Bijou Theatre

350 Main Street,
Fairhaven, MA 02719

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AlanHemenway
AlanHemenway on May 31, 2011 at 11:48 am

My father, Gilbert Hemenway, was a projectionist and he worked at the Keith and at many of the New Bedford area theaters, starting at the Allen Theater where he and his brother George were trained by their brother Floyd to be projectionists. In those days you had to study electronics and get a license to be a projectionist. Union contracts specified a 2-man booth, as the projection rooms were called. My father started as a ticket-taker and usher and thats how he met my mother.

In New Bedford he worked at the Empire, Capitol, New Bedford, Orpheum, Dartmouth Drive-In, and Fairhaven Drive-In. In Fall River it was the Plaza and the Embassy – and there was the Newport Theater in RI. In about 1948 when I was about 5 year old, my mother and I would go with my father to the Dartmouth Drive-In in our Chevy Coupe and I would sleep on the shelf in the back. I miss all those theaters. Before I was born my father worked other theaters. I think they were the Bailey Square (Arcade) in New Bedford and the Keith in North Fairhaven.

With television causing theaters to go dark, my father was squeezed out of the theaters in New Bedford and found some work with the Fall River Local. When the Fairhaven Drive-In opened, there wasnt a speaker in the projection booth so that the projectionist could hear the sound track. My father took a ramp speaker and ran a wire up along the ceiling and to the big amplifier. In 1990 I went to that booth 35+ years later and noticed his speaker. I now have it, as a momento of my father. I was amazed at the equipment that was still not vandalized. The same with the Dartmouth Drive-In and the Westport Drive-In. I took the reel of film that they played to announce intermission time and the last carbon arcs out of the projectors due to my sentimentality.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 15, 2010 at 9:19 am

There is one movie theater listed under Fairhaven MA in the 1927 Film Daily Yearbook, the Princess with 800 seats, open 6 days/week.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 16, 2009 at 4:48 pm

The building is for sale at $375,000:
http://tinyurl.com/7lv4ub

hkbf23
hkbf23 on October 3, 2007 at 5:05 am

My children and I went to the Bijou regularly. I loved the intimate feel of this theater. Every seat was a comfy one, with a good sightline to the screen. The popcorn was excellent and inexpensive. There was a pizza place close by so pizza and a movie was easy and fun. My daughter and I saw Gladiator there 12 times. Yes, 12 times. We were so sad to see the Bijou close, and I still miss it.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 7, 2006 at 5:34 am

The Keith’s in Fairhaven MA at 356 Main St. was included in the MGM Theatre Photograph and Report project, but the photo was not taken until July 1950, 9 years after most of the other project photos were taken. And the Report form was only partially filled out. The photo shows an entrance at the left end of a 2-story business block. There is a triangle marquee with only “Keith’s” on it, no room for attractions to be posted. The Report states that the theatre has been showing MGM product for 3 years, but no other info was included.

jjones
jjones on April 23, 2006 at 11:48 am

is this building for sale?? I am very interested in return the theater to it’s orignal state

robduarte
robduarte on November 3, 2005 at 3:08 am

The building is still there and it’s empty.

I’m very interested in finding photos of the original facade of the earlier incarnations of this theatre.. the American, New American, Keith, New Keith, or Oxford. Please email me if you have any leads..

robduarte
robduarte on November 3, 2005 at 3:08 am

The building is still there and it’s empty. No one has been there for at least a year.

I’m very interested in finding photos of the original facade of the earlier incarnations of this theatre.. the American, New American, Keith, New Keith, or Oxford. Please email me if you have any leads..

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 26, 2005 at 4:26 am

The first movie I saw here was Federico Fellini’s And the Ship Sails On (…and on, and on, and on!) on July 24, 1984. When this place re-opened, all fresh and spiffy, there were real high hopes that it would succeed. What a pity, especially since there is no other art house in the New Bedford/Fall River area.

pianoman
pianoman on January 22, 2005 at 2:55 am

Yes, it has not been demolished yet I think.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 21, 2005 at 3:55 pm

The status should be changed to “Closed”. Is it still standing, and has anyone else moved in?

pianoman
pianoman on January 21, 2005 at 3:07 pm

I thought it was North Fairhaven, Mass.
Anyway, a photo of the exterior is at www.preservationdirectory.com/photodatabase_theaters.html

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on May 16, 2004 at 6:17 am

The Bijou Theatre has just announced that it will be closing. Very sad. See their web site for details.