Kenmore Square Cinema

660 Beacon Street,
Boston, MA 02215

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Nataloff on September 4, 2016 at 7:44 pm

Bless Justin Freed for booking my comedy short “Chickens!” at the Kenmore to run prior to “And Now for Something Completely Different.” the pairing ran six months! The only drawback to the Kenmore was that they couldn’t show Panavision without chopping off the edges. Polanski’s “Macbeth” became “acbet” in the wide screen process of “inemascop.”

SteveBurstein on June 13, 2013 at 10:22 am

Getting back to Park Sq. Movie House memories, I was at the premiere program of INTERNATIONAL HOUSE and MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE with W.C. Fields, and I subsequently frequented the Park Sq. as an escape from difficult parents, hated elementary school, and the humiliation of being a Bar Mitzvah boy who only looked eight years old.I dreamed of someday mounting stage shows based on the 30s musicals I saw there.Many of those films weren’t on Boston TV at all in the early 70s.I wasn’t there for the AT THE CIRCUS “Two Blind Loves” moment(I’d seen it already at “Good Time Films”), but I do remember loud, wild applause for Sterling Holloway, when he showed up in “Gold Diggers of 1933”-I don’t think that would happen today.

SteveBurstein on June 12, 2013 at 2:20 pm

So all the PARK SQUARE memories are here! Who remembers seeing THE GANG’S ALL HERE(1943)at Park Sq. The Technicolor made my jaw drop.I looked in vain for more 40s Technicolor, but 3 strip processing was almost obsolete, and soon Fox would destroy it’s masters and replace them with blotchy looking Eastman color versions.

SteveBurstein on June 12, 2013 at 2:15 pm

When a few cities in the US were getting MONTY PYTHON on TV but Boston wasn’t(1974), Justin saw to it we could see AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT at the Kenmore Square Movie House, in a print that was a different edit from the version re-issued about six months later.

rivest266 on May 11, 2013 at 1:33 pm

This opened on May 29th, 1963. Ad uploaded here.

ffoulkrodrogers on August 29, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Waked by there last week on a BU memory lane tour. When I was a BU resident at Myles Standish Hall in the 60s I remember going to see Polanski’s creepy “Repulsion” there with the then young and beautiful Catherine Deneuve. Think her “Umbrellas of Cherbourg” played there as well.

atcjpn on January 27, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Justin, I projected at the kenmore Sq in the 60’s also the Coolidge and the Orson Welles and many others in Boston, I liked the midnight shows and the Staff, Roger and Jeff and great chinese dinners into the wee hrs, best to you

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 17, 2009 at 10:11 pm

The theatre you are thinking of was the Cinema 733, which indeed shared a building with Paul’s Mall and the Jazz Workshop.

meredithlee on January 17, 2009 at 12:28 pm

I used to love going to the Kenmore and Park Sq. theaters, and the program posters were amazing! Let’s see, I remember lots of people in the audience crying at the end of Wuthering Heights, people falling out of the seats laughing during The Producers, (or was it just me doing those things?) seeing first showings I think of Monty Python and Kentucky Fried Movie. Wasn’t there another small cinema on Boylston, around where Pall’s Mall and the Jazz Workshop were? I might be getting that one mixed up with the Park, but one of those premiered The Bitter Tears of Petra Van Kant.
I also worked at Century III Productions in 1984-5, but it then was diagonally across the street, not at the theater space anymore.

toontracks on April 7, 2008 at 5:19 pm

Thanks, Justin! I’ll look forward to those scans later in the Spring—my office wall has a perfect spot for one.

I’m sure I was one of those people dancing out of the theater after “Swing Time”. Good times.


Ron Newman
Ron Newman on April 7, 2008 at 12:44 pm

Justin, I’d love to see some of those old schedules. We used to put them up on the wall every month at the MIT coop house I lived in (at 111 Bay State Road, a block from this theatre)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on April 7, 2008 at 12:33 pm

Fellini’s 8 ½ program booklet from its showings at the Park Square and Kenmore Square Cinemas. It was eight pages of blurbs and reviews and I saved it.

justinjazz on April 7, 2008 at 12:25 pm

To Charlie:
When I get back to Boston in late May I will send some scans to this web site if they will accept them.
Thanks for your remembrances. It was a magical time for all of us. The sense of community, the suggestion book entries that taught me so much.
Other memories from the Park Square:
Ruth Gordon talking about “Harold and Maude” which we made into a cult film in Boston.
Before I

took it over, “8 ½” premiered there.( I was a friend of the owner and that’s what led to me taking it over.)
The memory is that there was a display of the black hat that Fellini’s character wore.
I am reading a bio of Fellini by Tullio Kezich that describes Fellini’s creative process and the unbelievable dynamics on the set. Great stuff.
Another image: customers exiting the Park Square from Astaire/Rogers films dancing down the marble floor of the Park Square Building. Among them, dance enthusiast Jane Goldberg.
Any other memories of the Park, Kenmore or Coolidge Corner?
Justin Freed

toontracks on April 7, 2008 at 11:38 am

Hi Justin!

