Palace Theatre

85 Washington Street,
West Warwick, RI 02893

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The Palace Theatre opened in 1921 in the Arctic section of West Warwick and played films after they had run in the Providence area. Double bills were the norm. It was demolished before the end of the 1980’s. At the end of its career it was showing porno films. This policy aroused the ire of the Catholic church located almost directly across from it, and various attempts were made to revoke the theatre’s license. At one point the theatre was leased for the showings of Italian language movies.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 20 comments)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 30, 2006 at 12:29 am

The 1949 Film Daily Yearbook lists the seating as 1,000.

peppuz on February 22, 2007 at 3:34 pm

Any suggestions about finding a photo of the theatre or the marquis?

Michellelamar on August 21, 2008 at 8:51 am

I was a stripper at the Palace Theatre in West Warwick, RI in the late l970’s. John Tavone, 36, native Rhode Islander bought the theatre in l971 planning on turning it into a commercial movie theatre, but after a year of losing money and faced with the prospect of selling out, John made the jump into adult entertainment.
As the owner of a nearby adult bookstore, it was admittedly a small leap. John managed the place I think until it burned in 1980. The admission of five dollars included a full length porno movie and live dancers/strippers on the stage. There were two shows a day; one at noon and one at 8pm.
I have the pictures from an article in The New Paper, April 4-11, 1979, titled “Palace Theatre Warms Up Artic”. I would love to read the full article if anyone has a copy.
John told me the Palace was once billed as the biggest, brightest and best burlesque theatre in New England. Back in the vaudeville era the Palace was in its glory. One thousand patrons would sit in the velvet maroon seats to be entertained by magic acts, comedy teams, acrobatic groups, singers, dancers and strippers who shared the stage to create a show. When vaudeville died the Palace went on to other uses.
If anyone was ever in the audience in the 1970’s when it was a strip theatre, or if they knew people who were, I would be interested in communicating with them. I am now in the process of writing a book about my career as a stripper and the Palace was the first place I ever worked in my short career until going on the finish my degree and then getting a Master’s Degree in Expressive Therapy from Lesley
University, Cambridge, MA.. I have worked for the past 20 years as a Controller at a Boston, MA architectural firm.
I welcome any comments and hope that my story does not contribute to making the Palace Theatre a sad place. It was only a small portion of what the Palace Theatre really was; and certainly not the most admirable.

kencmcintyre on January 31, 2009 at 6:51 pm

This is from Boxoffice magazine in August 1962:

WEST WARWICK, R.I.-The former Palace Theater on Washington Street, Arctic, closed as a motion picture house more than two years ago, has been purchased by Harry Erinakes and his wife Irene. Erinakes owns and operates the Hilltop Drive-In and the Lonsdale Drive-In, in addition to the Redwood Bowling Alley on Crawford Street in Arctic. He has not announced his plans for the new property.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 21, 2010 at 4:45 am

From Boxoffice magazine, February 4, 1956:

“In the most extensive cooperation promotion ever seen in this area, 14 Providence and nearby houses used record-breaking newspaper advertising space in heralding the joint premiere of "The Day the World Ended” and “Phantom from 10,000 Leagues.” Virtually taking over the amusement pages of the local press for several days, the following houses united in the ad: Elmwood, Hope, Uptown, Liberty, Castle, all in this city; Community, Centredale; Strand, Pawtucket; Union, Attleboro; Hollywood, East Providence; Palace, Cranston; Community, Wakefield; Park, Auburn; Palace, Arctic and Stadium, Woonsocket. A brief checkup of local houses indicated that opening days were solid."

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 15, 2011 at 4:52 am

In September 1926, this theatre was part of the eleven-theatre Celebrate Paramount Week.
Newspaper ad.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 17, 2011 at 3:54 am

This theatre was part of the September 1923 6th Paramount Week. In this advertisement from the (Providence) Evening Tribune, September 1, 1923, we see a fascinating list of Rhode Island area theatres, many long-gone and long-forgoten, or even unheard of, as well as what they were showing during that week. The Palace was showing The Go Getter. CLICK HERE and move image to see all theatres.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 20, 2011 at 11:01 am

In September 1922 this theatre was part of Rhode Island’s Paramount Week. Click to see the ad in Providence News, September 1, 1922, which contains a list of all participating theatres as well as the films shown that week.


Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 21, 2011 at 6:56 am

A NEWSPAPER AD for Arctic area theatres from September 6, 1925.

mrmiami on April 30, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Good old days I worked there until they closed I think it was 1995 then a few years later it burnt down owell had a blast.

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