Gary Theatre

131 Stuart Street,
Boston, MA 02116

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Showing 1 - 25 of 89 comments

da_Bunnyman on April 12, 2018 at 5:41 am

Sorry, read the paragraph wrong, the first film they got as an East Coast Premiere was Bridge, not the first film after it was renamed.

da_Bunnyman on April 11, 2018 at 4:32 am

The book “Movie Roadshow” by Kim R. Holston mentions the first attraction after the theater was refurbished and renamed The Gary was The Bridge On The River Kwai.

da_Bunnyman on March 7, 2018 at 4:25 am

Unconfirmed story told to me by a manager who worked the Gary. He said part of the heating system involved steam that would be sent along the floor of the theater. Joke was that folks would leave the theater with their pants pressed.

DavidZornig on November 24, 2017 at 4:41 pm

1955 photo and corresponding Playbill page added, as the Plymouth Theatre.

Nataloff on March 20, 2016 at 6:52 pm

@FlamingoMom: Boy do I remember Helene’s Costume Shop. I was doing a promotion for “Carry On Henry VIII” at the Astor and needed to have someone dress up as the fractious regent for a street ballyhoo. Naturally, I visited Helene. What an experience. I could have sewn a costume from scratch in the time it took her to talk and look through racks and talk and lay out fittings and talk and talk. I suspect the poor dear was lonely, or maybe she was fading, but I never went back there again (except to return the costume).

DavidZornig on November 27, 2015 at 8:46 pm

1958 photo added, photo credit Tremont & Stuart.

DICK3570 on November 22, 2015 at 12:59 pm

The Theatre had such a short distance between the front and back walls that the screen was located almost at the rear of the back stage wall leaving just enough room for the 5 stereo speakers. The projection booth at the rear of the first balcony was very small making it a very cramped booth for the operators. They had about the biggest equipment at the time; Norelco 70mm machines and Peerless condenser arcs.

Coate on March 17, 2015 at 4:50 pm

“The Sound of Music” premiered at the Gary 50 years ago today. With a reserved-seat run of 83 weeks, do you think it is the long-run record holder for this venue?

Also, on a related note, I would like to mention my new 50th anniversary retrospective for “The Sound of Music” can be read here.

Redwards1 on February 21, 2014 at 4:27 pm

The 70mm presentation of Lawrence of Arabia was excellent. Oddly, there were reserved seats directly in front of the projection booth at the rear of the first balcony. Late arrivals cast their shadows on the otherwise impressive large flat screen that filled the stage. I had seen Lawrence previously in San Francisco where it played a second rate theatre on Market St with inferior projection and sound. The Gary presentation was far superior and it had a long run.

FlamingoMom on July 1, 2013 at 12:10 am

Does anyone remember the tiny costume & prop shop Helene’s (I think was the name)that was directly behind the Gary marquee. As a theatre student in Boston in the early 1970s I was sent there several times to pick up or return rental costumes & props. You entered through a door under the marquee & climbed narrow stairs up to the shop. It was a rather bizarre little shop. I have no idea how long it lasted & haven’t been able to find anything about it.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 18, 2012 at 6:46 pm

The underground passageway which Nataloff mentions was only one story underground. It ran from the north side of the inner lobby of the Plymouth/Gary down Allen’s Alley alongside the Majestic. There was an exit into the north side of the Majestic lobby. The passageway then made a sharp left turn to run northward under Tremont Street. There was an exit into the lobby of the Little Building (Tremont & Boylston), then it continued northward into the Boylston Street trolley station. This passageway was completely intact, with lights which still worked, as of 1983, although it was out of use long before then. The section alongside the Majestic was busted open and filled in around 2001 as a prelude to the construction of the Emerson Tufte Building at the head of Allen’s Alley (site of the Gary auditorium).

Nataloff on August 16, 2012 at 2:15 am

The Gary (named after Ben Sack’s son) and Saxon (also supposedly named after “Sack’s son”) were linked by an underground passageway.

MPol on July 18, 2012 at 10:52 pm

I remember seeing The Sound of Music there, when it first came out and was in the movie theatres.

