Boston Opera House

539 Washington Street,
Boston, MA 02111

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Showing 1 - 25 of 141 comments

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on August 14, 2016 at 4:50 am

Why was it cancelled?

BobSchlapowitz
BobSchlapowitz on August 13, 2016 at 9:04 pm

The Star Wars Trilogy screening was cancelled.

Nataloff
Nataloff on June 3, 2016 at 3:07 am

@David Zornig & other friends: I was in the “Casino Royale” riot and later worked with the Columbia field PR man, John Markle, who set it up. I have a book coming out after Labor Day (2016) called “Screen Saver” about this and other memories of doing publicity in Boston for Sack Theatres and then as a critic and producer in Boston, NY, and LA. The book will be available from Amazon or directly from the publisher Bear Manor Media (www.bearmanormedia.com) but it won’t be listed for a couple of months. You heard it here.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on April 13, 2016 at 12:36 pm

A comment yesterday at the Kings Brooklyn page on this site was that the Star Wars films will be DCP (current movie theater digital standard).

Bill L
Bill L on April 13, 2016 at 6:23 am

Sack would have almost certainly pulled out their equipment when they walked away from the house. I don’t think a movie has been shown there since. They will probably bring in a portable digital projection setup for this show.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on April 13, 2016 at 5:05 am

I think this will be the first movie shown here since it closed as the Sack Savoy in the late 1970s. Do they still have projection equipment?

BobSchlapowitz
BobSchlapowitz on April 13, 2016 at 5:02 am

http://www.ew.com/article/2016/04/12/star-wars-original-trilogy-alamo?iid=sr-link1

In August they are screening the Star Wars Trilogy at the Boston Opera House!

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on November 27, 2015 at 9:41 pm

1973 photo of the Tremont side of the Savoy added, photo credit Carl Bertolino.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on April 13, 2015 at 5:17 am

1967 newspaper image and copy added courtesy of Tim O'Neill.

Movie theatre riot in Boston; May, 1967. Here’s what happened: A Columbia Pictures publicist came up with an idea…..If anyone showed up at the Savoy Theatre at 2:00 a.m. for the premiere of the James Bond spoof, CASINO ROYALE, wearing a trench coat, that person gets in for free. Well; apparently there was a pre-exam reading period going on at Boston colleges so; therefore, thousands of college students had some free time on their hands so 15,000 students wearing trench coats showed up and, of course, most of them couldn’t get into the theatre so a riot broke out.

Elyse Eisenberg
Elyse Eisenberg on October 7, 2014 at 11:04 pm

Hi Guys! Accidental browsing returned me to this site. Saw Laurie/Lee Arnone and Nat Segaloff’s posts. Just posted my photo to see if anyone remembers me. Hope I haven’t changed too much. Lee/Laurie, sorry we never crossed paths when you lived here. I remember you very well. In 1980 Warner Bros moved me to NYC after Boston then transferred me to LA in 1983. Living in West Hollywood since 1987. A struggling producer after almost two decades at WB, VP Worldwide Acquisitions. Fun career and I credit my start at the Sack Savoy for it. If anyone wanders here again, say hi!

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 26, 2013 at 8:11 pm

The Theatre Historical Society archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the (then) “RKO Memorial” Theatre. The condition of the theater was “Deluxe”; there were 1641 orchestra seats and 1266 balcony seats; total: 2907. There is an exterior photo of the Washington Street entrance taken in 1941.

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

The Grand opening ads for the Keith Memorial and Savoy has been uploaded here.

Nataloff
Nataloff on August 14, 2012 at 5:20 am

Apparently this is the site that pops up when you can’t sleep. I’m Nat Segaloff and I was publicity director of Sack Theatres from January 0f 1973 through November of 1974. I remember a lot of great people who worked at the Savoy including Lee (nee Laurie) Arnone, George Andriotti, Fran DeVasto, Steve Amy, Keith Langan, Cedric Henderson, Barbara, John Goyack, and I’m trying to connect faces with the names on this thread, so please help. Of course, the last entry was in April of 2012 and before that in 2011, so there’s more of a chance of the bust of B. F. Keith singing “Volari” than of my hearing back from or about anybody. BTW, I moved to LA in 1993 and have been writing books and producing TV shows off and on since then. And I miss Boston every day.

