Plaza Theatre

1120 Columbus Avenue,
Roxbury, MA 02120

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The Plaza Theatre was one of several neighborhood movie theatres scattered through the Roxbury area to the south of downtown Boston. Further information welcomed.

Contributed by Ron Salters

Recent comments (view all 18 comments)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on January 28, 2011 at 8:16 pm

The theater at this address, 1122 Columbus Avenue, is listed as the “Superb Theatre” in the Boston Register and Business Directory, Issue 83, 1918; and as the “Eliot Theatre”, in the same directory, Issue 85, 1921.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 12, 2011 at 7:19 pm

The name was changed from Criterion to Plaza sometime in the post-WW2 era.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 9, 2011 at 8:21 pm

The comedian Fred Allen, who grew up in Dorchester, mentions playing at this theater twice, once at an “Amateur Night” show and later as a small-time professional. This was in the 1912-13 period. He says that the name “Superb Theatre” (in Roxbury) was somewhat of a joke; that it was typical of the neighborhood theaters springing up after 1910 as the result of the “motion picture”, that it was a rectangular box with no balcony and a rudimentary shallow platform-stage in front of the movie screen.

MarkB
MarkB on April 27, 2011 at 7:44 am

The building wasn’t there yet in 1915 – a series of brick buildings preceded it. In 1931, the Criterion was there, on the corner of Texas. The theater faced across to the Roxbury Crossing train station. It was just south of where Tremont met Columbus ave, and actually lined up with Tremont st. On the other corner of Texat st, the building was 1348 Tremont. The Tremont street numbering then skipped over the block the Criterion was in, and picked up where Tremont turned under the railroad tracks towards Mission Hill.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 1, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Yes, Chuck Schoen pointed out above that the street numbering was complicated in this block. We know from the city directory that there was a Superb Theatre at this address in 1918, but if there was no theater there prior to 1915, then where was the Superb Theatre in Roxbury where Fred Allen performed around 1913?? Was it somewhere else, and if so, what became of it? The people who could give us quick answers to these questions aren’t around anymore, alas.

MarkB
MarkB on May 4, 2011 at 2:22 am

Criterion, 1931:

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rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 4, 2011 at 6:57 pm

The map shows very well the blending for one block of Tremont and Columbus. The theater is right where I thought it to be, but now I understand the street numbering scheme much better.

rivest266
rivest266 on May 12, 2013 at 2:01 pm

This opened on August 20th, 1948.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 12, 2013 at 7:01 pm

The 1948 opening was a name change, from Criterion Theatre to Plaza Theatre.

rrahim
rrahim on November 10, 2013 at 2:00 pm

My siblings and I use to walk to the Plaza theatre on Saturday mornings for the early shows. We were living on Vernon and Tremont St at the time. It was in the early 1950’s and safe enough for 7, 8 and 9 year olds to walk there by themselves and see a movie unaccompanied. Those were the days!

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