Fairlawn Theatre

561 Smithfield Avenue,
Pawtucket, RI 02860

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RoyRossi
RoyRossi on July 26, 2015 at 11:19 pm

There is a comment in here (written in 2004) that the theater closed in 1982. However, we performed the Rocky Horror Picture Show there from December 9, 1983 thru February 4, 1984. An 8 week run. Rough audience some nights, but that was Rocky back then.

I remember both side sections were torn out by then. There was only a center section remaining. I think some rows from the front may have been torn out also. It gave us a lot of space to perform.

The owner was George Mittsmenn. Very nice guy to us.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 4, 2015 at 11:24 am

The Theatre Historical Society archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the Fairlawn. It’s Card # 534. There is an exterior photo taken April 1941. It’s on Smithfield Avenue. Condition is Excellent. It was built in 1940 and shows MGM product. 800 seats.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 4, 2010 at 7:18 am

Construction of the Fairlawn Theatre in 1940.

Boxoffice magazine reported in its April 24, 1940 issue:

“Another new theatre in Pawtucket looms, with the city zoning board meeting Wednesday to consider granting of construction permit for neighborhood house in the Fairlawn section of the city. Certificates of business incorporation were granted by the secretary of state’s office to Currie & Harmon, Inc., to carry on theatrical business in the state. Incorporators are Earl H. Mason and Alfred J. Joslin of Pawtucket and Cecelia A. Gilgannon of Lonsdale, R.I.”

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 29, 2010 at 9:09 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

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on June 21, 2010 at 11:21 am

In Geralds post of 8/22/05 I never saw a projectionist in a suit and tie at work,naybe it was different back them.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 20, 2010 at 7:16 pm

For the record “JOHN AND MARY” was not family fare as mentioned above it carried an R -rating in its day.Today it might be PG.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 20, 2010 at 8:47 am

Item in Boxoffice magazine, November 6, 1954:
“The Fairlawn in adjacent Pawtucket, showing "The French Line,” advised patrons it would be omitted at the Saturday matinee, which is largely made up of juveniles."

[Note: that movie feature Jane Russell in a skimpy costume.]

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 21, 2007 at 11:20 am

The Fairlawn Theatre in Pawtucket is listed in the 1942-43 Motion Picture Almanac as part of the Levenson Circuit of Boston. Run by Joseph Levenson, the circuit controlled 12 theatres at the time, including the Coolidge Corner in Brookline MA and the South Station Theatre in Boston.

Marialivia
Marialivia on August 29, 2005 at 6:49 am

Yes, I knew Mr. Fisher from frequenting the Fairlawn. He lived in a lovely house on Cobble Hill Road that was known as “Cobblehurst.” I always thought it would be great to live in a house like that!! Thanks again for the info. (I didn’t know that his mother was the owner.)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 27, 2005 at 3:43 pm

In the 1940s, I am told, the Pawtucket Fairlawn was owned by Dorothy Fisher and run by her son Harry Fisher.

Marialivia
Marialivia on August 25, 2005 at 4:40 am

I’m so glad to have at least this further info on my favorite haunt in my growing-up days. As I’ve said in previous postings, I spent every Saturday matinee (and sometimes Sundays if I could wangle it) in this place and knew every fraction of a millimeter of it!! I’ve been trying for a long time to find out exactly when it opened, and your info on the listing in FDY in 1941 is of great interest to me. I recall that my parents took me to see “Gone With the Wind” there — the theater was new and it was the first time I’d been there. I’ve never understood how GWTW could be around for that length of time, because it was released in 1939, if I am correct. However, it was a phenomenon never duplicated in my lifetime, and perhaps it was shown and re-shown in these second-run theaters. I do recall that the Darlton Theater opened a bit prior to the Fairlawn, but I’ve never been able to pin down when it opened.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 22, 2005 at 4:36 am

Listed as the Fairlawn Theatre in 1941 and 1943 editions of Film Daily Yearbook, but no further details are given, not even a seating capacity.

By the 1950 edition of F.D.Y. it is still the Fairlawn Theatree and has a seating capacity given as 800.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 22, 2005 at 3:09 am

Here is a 1950s photo of projectionist Joe Cobb in the booth at the Fairlawn Theatre. Taken by Fred Deusch.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 6, 2005 at 8:46 am

A newspaper article from March, 1970 reported that owner Sully Altieri gave up efforts to show X-rated movies, which entailed a $100 per performance licensing fee, and said that the theatre would “show the kind of movies that people in the area have indicated they like.” The theatre name was changed from Pussycat to Roxy and the policy became family fare. John and Mary, with Mia Farrow and Dustin Hoffman, was put in. Kiddie matinees of other films were added on weekends.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 27, 2005 at 9:49 am

This theatre was also called “Pussycat Theater” for a time. An article in the Providence Evening Bulletin of December 29, 1969, discussed the problems the Pussycat had with Pawtucket City Hall and the granting of a license for showing X-rated and other adult films. The theatre had had its license seized by the police on the order of Mayor Robert F. Burns and subsequently revoked by the Pawtucket City Council. It remained closed for seven weeks. On December 29 the theater was finally granted a license to show Les Biches and The Oldest Profession. At the time the theatre had been shut down, it was playing Donna and Lisa and Mail Order Confidential.

Roland L.
Roland L. on June 21, 2005 at 9:51 am

If I am not mistaken, there was a fire of ‘suspicious’ nature after the theater closed. Wasn’t in on the present day parking lot near the hardware store?

I too saw Last House on the Left and Emperor of the North at the Fairlawn. (he-he) Brings back memories because I went with a group of people when I worked at the Burger Chef on Lonsdale Avenue!!

Roland L.
Roland L. on June 21, 2005 at 9:51 am

If I am not mistaken, there was a fire of ‘suspicious’ nature after the theater closed. Wasn’t in on the present day parking lot near the hardware store?

I too saw Last House on the Left and Emperor of the North at the Fairlawn at the Fairlawn. (he-he) Brings back memories because I went with a group of people when I worked at the Burger Chef on Lonsdale Avenue!!

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 21, 2005 at 8:51 am

In 1976 newspaper ads show still another name for this 561 Smithfield Avenue venue. It is listed as the Starcase Pawtucket, along with ads for the Starcase Middletown near Newport.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 20, 2005 at 7:08 am

Urban Cowboy with John Travolta was playing at the Town and Country in early August of 1980.

Marialivia
Marialivia on April 1, 2005 at 2:33 pm

I spent virtually EVERY Saturday of my growing-up life in the Fairlawn and was heartbroken when it was closed. I have tried for many years to find out (if possible) when it opened, as I went with my parents to see “Gone With the Wind.” I believe that film was its opening offering. I would love to have this info!! My visits to the Fairlawn are among the happiest memories of my childhood/teen years.
posted by Marialivia on Apr 1, 2005 at 5:31pm

deleted user
[Deleted] on December 1, 2004 at 12:10 pm

The Fairlawn Theatre closed in 1982. This theatre was also known as the Town & Country Cinema.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on December 1, 2004 at 11:03 am

The theatre was named the Starcase Cinema after the mid-1970s.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 24, 2004 at 2:48 pm

Does anyone else remember this place? I have a note that I saw “Slaughter Hotel” and “The Last House on the Left” here in December of 1972.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on March 25, 2004 at 6:37 am

The address was 561 Smithfield Avenue.