Concord Theater

18 S. Main Street,
Concord, NH 03301

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Paul Brogan
Paul Brogan on December 20, 2013 at 10:30 am

Maurice Cantin was the younger brother of Theresa Cantin who, along with her sisters Rene and Laurie, ran the theatre. Maurice was a spare projectionist along with Mert Tolman, Ernie Mayo and Mr. Bunker (never knew his first name). I used to take my life in my hands each time I climbed the ladder to change the marquee since I swear the ladder had been there since the theatre opened in 1934.

As I recall, “The Master Gunfighter” was what they called, at the time, a “four-wall deal”. The releasing company bought the theatre for the run – paying all advertising and giving the theatre a flat rate and taking all box-office income. For a while these types of films did very well and you made a killing in concession income. The releasing company would send a “checker” who stood next to Theresa as she sold tickets and clicked for each sold to make sure his total matched her ticket numbers sold for the evening. I remember wondering whether “checkers” ever smiled or laughed because they always seemed a dour, unhappy group.

Paul Brogan
Paul Brogan on December 20, 2013 at 10:21 am

The picture above was taken in the fall of 1975 and the theatre’s attraction was “The Master Gunfighter” The second line reads – Billy Jack Presents.

The theatre is still standing and looking in the front door, the original box-office is clearly visible as is the long lobby leading up to the upper lobby. The current owners will not allow the theatre to be viewed although I know of at least 2 people interested in buying it and reopening it as some kind of theatre.

As an aside, the side of the building was also plastered at one point with a poster for “Some Like it Hot”, “Around the World in 80 Days” and “Cleopatra” with Taylor/Burton/Harrison.

The last time they did the enormous poster on the building’s side was for “Hawaii” which played in late summer of 1967 – touted as “Direct from it’s Roadshow Engagement – First time at Popular Prices!”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 27, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Bird’s Eye view of the Concord Theatre area at Bing Maps is dated 2012 and shows the theater still standing, auditorium and all. The auditorium roof looks to be in pretty rough shape, though. If it doesn’t get some attention soon, this theater will deteriorate fast.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on October 27, 2013 at 7:08 pm

jaboschen is right. The lobby building and auditorium both still stand. You can see it on the Google Maps overhead view and street view. Endicott Furniture, as shown in the old photo above, is still next door to the theatre. From the Google Street view you can even see the writing “Concord Theatre” on the sidewalk of the entryway to the former theatre.

jaboschen
jaboschen on October 27, 2013 at 6:19 pm

I was in the area the other day and took a look at this cool little place. From my observations, I don’t believe the auditorium portion of the building was demolished. If you walk down into the parking lot next to the building you can see the original exit doors to the auditorium on the side. Would love to see this one preserved… I wonder how much of the interior is still there?

alwalks
alwalks on September 18, 2013 at 3:27 pm

During the late 50’s the movie “The 10 Commandments” was making the rounds. The Concord Theater had the entire south wall of their building plastered with a color billboard of the show showing Charlton Heston holding up the Ten Commandments stones. This show was far outlasted by the eventually peeling paper from the billboard. As a side note. Maurice Cantin became my school bus driver in East Concord and the route took us to Eastman Elementary School. Eventually he retired and spent his winters down in Panama City FL,near my home. I grew up in Concord, and left in 1969 after getting drafted.

Paul Brogan
Paul Brogan on October 28, 2011 at 3:19 pm

http://concord-nh.patch.com/blog_posts/the-truth-behind-the-concord-theatre

pebrogan
pebrogan on April 13, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Did you get any responses on your questions? If not, please let me know and I’ll see if I can direct you.

Thanks

kemackenzie2
kemackenzie2 on January 5, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Hello, I’m working on an article about Conn’s Theater and I would love more information about the theater and Jacob Conn if anyone can help. My e-mail address is kmackenzie(at)theconcordinsider(dot)com.

Thank you!!

cdmor
cdmor on October 27, 2009 at 2:36 pm

My grandfather worked as a confectioner at the Norris Bakery in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, before it was used as a theater. It was an honore to see pictures of the old building! Thanks!

pebrogan
pebrogan on October 20, 2009 at 8:22 pm

Here is part of an article about Jacob Conn regarding the date that Conn’s Theatre on School Street in Concord was built:

“…that when fire destroyed the old Durgin
factory on School street in 1911 he had enough
to purchase the ruins. Working nights in
the tailor shop, he spent his days cleaning
up the immense heap of blackened bricks.

In June, 1911, the cornerstone of his
theatre was laid and on October 14 of
the next year it was completed and under
his management has been most successful
ever since.“
stables.

pebrogan
pebrogan on October 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm

Mr. Vogel is right about the date – thanks for checking that out. Conn’s Theatre became the American Legion Hall, per someone I spoke to that knows Concord history. It remained the hall until it was demolished in the 1970’s. AS of today, the Concord Theatre is still standing – the box office is intact but there are severe leaks in the roof. It is guesstimated to cost about $ 400 – 450,000 to bring it up to code if it were to be saved.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 17, 2009 at 9:46 pm

The June 7, 1947, issue of Boxoffice said: “J.E. Charbonneu, owner and operator of the Concord, Concord, N.H., for many years, has disposed of the property to Theresa Cantin, who has been booking and managing the house for some time. Charbonneau will retire from active business.”