123leearnone
123leearnone on April 25, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Hi, stumbled across this site and was thrilled to see comments on the Savoy theater. I was the manager of the Savoy from about 1970 to 1972 ? Before the Savoy I was at the Music Hall. The comments brought back forgotten memories. Wow. Cedric Henderson was the black assistant manger great guy as I remember. John Goyack was my assistant. I left the theater and traveled for a year to Columbia South America, went to an island called San Andreas. This was at the recommendation of one of the girls from BU if I recall. Then went to Los Angeles to study film making and acting. Lived in LA for almost fourty years, in Marina Del Rey. Now I live on a ranch in New Mexico. After moving to LA I changed my first name to Lee from Laurie and it is Arnone. Thank you for the thoughts. Lee

Elyse Eisenberg
Elyse Eisenberg on October 1, 2011 at 9:08 pm

It was definitely Laurie who hired us. I worked for him from Sept 72 through May 74, excluding summers when I went home. Spent a year abroad and didn’t work there when I came back, but Laurie still got me free passes through 76. Lost touch with him when I went to work for General Cinema’s corporate offices in Chestnut Hill in 77.
Thanks for triggering the memory. I’m not sure if the other guy I knew was Goyeyak, but it could have been. Was he about 5'10" with light brown straight hair, medium build and – I think – glasses? Risa and I were both long dark haired tall girls. I think Risa just worked there for 72-73. I remember Barbara well. She was a classic type and scared me a litltle. I think I have a vague memory of you. For sure we must have worked together. I know I was very friendly for a while with an assistant manager, but think it might have been Goyeyak if he looks like I described. Best, Elyse

floridaskater2003
floridaskater2003 on October 1, 2011 at 4:08 am

Hi Else19,

The manager of the Savoy at that time was Laurie Arnoney. There were two others who were assistant managers before me… one was a black guy whose last name was Henderson and the other was named Goyeyak. (I’m sure the spelling is wrong) But Laurie Arnoney was a small guy with dark hair. Goyeyak went on to work at the Music Hall and the Cheri, two other sack theatres. I do remember a tall blond girl who worked there. Would that be you? I was friends with an italian kid who was an usher. He was from revere and his name was George. We used to hang out together and smoke pot up on the mezzanine. I helped the maintenance guy too. I can’t remember his name but we would lower the huge chandelier in the lobby with a winch and replace the burnt out bulbs. There was an old usher named Tony who had worked there for years. We had a mouse problem in the theatre and one day he killed one in the middle of the lobby by stomping on it with his shoe. This was around the time when they tore down Raymond’s department store accross the street. You might remember Barbara who worked the box office on Washington street also worked the box office down the street at one of the combat zone movie theatres at night. She always had a butt in her mouth and a cup of coffee in front of her. Oh, and by the way, my name is Dennis. I was 6 feet tall average weight with long blond hair. Let me know if any of that sounds familiar.

Elyse Eisenberg
Elyse Eisenberg on October 1, 2011 at 1:46 am

@floridaskater2003 – we worked the same years. Do you remember me and my roommate Risa, two BU students? I worked mostly for two managers in those years but I forget their names. The main guy worked there for several years and is the one who hired us. He was dark haired and slight, possibly Italian but don’t remember exactly. Worked with Alan Friedberg and ran into him a few years later when I was working for WB. It was at a NATO meeting in Miami and he invited me to be his mistress. I declined.

floridaskater2003
floridaskater2003 on September 29, 2011 at 5:38 am

Like Elyse19 I just happened upon this site during one of my sleepless nights. I also worked at the savoy in 1972 to 1973. It was such a cool place. I started as an usher and porter cleaning the butts and trash in the theatres and in the hall that ran from washington to the alley behind the tremont st. entrance. The movies that played in addition to sounder were, the mechanic with charles bronson, live and let die, superfly, lady sings the blues with diana ross and the charles manson documentary by vincent bugliosi, Helter Skelter. We would explore the dressing rooms under the theatre which hadn’t been used in years. Pretty spooky place. Fran the candy lady was one of my favorites who worked there. Barbara worked the box office on washington st and we had our first movie start every morning at 10. When i collected tickets in the big theatre, I was responsible for the button that buzzed people into the sack offices upstairs. The door was a few steps down the hall. I would talk to Alan Friedburg, Ben Sack and Nat Segaloff daily. i worked my way up to assistant manager in 1973 and left shortly after for another career. But I’ll never forget my times at the old savoy. In addition to the main theatre there was a smaller screen theatre further down the hall and sack owned an apartment building next door in the back alley.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 11, 2011 at 8:26 pm

I was downtown today and went by the theater’s Washington Street lobby entrance. Set back several inches from the sidewalk just inside the entrance (under the marquee) there is a prison-like wall of heavy metal bars. The wall has a double gate which opens and swings out. This area looks like the entrance to Alcatraz Prison or the Bastille.

