Sag Harbor Cinema

90 Main Street,
Sag Harbor, NY 11963

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Sag Harbor Cinema

Built on the site of the George’s Theatre. The Elite Theatre opened on November 1, 1919 with Douglas Fairbanks in “His Majesty, The American” plus two Fatty Arbuckle comedies. Seating was provided for 700 in the orchestra and 300 in the balcony. The Elite Theatre was equipped with a Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ.

The theatre was renamed Glynne’s Sag Harbor Theatre when it was acquired by the Mike Glynne’s chain in September 1927, for an amount rumored to be between $35,000 and $40,000. On October 13, 1929 it screened its first ‘talkie’ “Kitty” starring Estelle Brody. The movie was a British made part-talkie.

This small town movie house was remodeled in 1936 by Prudential Long Island Theatres Inc. and a new 516-seat auditorium and facade was designed by noted theatre architect John Eberson. It reopened June 3, 1936 with Shiley Temple in “Captain January”. It became best known architecturally for its vintage auditorium, white facade, and neon lettering.

In July 1968 Prudential were taken over by United Artists and it was renamed Sag Harbor Cinema. It is located in the central shopping district of this popular resort town near the Hamptons. Still a delightful single screen art house cinema, its chocolate covered popcorn is also not to be missed!

On 16th December 2016 the front of the Sag Harbor Cinema was destroyed by a fire which spread from a nearby cafe. The auditorium was spared. In June 2018 plans were pass to rebuild and restore the theatre.

Recent comments (view all 38 comments)

robboehm on December 19, 2016 at 7:52 pm

I wouldn’t think that moviebuff. The roof collapsed and they put tons of water on it. From the accounts I read the place was a total loss except for the signage. Also, from accounts I read previously there was a small balcony. After the demo of the facade there is no signs of that.

DavidZornig on December 21, 2016 at 4:20 pm

FYI, another local piece.

robboehm on December 21, 2016 at 5:24 pm

Stories are conflicting about the auditorium itself. Time will tell.

Curtis Cooper
Curtis Cooper on December 26, 2016 at 4:58 pm

And another local piece:

robboehm on May 18, 2017 at 10:03 pm

The May 18, 2017 Newsday reports that Billy Joel has contributed $500,000 to the rebuilding project which entitles him to naming rights of the theater’s popcorn stand.

This pushes fund raising efforts to $2.25 million. The Sag Harbor Partnership signed an agreement on April 6 to buy the property from the owner at an asking price of 8 Million but they must have 75% of this pledged by July 1st. (Originally the quoted asking price before the fire was $18 million.)They also hope to raise an additional $5 million to rebuild the iconic facade, upgrade the sound and projection in the main theater and add two smaller screening rooms.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 14, 2017 at 11:30 am

As we approach the first anniversary of the disasterous fire which occured on December 16, 2016, I would like to give you details of a wonderful book which has been published in 2017:

“Sag Harbor:100 Years of Film in the Village” by Annette Hinkle. Published by East End Press and available from Amazon for $35.00

With 128 pages and hundreds of photographs (many in color), the book charts the history of the theatre and others in the town, right up to that fateful night. It is a ‘must’ for any collector of cinema buildings books.

robboehm on March 29, 2018 at 7:24 pm

The village planning board has approved a proposal for the rebuilding of the theater with a projected cost of $6 million. A public hearing will be held on April 12th. Under the plan the facade of the old theater will be replicated using the refurbished neon sign. The auditorium will be split in two with seating of 200 and 100. Additional footage will be added to the second and third floors. The second floor will be the home to a 49 seat screening/class room. A grand staircase will connect the floors and there will be a ground floor cafe.

The non-profit Harbor Partnership purchased the building for $8 million earlier this year.

robboehm on January 11, 2019 at 3:37 am

The Sag Harbor Partnership purchased the cinema for 8 million dollars in January 2018. This was made possible in part by a 1.5 million dollar grant from the state. In October 2018 the restored sign was illuminated (see uploaded photo). It is hoped that the 6 million dollar renovation will be completed this year.

robboehm on January 17, 2019 at 10:14 pm

Don’t know what it cost to build but it was sold in 1929 for between $35,000 and $40,000. Before the fire the asking price was 14 million. Talk about appreciation, or it is greed.

robboehm on May 26, 2019 at 8:38 pm

Just saw a news story on News 12 where they relite the refurbished signage on the new building facade (which replicates the old). This was done symbolically to signal the rebirth of the cinema towards the end of this year.

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