I have so many fond memories of the Park Square Cinema, especially the Marx Brothers double features. Packed houses, rocking with laughter. My favorite moment at the movies ever was at a screening of “At the Circus” at PSC. At the point when Kenny Baker begins singing “Two Blind Loves” (always a dreaded moment in an MGM Marx Brother film and this, the worst of all of those moments), an audience member in the rear began singing along. One by one, others began to join in (for as much as we hate this song, weâ€\ve seen the picture so many times itâ€\s committed to memory). By the end of the song, the entire audience was singing and when it was done, the theater erupted into thunderous applause. A truly Zen moment. Only at a theater like PSC would one find an audience as cool as that. Thank you for the love and laughter, Justin, and for introducing me to the Marx Brothers in the way they were meant to be seen.

Another great memory from PSC was the wonderful monthly calendar that you put together. Any chance you may have a scan of one of them that you could send to a nostalgic former patron?

Charlie King email:

justinjazz on March 28, 2008 at 8:47 am

Hi Ron.
Yes, the BU Barnes & Noble occupies the old Kenmore Square Cinema site. The original Kenmore Theater was at the other address cited earlier. It had been torn down many years before, as you know.
I think my old Park Square Cinema is just office or retail space now.
Justin Freed

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on March 28, 2008 at 8:40 am

Hi, Justin! Glad to see you here. Since my memory is fuzzy, can you tell us exactly what now occupies the site of the Kenmore Square Cinema? I think it’s the BU Barnes & Noble, but I’m not 100% certain.

(And for that matter, what’s now at the former site of the Park Square Cinema?)

justinjazz on March 28, 2008 at 8:28 am

Justin Freed checking in:
I just found this site. It is great to read about customers from that era.It was a wonderful time of discovery, beginning with the midnight showings of Underground Cinema.
The 60’s were also a great time for Italian cinema including Fellini, Pasolini,Rosi, Germi (both of whom should be rediscovered) .
Thank you all for remembering this era.
The Coolidge is happily in very good hands today, one of the few remaining indie theaters, along with the Brattle and West Newton in Boston.

ggates on September 2, 2006 at 6:11 pm

The Post Office probably changed numbers on the street. Whenever the number of mail stops changes, the Postal Union requires it. Nothing mysterious about it, Ron.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on August 31, 2006 at 6:14 am

Hmm, yet another address, 666 Beacon. Wonder if the front door was moved one or more times.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 31, 2006 at 5:07 am

This is the front page of an eight-page booklet of reviews of Fellini’s 8 ½ distributed to patrons when it day-dated at the Park Square and Kenmore Square cinemas in 1963.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on June 28, 2005 at 3:50 am

This list of old theatres says the Kenmore Square was at 654 Beacon, rather than 660.

PSharen on May 16, 2005 at 3:26 pm

I worked at Century III Teleproductions (also known as Centel/Century III Teleproductions and later Editel/Boston) which was housed in the old Kenmore Square Theatre starting in the early 80’s. The ticket booth became the receptionist window. The lobby became filled with couches and you went up the stairs to where a concession counter would have been. the main area of the theater became the television studio. It was a long narrow building. What was once the upstairs of the projectionist booth was later turned into offices and the Audio/music department. It was at the 660 Beacon Street address mentioned above.

sinclair on March 22, 2005 at 1:26 pm

The Kenmore Sq. Theater served up some late night weekend fun with a host of underground films in the late ‘60s – I was just a kid, but my trusty Brandeis jacket got me through the door into a wonderland that I am so grateful for — where can anyone possibly see such stuff as Bartel’s masterpiece “Secret Cinema”? The amazing list of films viewed goes on and on – anyone ever go? Anyone else see such as “Eclipse of the Sun Virgin”? I would give anything to see these again in a theater full of people supporting this type of filmmaking.

bunnyman on January 27, 2005 at 11:02 am

Related note about the BU Bookstore Mall, the place was supposed to be a shoplifters paradise with registers on different floors frequently not manned leaving the outside just an escalator away.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 14, 2004 at 10:35 am

As for the bookstore … when Boston University first built retail in this building, they called it the “BU Bookstore Mall” and filled it with several different shops on different floors. Only one of these was a bookstore. Over time, the bookstore expanded into most of the rest of the “mall” and eventually BU handed its management over to Barnes & Noble.