Brant Rock Theatre

Ocean Street,
Marshfield, MA 02020

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The Brant Rock Theatre was located on the main street of the Brant Rock section in the far southeast corner of Marshfield. In the 1940’s, it operated summers-only in a seaside community. Further information welcomed.

Contributed by Ron Salters

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 5, 2013 at 7:38 pm

The Theatre Historical Society archive in IL has the MGM Theatre Report for the Brant Rock Theatre. It was on Ocean Avenue, had 502 seats, was in Excellent condition, and operated Summers-only. There is a notation “Rebuilt 1941”. There is an exterior photo taken in May 1941.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 6, 2013 at 1:48 pm

The Brant Rock Theatre in “Brant Rock, Massachusetts” is listed in the 1927 Film Daily Yearbook. It had 350 seats and was open 7 days per week.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on August 3, 2013 at 1:26 pm

The text which mentions the 1973 fire refers to a “bowling alley/movie theater”. This implies that there was a bowling alley in the building along with the theater, but it could also mean that at some point the theater was converted into a bowling alley.
The Google streetview and the Google map at the top of this page are incorrect; the theater was located right down near the seafront on a main street there.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on August 5, 2013 at 1:52 pm

I think that the theater was located at about the 100-block of Ocean Street, which is a very long street in Marshfield. (The MGM Report calls that section “Ocean Avenue). I have seen an old colored postcard of the Brant Rock business district from about 1930?, and what looks like a movie theater is there on the street. I have also seen the cover of a 1920s program for the theater which features what I think was a live play, and not a movie. Was the 1940 theater a renovated and rebuilt version of the 1920s theater? Or was it a new theater built on the site of the old theater, or very close to the site??

Pastroni on February 5, 2014 at 1:57 am

The Google Street view & map are for the old Marshfield Drive-In not the Brant Rock Theater. Unfortunately, there is no street view for Ocean St. in Brant Rock (NOT Ocean Avenue) where the cinema was located (that stretch of the street, the town’s commercial district, is also known as “The Esplanade”). The movie theater was housed in a wooden building which opened in 1875 as a hotel, The Ocean House. It was later converted into a movie theater/bowling alley. The exterior was remodeled in 1941 with a stucco facade added. The bowling alley was downstairs at street level. The movie theater, which had orchestra seating plus a small balcony section, was upstairs. So every screening was accompanied by the sounds of balls hitting pins & pins being reset. You can see period postcards of the Brant Rock commercial district & the Ocean House with & without facade here:

floridanabob on February 9, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Fred Banzi operated the Brant Rock Theater when I summered in BR in 1950’s. We ran the Ocean Cottage and Danny Piazzo was the movie projectionist. I worked as an usher – friends were pinsetters in downstairs bowling alley until machines put in. We opened the back doors when it was hot since there was a breeze from the marsh and South River. I always got free Movie Passes so I was very popular. Mr Copp stayed at our place and was the ticker seller. Danny liked to stay up late on our front porch on the Esplanade and he hated the Thursday morning “kiddie show”. The great news was the Brant Rock Theater couldn’t hold a film for extra days even if it was a big hit – as an usher I didn’t want to see “Nun’s Story” 50 times.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 8, 2014 at 1:59 pm

I have heard that there was a huge, raging fire in Brant Rock about 1941 which destroyed several hundred buildings. Most of those were homes, but there were some commercial structures lost, too. I wonder if this fire impacted the theater building ??? Is the fire the reason that the MGM Theatre Report states that the theater was “rebuilt in 1941” ?

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