Elyse Eisenberg
Elyse Eisenberg on March 19, 2011 at 9:44 pm

This was a nice surprise finding this site by chance, following a link from the restoration of the Belasco Theater here in Los Angeles. It made me want to search for the elegant old theater where I began my film career – the Sack Savoy Theater.

It was 1972. My freshman college roommate and I wanted a part-time job where we could work together. I wanted to work in a movie theater as I was already an avid film buff and wanted free tickets. I saw an ad for the Sack Savoy and we hopped on the trolley from BU, talking the manager into hiring us but only if we worked the same shifts as this area was notorious for being in the middle of the seedy Combat Zone and just down the street from where Chesty Morgan was showing off her notorious attributes. The films were geared for the downtown action crowd, and sometimes it was a little spooky going through that damp tunnel into the main theater.

I started in the small theater in the back, first selling candy and popcorn, later promoted to tickets, first at the Tremont Street entrance, the next year upped to the main box office on Washington. Playing for what seemed like months was SOUNDER, the first serious crossover drama about a black family and earning Cicely Tyson an Academy Award nomination. The big theater was mobbed every night for the brand new action star, Bruce Lee, starring in FISTS OF FURY and the next year ENTER THE DRAGON.

Owner Ben Sack, who never emerged from his upstairs offices, called down every day at the same time to ask what the day’s gross was and what serial number on the ticket we were up to. We all had to be ready for the call and it was always nerve-wracking to make sure our numbers and BO take matched. The calls were always very abrupt. He never said his name. Just asked for the numbers and hung up. I worked for him for several years and laid eyes on him maybe once.

A couple of times the manager allowed us to explore the old areas upstairs from when it was a live music hall. I remember it being very dusty everywhere, with one room featuring a large old fashioned billiards table, and the old bathrooms or “lounges” were over the top. You could still see how glamorous and beautiful the theater had been, with the soaring marble columns and ornately painted ceilings everywhere, even upstairs covered under the dust and old equipment. I loved coming to work every day. Our pay was $10.10 a shift â€" a decent part-time pay in those days, plus the incredible good fortune of getting in free to every theater all over Boston to see whatever we wanted any day of the week. All we had to do was call the manager and he called ahead for passes. Being the home theater of the chain’s owner, working at the Savoy had its own prestige.

Landed a job at General Cinema on graduation (as a receptionist, but I got the job because of my long experience at the Savoy!), and a couple of jobs later for Warner Bros (because of my extensive film background!) for almost two decades, ultimately as VP of Worldwide Acquisitions. When people asked me how I started in this business, I always happily reported: selling tickets and popcorn. Those were the glory times and many happy memories. An aside – my freshman roommate continued in the film biz too, a long time agent and now a talent manager.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on October 6, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Yes, even the marquee said “Keith’s” at least for a time. But none of the Boston newspaper ad pages which I clipped starting in the late-1940s used any other name but “Keith Memorial”. And my point was that the name as “Keith’s” was not in common spoken usage. It was called the “Keith Memorial”, definitely not the “Keith’s Memorial”. In other cities which had Keith theaters, I believe that the houses were probably called “Keith’s Theater”.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on October 6, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Ron, this Globe movie page from October 1959 (linked from this blog entry) has an ad calling it “RKO KEITH’S Memorial”, with the apostrophe.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 23, 2010 at 6:58 pm

“Signs of the Times” Magazine was a trade publication for the outdoor advertising industry. A 1939 issue (I don’t know which one) has a small item about a new billboard for the Keith Memorial Theatre in Boston. The billboard belonged to Donnelly Advertising. I don’t know if there was just one billboard, or several. It was illuminated at night, including neon in the theater name. The photo shows a billboard out somewhere with no buildings, only trees in the background. The sign reads “Keith Memorial Theatre – First in Boston for Generations”. Under “Now” is a poster for a movie whose title looks like “In Name Only”. It’s interesting that there is no “RKO” in the theater name. Also, it’s called “Keith Memorial”, not “Keith’s Memorial” (I never, ever, heard it called that). Of course, by 1939, it had only been “First in Boston” for half a generation, but Keith entertainment had been present in Boston since the 1880s.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 21, 2010 at 7:30 pm

The marquee and the verticle cloth banner above it have now been changed to read “Boston Opera House” instead of just plain “Opera House”. Most TV and newspaper ads for shows at this venue now have “Boston Opera House” as the theater name instead of “Opera House”.