Darlton Theatre

810 Newport Avenue,
Pawtucket, RI 02861

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This theatre in the Darlington section of Pawtucket had a stucco and creamy tile exterior that was described as being southern Californian. It opened in October 1940 with a seating capacity of 913. It ran primarily second run movies. One of the unusual features of the Darlton Theatre was a windowed-off soundproof crying room with 12 rocking chairs, where moms could tend infants while watching the movie. Financial difficulties forced the theatre to shut in October, 1977. It was later razed, and a bank now occupies the site.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

RonnieD on May 11, 2007 at 8:26 am

One of my favorites. Right on the sidewalk of Newport Avenue with classic illuminated V-shaped marquee. The parking lot was to the left of the theater and wrapped around the back of the building. As I recall the box office was inside the foyer doors with the concession stand beyond. The very comfortable auditorium was raked and moderately fan-shaped and I believe there was some ornamentation on the sidewalls.
Despite being a neighborhood theater, it did occasionally offer first run features to R.I. at least in the late 60’s early 70’s. As mentioned above “A Man For All Seasons”; “Anne Of the Thousand Days”; in addition to “Is Paris Burning?”; “The Sugarland Express”
First film seen at the Darlton: “Walk, Don’t Run” Summer 1966. Last movie seen there: Slasher film “Ruby” in 1977.
Priceless picture Gerald. Thanks

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on May 11, 2007 at 9:06 am

That’s the only currently known picture of the Darlton, and it was published in the Providence Journal at the time of the theatre’s closing. There must be more photos out there.

RonnieD on May 14, 2007 at 5:43 am

I would think there would be other pictures of the Darlton around perhaps taken by people in the neighborhood, but unitl they surface, if ever, thanks for sharing the Journal one. It’s a treasure.
I never knew before hand that the Darlton was closing. I live in southeastern Mass. but use to venture across the state line for movies. I often didn’t have access to a R.I. paper (there were no computers) to see film listings so I’d drive down Newport Ave, check out what was playing on the beautiful Darlton marquee, drive another mile down the road to the 4 Seasons to see what they were offering and then decide what I wanted to see.
The night I drove up to a vacant dirt lot where that beautiful theater use to be, I was devastated. It was like a bomb had fallen and obliterated it. There was a sign on the property announcing that the next attraction on the site would be a new bank “coming soon”. I was heartbroken and still miss the Darlton.

Egeoffroy on April 30, 2008 at 1:47 pm

I was just a little snot-nosed kid in 1977 but I remember the line around the block for Star Wars. I think that’s what it was.

Thanks for the picture. It gave me goosebumps. for real!

James Fisher
James Fisher on May 1, 2008 at 3:54 pm

I rememebr KIps being on the same block as the Dalton while across the stree was The Beef hearth then later Harrys beef hearth now iam not sure probably a parkling lot lol

rkq on July 31, 2009 at 7:29 pm

The Dalton…my first offical job as a union projectionist. It was summer daily matinees with all Disney films. Joe Jarvis had the lease and his son helped him run it. It was a very attractive building. Had a cryroom next to the projection room. The projection room was quite large with a window overlooking Pawtucket Ave.

MrBluehaunt on January 31, 2010 at 6:36 am

Here are a few photos from about 1941:
View link

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 29, 2010 at 9:08 am

Operators of various theatres in the Pawtucket-Lincoln-Valley Falls area in 1951, gave their opinions on ways to combat the effects of TV on their theatres. Written as a report for the Pawtucket Times, the results were also reported in Boxoffice magazine in the issue of January 27, 1951:
View link

bonniebritland on September 16, 2011 at 12:27 pm

I worked at this theater as a candygirl and in the box office as a cashier during high school and college.It was not owned by Joe Jarvis,but by the Pinault family,They also owned the drugstore on the corner across from Kip’s and the Beef Hearth. In the 60’s they showed many first run movies.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 1, 2013 at 10:41 am

The Theatre Historical Society arvhive in Illinois has the MGM Theatre Report for the Darlton. But no one filled it out, so there is no info. There is an undated photo, very similar to the one above, and on it is written “Darlton Theatre in Darlington, Massachusetts, 3 miles east of Pawtucket”. So they got the location wrong. However, the MGM Report for the Bates Theatre in Attleboro lists the Darlton as a competing theater and correctly states that it is in Pawtucket.

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