RogerA on July 17, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Ben Sack bought these theaters cheap because they were condemned as legit houses. The dressing rooms were infested with vermin. So he cleaned them up remodeled them and open them as movie theaters. The Astor was the only theater to rip out the stage the dressing rooms and the proscenium to make room for the huge curved screen.

hvsteve1 on July 15, 2012 at 7:37 am

I remember seeing Lawrence Of Arabia there…several times.

RogerA on July 3, 2012 at 6:51 pm

The best Todd-AO presentation was at the Astor.

dickneeds111 on May 22, 2012 at 6:04 pm

AFTER READING ALL COMMENTS about Sound Of Music and the Gary I must add mine. Saw Sound Of Music the 1st time at I believe The Ontario in Wash D.C. beautiful 70mm presentation then I saw it at the Gary which was also beautiful and great sound. I saw it for a 3rd time at the Capri in San Diego. This was the best picture and sound of all. Also saw West Side Story there and I believe also at the Ontario in D.C. all in 70mm. Saw WSS and SOM several times at othe theatres in reg 35 mm release. The best ToddAO presentations in Boston I believe were at the Astor and the Metropolitan(Music Hall and especially for sound it had to be the Walter Reade Charles even after Sack(USA) took over.

sweetmel on May 20, 2012 at 6:19 am

That whole area has really changed. I remember the hillbilly ranch and playboy club in that area near park square and the old greyhound bus terminal. I wish there were some photos somewhere of them.

ErikH on March 11, 2012 at 12:47 pm

I was browsing in the Globe’s online archives and came across a few interesting facts about the Gary’s run of hits in the 1960s.

Only three films played at the Gary between October 1964 and May 1967, and each featured the same lead actress: “Mary Poppins” (October 22, 1964 to March 16, 1965; general admission); “The Sound of Music” (March 18, 1965 to October 18, 1966; roadshow); and “Hawaii” (October 20, 1966 to May 8, 1967; roadshow).

During the final months of the Gary run of “Music,” the Globe ads indicate that “Music” was being shown in two other area theaters, also on a roadshow basis (the GC Brockton and Showcase Lawrence). Apparently GC and Showcase were not permitted to include the title in their respective ads during the Gary run; instead, the ads referred to “Best Picture of 1965, starring Julie Andrews.” As soon as “Music” closed at the Gary, the GC and Showcase ads began to use the title.

The Gary’s string of Julie Andrews hits ended with “Star!” which opened its roadshow run on November 6, 1968 and closed on January 4, 1969. Surprising to see that the renamed and substantially edited version of “Star!” called “Those Were the Happy Times” played the Music Hall exclusively (and, presumably, disastrously) for several weeks in the fall of 1969—-I would have expected a much more low-profile release than an exclusive run at the largest theater in Boston.

dickneeds111 on December 9, 2011 at 2:50 am

I don,t believe Earthquake ever played the Gary. It did play the Saxon on a moveover from the general Cinema at shoppers world in Framingham. The only other Sensurround movie to play there was Battlestar Gallactica. Roller Coaster and Midway played at the South Plaza General Cinema in Braintree.

martybearass on August 27, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Hey CharlesBoston I enjoyed your wonderful post on the old Gary Theater. I lived right next door on the top floor in 74-75 and saw many films there most notably Earthquake in its second run and yes plaster DID fall lol. I wish had more photos from all of the old theaters

CharlesBoston on March 10, 2011 at 9:03 am

Hey, Ron!
I am happy to help. Glad you enjoyed it and I am open to any requests for my next theater project….any ideas???
Love to hear them:–)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on March 9, 2011 at 7:10 pm

I didn’t think to look up in the address bar for the date; the year is sufficient for me. Thanks.

CharlesBoston on March 9, 2011 at 11:46 am

Thanks, Ron!
Glad you enjoyed the posting.
Most of the JPEGs on the blog are dated with at least the year in the address bar.
Here is an expample:
View link
The months may not be there but the year is on most and if there are multiple posting for a year they may appear like: 1950-1, 1950-2, etc.
So, if you scroll over each you can see the info or click each image and it will show up the address bar.
I hope that helps:–)
Enjoy….and I hope to do another theatre soon:–)


rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on March 8, 2011 at 6:39 pm

CharlesBoston – this is a very nice archive, and beautifully presented. But it would be even better if there were dates on the ads and clippings.