RKO Boston Theatre

614 Washington Street,
Boston, MA 02111

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The way it was in the old days

Opened as the Keith-Albee Boston Theatre on October 5, 1925, with 3,231 seats. This house still ran combo live shows and movies through the mid-1940’s.

Cinerama came in Christmas week of 1953 and stayed until around 1969. They sealed off balcony with a foot of cement and twinned the downstairs running Asian films and porn until around mid-1970’s.

Contributed by Richard Dziadzio

Recent comments (view all 130 comments)

DavidZornig on June 14, 2017 at 11:25 am

Thanks. I will see what more I can find out before creating a page for it.

DavidZornig on June 14, 2017 at 11:35 am

Ron Salters 2005 mention of the State II at the bottom of his comment.

rsalters (Ron Salters) rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 15, 2005 at 9:07 am

I went into the Trans Lux for the first time circa 1960, before the change of name to State. There was a black and white movie of girl volley ball players who played the game nude. The house was in good condition. The dressing rooms for the Park Th. were in a seperate building across the alley to the rear of the stage and there was an overhead bridge connecting. I have a very vague memory of seeing this when looking up the alley circa late-1940s. After that, it was gone. The actor James C. Powers played at the Park in 1880 in a show called “Dreams” with Willie Edouin. In his autobiography, published around 1943, Jimmy Powers tells of life at the Park in those days. He and Willie Edouin apparently had a relationship similar to Homer and Bart Simpson. Movies pretty much took over the Park after 1912 or so, until Minsky Burlesque came in during the 1930s. The original Park Th. had 2 balconies, an orchestra circle, and boxes.There was a tunnel from a small hotel to the south which led to the backstage. This hotel was demolished after a gas explosion there in the early 1960s. The State II was located in a storefront on Washington St. and was not carved out of the State itself. The State closed in 1985.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 14, 2017 at 1:25 pm

Yes, the State II was in a storefront near the State Theatre entrance, and was definitely not carved out of the State itself. There were a number of these small porno cinemas located in storefronts in those days.

DavidZornig on August 7, 2017 at 9:28 pm

April 1968 photo added courtesy of Don McCauley.

MSC77 on April 10, 2018 at 12:54 pm

Fifty years ago today, Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” premiered here.

To celebrate the occasion, I’m sharing the link to a new retrospective article on “2001.” This and many other cinemas get a mention in the piece.

da_Bunnyman on April 11, 2018 at 12:15 am

Forgive me for this piece of trivia but I can’t resist the joke. In 1960 the film “Scent Of A Mystery” was released only in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles in 70mm with the Smell-O-Vision gimmick. In 1962 the film was reissued in Boston as “Holiday In Spain” so the Boston Cinerama was the first place to show the film after it stopped stinking.

MSC77 on April 11, 2018 at 12:10 pm

A good joke, da_Bunnyman, but it’s not true. “Scent of Mystery”/“Holiday in Spain” played sans stink in Minneapolis and Toronto before playing Boston.

rknbarb on July 23, 2018 at 12:04 pm

My grandfather Edward “Eddie” Rosenwald was the conductor of this theater during its vaudeville period. I have an article from the Boston Herald in 1937 that I just added to the photos.

DavidZornig on July 23, 2018 at 12:06 pm

If you are able to scan it and it remains legible, you can create a jpeg and post it to the Photos section.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on July 23, 2018 at 1:37 pm

Great article— now THAT’S entertainment…!

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