Victor Theatre

21 Cottage Street,
East Weymouth , MA 02189

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The Victor Theatre was a neighborhood theater in the Jackson Square area of Weymouth. It occupied the auditorium of the local Odd Fellows Hall at the corner of Commercial Street and Cottage Street. Constructed in 1889, the building still stands and the theater space today is home to a audio/video studio.

Contributed by Ron Salters

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 21, 2013 at 6:44 pm

The Odd Fellows fraternal organization constructed the building in 1889. It had a function hall/auditorium in the rear with an entrance on Cottage Street. At some point, the auditorium became known as the Odd Fellows Opera House featuring live shows (later, movies). Later the name was changed to Jason’s Theatre, a cinema. By the early 1930s, the name was changed to Roosevelt Theatre, and in the 1940s to Victor Theatre. It remained open showing films into the 1950s (some say past 1960). The top floor was removed in 1962, but that was not part of the theater.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 21, 2013 at 7:54 pm

People who grew up in the Jackson Square neighborhood in the 1940s and 1950s have very pleasant memories of the Victor Theatre (their association holds a reunion every 2 years). The Victor served East Weymouth as well as a section of Hingham which abuts Jackson Square.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 22, 2013 at 3:11 am

There is a Jason Theatre at East Weymouth listed in the Film Daily Yearbook at least as as late as 1953. If it is the same house as the Victor, the name changed after that. This Weymouth chronology says that there were three movie theaters in Weymouth in 1946: the Cameo in South Weyouth, the Weymouth at Weymouth Landing, and the Jason in East Weymouth. The Roosevelt Theatre is mentioned in a 1936 issue of Motion Picture Herald.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 22, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Joe- The Weymouth chronology for 1946 is correct: there were 3 movie theaters in Weymouth, plus one Drive-in. But everyone I have talked with refers to this theater as the Victor Theatre. I know that it was called the “Roosevelt Theatre” in the 1930s; perhaps the line of name-changes was: Odd Fellows Opera House to Roosevelt Theatre to Jason (or Jason’s) Theatre to Victor Theatre. I never went to it; never even heard of it until recent years.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 22, 2013 at 8:09 pm

The Yearbook did sometimes fail to update a theater’s name when it was changed, so we’ll probably have to dig up some other source to be sure when the Jason became the Victor, but the odds are that it didn’t happen until the 1950s.

I’ve found references to a stage production sponsored by the Federal Theatre Project being mounted at the Roosevelt Theatre in East Weymouth in 1938.

This page has an early photo of the Odd Fellows Building. It looks like there’s a poster case next to the Cottage Street entrance at far right.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 23, 2013 at 6:22 pm

The theater entrance was on Cottage St. and they did have a poster case there in movie days. Around 1962, the second floor and attic were removed. The walk-in basement on Commercial Street housed a model hobby shop for many years, until recently.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 23, 2013 at 6:38 pm

CT member dwodeyla tells me that the Roosevelt Theatre is listed, with 400 seats, in the 1934 Film Daily Yearbook. I spoke yesterday with someone who grew up in Weymouth and attended movies here many times around the time he was in middle school/ junior high. This would have been roughly 1948-52. He says that it was located in the Odd Fellows Building on Cottage Street and that it was called the Jason Theatre. He has a very vague memory that it was renamed to Victor Theatre sometime later. Last week, I spoke with a younger man who grew up in Jackson Square area who remembers it as the Victor Theatre, and who thought that it lasted in operation past 1960.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 12, 2013 at 6:48 pm

The comedian Fred Allen, who was a prominent star in network radio in the 1930s-40s, got his start in show business in small-time vaudeville in the Greater Boston area. He says in his auto-biog that one of the engagements he had, circa-1914, was performing in a vaudeville bill at the Odd Fellows Opera House in East Weymouth on a Saturday night. The building was, and is, very near the East Weymouth rail station (today a MBTA stop). The Odd Fellows Opera House was also included on a long list of theaters and halls in Massachusetts receiving state licences during the 12 months ending Oct. 31, 1914.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 25, 2013 at 6:46 pm

The theater is listed under East Weymouth, Mass. in the 1927 Film Daily Yearbook as “Opera hall” with 600 seats, open 2 days per week (probably Fri-Sat). I know that as the Roosevelt Theatre around 1932, it was open week-nights as well as weekends. Today, the building is occupied by MacDonald Audio Services and Engineering. There is an audio and video recording studio there. I think that MacDonald may own the building.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 2, 2014 at 7:02 pm

I drove by the building today and someone has made a colorful sign which says “21 Cottage Street” and placed it in the old movie poster frame outside. There is also a big dumpster which has been dropped next to the auditorium wall. I always get nervous when I see dumpsters next to old theater buildings.

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