Pastime Theater

91 Bradford Street,
Bristol, RI 02809

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Exterior View (1941)

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Pastime Theater began showing films in 1912. Fire destroyed the original building and a new one was built on that site that same year, 1934. The exterior remained largely unchanged, but little of the original interior had remained.

The Bristol Pastime Theater Foundation had sought funding to acquire the property, restore the exterior and renovate the interior to accomodate performing arts as well as cinema, but unfortunately, this never came to pass and the Pastime was torn down.

Contributed by Gary Watros

Recent comments (view all 20 comments)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on November 22, 2005 at 10:22 am

Locals who have been attempting to restore and re-open as a cultural facility the historic Pastime Theatre are not giving up and are fighting the town of Bristol. With a deadline for mortgage payment approaching, members of the Bristol Pastime Theatre Foundation are organizing and attempting to garner support to reverse the Bristol Town Council’s recent decision to lease the old theater to the Bristol Warren Regional School District for use as a school. In the most recent development the Pastime Theatre received a $200,000 federal grant. The Bristol Pastime Theatre Foundation is going to use the money to purchase the theatre from the town, but still needs to raise $141,000 to do it. And they have a very short timeframe, by December 3rd, in which to accomplish this. Yet none of this guarantees that the town will not take over the theatre by eminent domain.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 29, 2006 at 9:31 pm

The 1949 Film Daily Yearbook listed the seating capacity as 600.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on November 20, 2006 at 3:49 am

The Pastime Theatre was not the only one to have existed in this town. Another Bristol theatre is the long-forgotten Star Theatre that was on Hope Street next to the Rogers Free Library. It seems to have survived into the 1920s. An old postcard image can be linked to on the Star Theatre page. Information about the Star is most welcome.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on November 21, 2006 at 7:41 am

The Pastime Theatre has been demolished. Today I saw the fenced-in vacant lot.

BobEvans
BobEvans on February 26, 2007 at 1:43 pm

As a kid I would attend the ten cent matinees at the Pastime. My adopted “uncle” was the projectionist (one of two, actually). We each got a quarter for the afternoon. That bought popcorn and two candy bars or popcorn and a drink.
We’d see a cartoon, the feature, and either a serial or a Three Stooges or the like.
Good times, Good times.
The Pastime was one of the first theaters in RI to get Cinemascope.

Bob Evans

BobEvans
BobEvans on February 26, 2007 at 1:45 pm

When the Pastime was one theater it did hold 600 people.

Bob Evans

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 24, 2010 at 11:44 pm

Item in Boxoffice magazine, June 12, 1961:

Joseph J. Modleski buys Rhode Island Theatres
WARREN. R.I. —-Joseph J. Modleski has purchased two Rhode Island Theatres, the Lyric in Warren and the Pastime in Bristol, effective as of June 1. Modleski has been operating both of the situations on lease the last two years from the estate of Lon Vail.

Prior to leasing the Lyric and Pastime, Modleski had served as manager pf the Lyric for Vail until the latter’s death. Modleski broke into motion picture exhibition in August 1920 as an usher at the Lyric Theatre. He told BOXOFFICE that he plans to make alterations at both of the theatres.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 20, 2011 at 9:02 am

In September 1922 this theatre was part of Rhode Island’s Paramount Week. Click to see the ad in Providence News, September 1, 1922, which contains a list of all participating theatres as well as the films shown that week.

PART ONE OF AD
PART TWO OF AD

DocWatson
DocWatson on May 28, 2013 at 4:34 am

Lostmemory’s 2007 post’s photo gave me the URL, which resulted in this:

http://www.thepastime.org/history.html

Additionally, I was visiting home in Bristol the weekend before last, and when we were discussing the theater, my father mentioned that it had originally had a single screen. I don’t remember it being that way, though I do recall that it was obvious that it had been changed. Thus the conversion must have been between 1969 (the year we arrived in town) and the late 1970s. Another name for it was the Bristol Twin Cinema.

The land is currently occupied by an expansion of the neighboring Andrews School (to stage right in the photos), as also partly implied by the marquee in lostmemory’s first photo.

rkq
rkq on December 19, 2013 at 1:26 pm

I grew up in Bristol, indeed it was a single screen. As a child fond memories, a dollar would get you a ticket,a popcorn,soda and hershey bar. You knew the movie was about to start when you saw the manager go to the stage to open the curtain.In high school it was my first job. I sold concession and cleaned, at that time it was still a single screen.The concession stand and popcorn warmer was actually bought at the auction of the equipment of the Majestic in Providence.One event i’ll never forget was opening weekend, the film was “Airport”.For some reason they put up masking for a scope picture,well they did it without testing the picture size.When the film started, the picture overlaped 4 feet on the bottom. I had to go up on the stage and infront of the sold out audiance, pull the masking down.The early 70’s the theater was twined,each day cement masons came in to build a cinder block wall, and at the end of the day we came in to fill the blocks with sand,i guess to keep the sound from bleeding through.After the twining,it will be remembered as the theater with the couches.Couches were installed instead of seats.As for me, I always will remember the manager walking down front and the big red velvet curtain opening.

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