United Theatre

11 Canal Street,
Westerly, RI 02891

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Coate
Coate on May 23, 2013 at 7:58 am

What company operated this theater during the early 1980s?

TivFan
TivFan on October 8, 2012 at 8:06 pm

The United can be seen, briefly, in “Lolita” (l962, directed by Stanley Kubrick). James Mason (as Humbert Humbert) narrates: “…I decided to spend a peaceful summer in the attractive resort town of Ramsdale, New Hampshire.” A shot of Westerly is used to represent Ramsdale. The camera shows a taxi driving down Railroad Avenue, then turning left onto Canal Street. The camera shot follows the taxi, and the United is seen on the left side of the picture. The scene is very brief, at the 12 minute-30 second mark.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 20, 2011 at 4:36 am

Last April the theatre was open to the public briefly, as reported in this article in The Westerly Sun, which includes a photo of the interior. ARTICLE

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on February 8, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Christmas party for 700 kids at the United Theatre in 1936.
PARTY

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 12, 2010 at 9:36 am

This article appeared in the Westerly Sun in 2009 and deals with a former ticket seller, Sue Quattromani Brunelle, who worked at the United from 1955-1963. It includes a view of the ticket booth. There are some interesting recollections of the theatre and its patrons.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 12, 2010 at 2:45 am

from Boxoffice Magazine, April 23, 1938:
Four Westerly and Mystic Houses Will Be Renovated
WESTERLY, R.I. – Jack Findlay, owner and operator of the Central, United and Lyric Theatres here and the Strand, Mystic, Conn., is renovating all four houses. Work on the Central, which will double its present seating capacity, is in progress. At the same time two new rectifiers and two lamps are being installed in the United and new carpet laid. The 400-seat Lyric, closed for many years, will soon begin complete renovation, while next in line the Strand will be entirely modernized. Findlay plans to operate the three Westerly houses full time first-run."

TheMovieCritic
TheMovieCritic on May 25, 2010 at 8:46 am

WOW!! What a blast from the past this is! This was one of two local neighborhood theaters in the area. I remember seeing some great movies at The United in the early eighties including “Raiders Of The Lost Ark” (summer 1981 & re-release 1982), & “Return Of The Jedi” on Memorial Day 1983. Me & my brother got there an hour and half before showtime (the 7:15 pm show) to ensure good seats! Looong wait. Totally worth it. I also remember seeing “Vacation” & “Risky Business” as a rare double bill in January of 1984. The last movie I saw there was “Ghostbusters” in October of 84. Its a shame that The United hasn’t been restored yet. In this era of digital projection as well as sound it would be quite an awesome theater. It really is a shame. Also today marks the 28th anniversary of the release of “Return Of The Jedi” & the 33rd anniversary of “Star Wars”.

rivest266
rivest266 on April 5, 2009 at 8:53 am

General Cinemas owned this in the 1960’s according to the IMPA

petevardy
petevardy on June 30, 2007 at 12:33 pm

I remember this Theatre. Saw “Gone With The Wind” there. There were 2 Theatres in this town. The other one, the CENTRAL which we called “The Scratch House” that was infested with Rats was on the Connecticut side of the Pawcatuck river. It was located on West Broad Street between “The Greek American” and “Higgins Pharmacy"
I used to sneak in from the 2nd story of my Dad’s store, Greek American, untill I got caught by Mr Champlin, the ticket collector. he looked like George Brent,the Movie Star. It cost 10 cents for children under 12 for matinnees and 25 cents for evening or week ends. This structure was torn down around 1950 and a new building built to house Higgins Pharmacy. ” YOU CANT GO HOME"

Altman
Altman on June 20, 2007 at 12:18 pm

Project and renovation on hold by new owner as of June 2007. Will update if and when more info is available.

lynnturene
lynnturene on January 30, 2007 at 6:26 am

No progress as of now. It’s an eye sore and looked alot better when it had sucessful stores on each wing. Hope those stores are doing well after being kicked out in the name of “progress”. jan 30th 2007

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on October 13, 2006 at 3:35 am

Anyone know of any progress being made?

