Cinema X

499 Sumner Avenue,
Springfield, MA 01108

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Cinema X

The Philips Theatre (located on Sumner Avenue near Western Massachusetts Theatres' Bing Theatre) was one of several neighborhood theaters operated by Herman Rifkin Theatres.

Sometime in the 1960’s, the Philips Theatre was renamed Cinema X and showcased "art" films interspersed with soft core porn.

It was razed in the early-1990’s to make way for a Walgreens.

Contributed by Dr. Russ Durocher

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

harliqui83 on August 10, 2006 at 11:25 am

I worked at Cinema x in the mid 1960’s. i was the janitor. The “X” was run by a husband and wife team who lived on Wilbraham mountain. In their spare time they would watch tv and time the commercials. I still don’t know why. i would get home from high school and bike up the the x. I loved going to work!
We ran movies you could not or would not see any place else. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg with a very young Catherine Deneuve singing all the dialog. I still remember.
My two strongest memories of the “X” were, 1)the Batman serials. Someone put together all the Batman shorts that would run in movie theaters during world war II. Together they ran about six hours. They showed a very strong anti-Japanese/racist face of America. People would come to the show during the day and walk out confused. Then………the late show would start and all the college kids, AIC, Springfield college even UMass kids would show up and the place would rock. I can’t remember the comments from the seats but i vividly remember being on my knees laughing so hard i cried.2) i was working in the theater, vacuuming actually, when the machine stopped working. Since the vacuum was older than i was i figured just another breakdown. I went up to the lobby to call the boss when i heard much honking outside. I went to look and found that all the traffic lights were out, cool i thought. I went back inside the theater and then i noticed that the emergency lights were on, strange. I was a little slow but after a while i figured it out, so when someone asks me where i was during Great Northeast Blackout of 1965, i say i was at the “X” working.


BrooklynJim on August 10, 2006 at 12:36 pm

Tom X, the Batman serial you referenced above, originally shown in 1943, ran at our local 3rd rate theater, the Peerless in Brooklyn, as a re-run a decade later. Flash-forward to 1966: to capitalize on the popularity of the campy Batman TV show, the 8th Street Playhouse in Greenwich Village, NY, and your own Cinema X in Springfield, among others, ran all 4 hours and 20 minutes – with all recaps and coming attractions – of this WWII exercise in adventure and racism. (J. Carroll Naish as the evil Prince Tito Daka was a hoot, though.)

The Batman serial was issued on two VHS tapes in 1988, and earlier this year on DVD, (as was the one from 1949 last year). Expect some dubbed dialog on the first, as Columbia was purchased by Sony back in the ‘80s. But they did leave the following intact:

Linda, Bruce Wayne’s , surprised by Daka in his underground hideout:
“You’re a JAP!!!"
Naish, as Daka, lip curling into a sneer:
"Please to say…‘Nipponese’.”

BrooklynJim on August 10, 2006 at 2:03 pm

…and speaking of editing (aka censoring), CT’s very own “Legion of Decency” filter has struck again! I should’ve remembered that the word “g – i – r – l” is verboten when I wrote “Bruce Wayne’s ***” in the last section above. LOL! At any rate, Shirley Patterson played Linda Page, Bruce Wayne’s “girlfriend” or “lady friend.” (I just love it when they make me write so &#!%&@ respectfully…)

[Graffiti written in 3 separate handwritings in a NYU toilet:

“I love grils.”

“That’s ‘G -i- r – l – s,’ stupid!”

“What about us grils?”

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 22, 2007 at 8:42 am

There is a MGM Theatre Photograph and Report form for the Phillips Theatre in Springfield with an exterior photo dated March 1941. The theatre had a narrow free-standing entrance 1-plus story high with a rectangular marquee with “Phillips” on the front, and an arch and cornice above. There was a poster case on the right side of the entrance and what looks like a little ticket booth on the left side. The Report states that the Phillips was at 499 Summer St.,that it had been playing MGM product for over 10 years; was over 20 years old and in Fair condition. The seating was listed as 742 on the main floor and 420 in the balcony, total: 1,162 seats. It was described as having “Neighborhood” patronage.

spectrum on May 14, 2007 at 11:22 am

Th went to the Cinema X in the mid 1980s. At that time it did not show porn films, it was all 2nd run movies. As you entered, you’d go down a short entrance corridor; then the concession stand to the left, the balcony stairs to the right, and straight ahead you’d enter the inner foyer at the back of the auditorium, which went off to the left. The decor was fairly classical, appeared to date from the 1920s. Balcony was closed, the proscenium was hidden behind a screen which had obviously been installed recently. It wasn’t in bad shape, and I’m sorry that it didn’t survive – by the early 1980s it was closed.

dave-bronx™ on May 14, 2007 at 12:08 pm

Does Cinema Treasures actually delete the word ‘girl’ from the sentence ‘Linda, Bruce Wayne’s girl, surprised by Daka in his underground hideout:’?? Let’s see….

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 17, 2010 at 11:20 am

As the “Phillipps”, this theater is listed in the 1927 Film Daily Yearbook as having 916 seats, open daily.

rivest266 on September 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm

November 13th, 1963 grand opening ad posted here.

rvrinsea on September 15, 2015 at 3:41 am

My memories of Cinema X. It was eclectic programming to say the least. During the early 1970’s it was playing hardcore porn – had the area run of “Deep Throat” among others. Switched to art films – I remember seeing the Chaplin re-releases in the mid-1970’s along with first runs of the “Groove Tube” and “Monty Python & The Holy Grail” – never recall any major studio releases which were pretty well locked up by Showcase Cinemas in West Springfield.

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