egleston Square.

MarkB
MarkB on February 1, 2012 at 12:42 am

The Egleston and the Jamaica theatres were both advertised under the M&P banner in the Boston Globe They sometimes ran the same films at the same time

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 28, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Given the size, age, name, and location of the Jamaica Theatre, it must be the theater that the January 15, 1921, issue of The American Contractor said was then under construction:

“Theater (M. P.): 2 sty. 120x83. Hyde Sq. Jamaica Plain. Archt. Wm. Dykeman, 120 Tremont st. Owner Jamaica Amusement Co., Fred'k Greene, 37 Tremont st. Fdn. let to Jos. Imhof, 6 Ashley St., Jamaica Plain. Work started.”

MarkB
MarkB on August 28, 2012 at 10:08 pm

I just added a fire insurance map that shows the location of the building.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 6, 2015 at 11:50 pm

While I think that the 1921 project described in my previous comment was most likely the Jamaica, there was project for a 1,200 seat house at Centre and Perkins Streets in 1915 for the Hyde Square Theatre Company. It was still in the design stage according to the March 27 issue of The American Contractor, so perhaps the bids were too high and it remained unbuilt. MarkB’s insurance map shows that the Jamaica was down the block at the corner Barbara Street, in any case.

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