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 4, 2006 at 4:31 am

Photos of the exterior and interior of the United in the process of renovation/restoration and taken by John Koulbanis, can be seen (now at least) in the Westerly Sun’s online photo page. Find event ID: 99240. The photos are available for sale.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 4, 2006 at 4:23 am

In a personal blog called GaraLog, the author Gara LaMarche recalls living in Westerly some thirty-plus years ago and wrote this about the United Theatre:

“A short walk from the station will take you past the old United Theatre, where I spent almost every Saturday afternoon at the movies — admission about 35 cents, if I recall correctly. They actually ran Flash Gordon serials before the feature. (I feel as if I should be writing this from a rocking chair.) The United marquee is still up, but the theatre has been closed for at least twenty years.”

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on July 4, 2006 at 1:49 am

I’m so glad to hear the United is finally being renovated after 20 years of decay.

lopez
lopez on July 3, 2006 at 11:54 pm

Hi All,
I am pleased to report that this theatre’s renovation is well underway. If you have any historical information, records, or just a passing interest in the future success of this theatre, please email me at your earliest convenience –

Thanks, NOVA

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 30, 2006 at 1:02 am

I have just found out that the nice marquee mentioned above is out for restoration, that the United is undergoing extensive revamping and reconstruction and will be re-opened as a three-screen art house for the area. A consultant to the project is Mr. Joe Masher, general manager of Bow-Tie Cinemas, who informed me himself. I consider this extremely good news for the Westerly/Stonington area.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on May 14, 2006 at 1:34 pm

The marquee is now gone!!!

Hebe
Hebe on February 15, 2006 at 3:36 pm

On the CinemaTour website, it is stated that Westerly’s United Theater closed for good in 1983, but illegally re-opened in 1984 – I believe the closing date should be 1985: I remember seeing both “Starman” & “Micki & Maude” in late 1984 (both December releases). I also remember seeing “A Nightmare On Elm Street” & “Gremlins” earlier in 1984 @ the theater (probably more – titles evade at this time!). The Westerly Sun ran a really good article on the recent sale and renovations last week as well as a very interesting editorial update/follow-up by one of the Nardone family this week. The Sun’s website also has some really good pix of the inside during the renovations. Steve

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 31, 2005 at 3:38 am

An article in The Providence Journal on November 13, 1971 reported on the town’s attempts to stop a film showing:

Theater Owner Refuses to Halt Film, ‘Together’

The management of the United Theater, Westerly, is refusing to discontinue the showing of the film “Together” from its program, Town Manager Eugene F. Gervasini was informed yesterday.

Irwin A. Cohen, president of C&F Theateres, Inc., of Norwood, Mass., operators of the movie house said, “I just cannot place myself in the position of removing films because the town council does not like it or because there have been some complaints.

“If I were to remove this film at the request of the council, I would be opening the door to such a request on any film that they may not like for whatever reason they may find. I cannot believe that the town council wishes to place themselves in the position of being censors,” Mr. Cohen wrote.

“I am operating a business which is dependent upon the public voluntarily coming to see the films we show. The response of the public in the Westerly situation to the film ‘Together’ certainly, without a doubt, shows that they want to see it. And as adults, they should and do have that right. And I as an exhibitor should and must be able to give the public what they want.”

Mr. Cohen explained to the town manager that the film has played thropughout the country, including several theaters in Rhode Island. These include Wakefield, Narragansett, Woonsocket, Providence, and East Providence.

“The film has been approved for exhibition, without cuts, by the Rhode Island classification board and the Providence Licensing Board,” he said.

[The remainder of the article reports Mr. Cohen clarifying his position further, asserting that no previews would be shown of this movie at kiddie matinees and that no public displays of posters were put up that were deemed offensive for children.]

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 2, 2005 at 12:50 pm

The United Theater, erected by Samuel Nardone, opened on Monday, January 18, 1926, a little more than a year after the tragic fire that had leveled the Bliven Opera House, over on Main Street. The program included five big acts of Paramount vaudeville plus the movie Tessie with Many McAvoy. After opening night, prices would range from 15 cents to 75 cents. In addition to the orchestra, there was mezzanine and loge seating. The total capacity was 1100. The stage is said to have been the largest of any city or town between Providence and New London. The theatre was initially part of the chain United Theatres of America. The building block that was constructed along with the theatre had room for several shops.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 1, 2005 at 1:33 am

In July of 1931, not only was there a film on the bill, Annabelle’s Affairs with Jeanette MacDonald and Victor McLaglen, but also five acts of Keith-Albee vaudeville.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 27, 2005 at 11:25 am

Beginning February 24, 1935, the United’s programs for the week would be: Sun.-Wed., David Copperfield, Thurs.-Sat., Rumba & That’s Gratitude.