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on October 17, 2009 at 8:10 pm

Chuck, this was demolished? When?

pebrogan
pebrogan on October 17, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Conn’s Theatre was located on School Street in Concord. Unfortunately they tore down the beautiful building to make way for an ugly parking garage, I believe in the 70’s. As a child in the 60’s I used to walk by the building on my way to shop downtown in Concord. Theresa Cantin purchased the Concord Theatre at 18 ½ South Main Street from Mr. Charbonneau around 1945. Her father, a building contractor, had helped concert the Norris Bakery into the theatre in 1934. From around 1945 on she ran the theatre with her two sisters, Laurie (a projectionist) and Rene who worked the concession stand. Their brother Maurice helped out as a projectionist. At present the building is not very sound but there is federal money available to restore historic downtown theatres. I worked at the theatre off and on from 1967, when I was 15, until it closed in 1994. The last picture to play the theatre was “Andre”. Almost until the end the theatre continued to make money. A year before it closed it sold-out a number of performances of “The Crying Game” and among the biggest hits in the 1980’s to play there were “Moonstruck”, “Pretty in Pink”, “The Shining”, “The Last Emperor. To this day I recall the line-up from the first summer I worked there – "Caprice”, “Two for the Road”, “Welcome to Hard Times”, “The Sand Pebbles”, “Hawaii”, “Woman Times Two” and “Made in Italy”. My first experience with sell-outs came later that year with “Valley of the Dolls” which filled every seat for two shows a night for the first 12 days of the engagement. Some of the biggest hits that followed included “Rocky”, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, “10”, “Arthur”, “Superman” and “Planet of the Apes” to name but a few. Performances in the early years were usually scheduled for 6:25 and 8:25 but Theresa always accommodated her “public” and if someone called from out of town to say they were leaving their house and would be there in fifteen minutes, it was not unusual for her to hold the show for that patron. It was an amazing experience. Theresa, the last surviving sister passed away in 1998 while in the midst of putting together a really good deal to sell the theatre and get it reopened after extensive renovations.

lacoy
lacoy on February 23, 2009 at 2:31 pm

Fantastic photos! My grandmother used to take me to the Star, although it closed when I was very young…Conn’s is definitely the Concord Theater except they added a marquee.

lacoy
lacoy on February 23, 2009 at 10:37 am

I would love to see the photo card you have…Lane in New Orleans…I was raised in Concord, and we used to go to the Concord and Capitol Theaters.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on November 23, 2008 at 7:22 am

I have a postcard-photo of Conn’s Theatre in Concord, NH. Does anyone know if that still exists, was renamed? Built by Jacob Conn, perhaps in the 1920s, it was touted as America’s first fireproof house of entertainment. Conn built two theatres in Providence, the Metropolitan and the Olympia.

Forrest136
Forrest136 on July 3, 2008 at 11:58 am

This was a great place to see films, Ethel Sue Snickers was one of the old dames that ran the place in the late 70’s, her sister Honeybee sold pop corn! Long live Ethel Sue and Honeybee! A great theater!

jgleason
jgleason on June 21, 2008 at 5:15 pm

I wonder if the building is even sound at this point. I remember there used to be a marquee outside but it either fell down or was removed in the mid 90’s. Its a shame to see a building sit empty for so long.

newt
newt on June 1, 2008 at 3:18 am

I lived in Concord from 1948 to 1953, on Washington Street. I started going to the Star Theater on Pleasant Street until it closed in 1951. By that time, I was going to the Concord because they always ran the Roy Rogers films. Sometimes they ran a double feature Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. The fights in line over who should be the King of the Cowboys were sometimes better than the ones on the screen. I came back to Concord for a visit in 1972 and saw John Wayne in “The Cowboys” there. One of the women were still there, in the ticket booth. I have visited Concord since then and have seen how the building has declined. The Star building of course is now a video store. Check my comments on that site. Mike Newton

Susancharbonneau
Susancharbonneau on November 8, 2007 at 9:27 am

Jim Kenison

My grandfather, Edward Charbonneau, owned the Concord Theater from about 1934 through, probably, the 1940s. My father, Hector “Pete” Charbonneau worked there. In fact, it’s where he met my mother, introduced to him by his twin sisters, Pauline and Jacqueline. My uncle Marcel may also have worked at the theater, but I never heard any stories about that.

Susan Charbonneau
Please contact me at:

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 29, 2007 at 4:20 pm

Here is a recent article from the Concord Monitor:
http://tinyurl.com/yrcvw2

lacoy
lacoy on July 22, 2007 at 8:02 pm

My friend & I used to go to the movies here in the 1950’s when we were in grammar school…saw the original King Kong there and lots of horror movies…I remember 2 of the women who ran the place (one was heavy set) and always sat on the right side of the long corridor leading from the street to the theatre…there was a drink machine across the hall from the snack stand…the place was always “seedy” but we had lots of fun times there eating “Pom Poms”!