E.M. Loew's Center Theatre

144 Main Street,
Pawtucket, RI 02806

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rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 4, 2015 at 11:39 am

The Theatre Historical Society archive has the MGM Theatre Report for this theater when it was the Capitol. Address was “Main Street”. There is an exterior photo shot May 1941. The condition is Fair; the theater was over 15 years old, and not showing MGM films. There were 800 seats on the main floor and 450 in the balcony; total 1,250 seats.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 2, 2012 at 10:34 am

Tinseltoes- Yes, E.M. Loew had no blood relation to Marcus Loew, who was a generation older. His theaters almost always had “E.M. Loew” in the heading rather than just “Loew” in order to avoid confusion.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on February 1, 2011 at 7:17 am

Burlesque wasn’t frowned upon at that time in Providence, just five miles away:
Perhaps it was a Pawtucket hang-up.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on February 1, 2011 at 5:17 am

Ad for a stage show at the State Theatre in 1926.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 25, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Thanks Gerald.Great story.Picture.Loews was a classy outfit.

TLSLOEWS on February 19, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Interesting History.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on December 17, 2009 at 9:27 am

That is an excellent piece you’ve posted a link to. I believe it contains the only known photos of Pawtucket’s Loew’s Capitol/Center Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 26, 2009 at 1:43 am

The E.M. Loew circuit had the Capitol remodeled and renamed it the Center Theatre in 1948. An article about the project, which was designed by William Riseman Associates, appeared in Boxoffice Magazine, July 17, 1948. There was also a nice night photo of the new marquee of the Center on the cover of that issue of Boxoffice.

Marialivia on August 15, 2005 at 4:36 am

I did read about this film on IMDB and would be very interested in seeing it. I recall the general way of life and the way of thinking in Pawtucket back then (although I was probably in the second grade), and I can well imagine that it would have been considered “porn” back then. I plan to ask my movie maven son whether he might have a copy or know where we can get one.

I remember going to the Capitol to see the serial “Green Hornet” (we then called them “chapter pictures”) and received a free comic book, which I treasured. The Capitol became “declasse” a short time later, and I was not allowed to go there. But one of my favorite family stories (all true) involves my dear grandmother winning a LIVE turkey at the Capitol and taking it home with her on the bus!! (None of us had cars in those days.)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 13, 2005 at 11:46 pm

Yes, it is tame…and I believe you are right about the belated importation and the timing of the release with Lamarr’s burgeoning popularity. I’ve seen it a couple of times over the years and I believe it has been shown on TCM. DVDs are available through Amazon.com and other outlets.

Marialivia on August 13, 2005 at 12:47 pm

It would be interesting to see that film now for historical purposes, but most likely it would be “tame” by today’s standards. I’m going to look it up on IMDB and see what I can learn about its U.S. release. It may just be that Lamarr had just come upon the scene in Hollywood and there was heightened interest in her past (maybe even by press agents?)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 13, 2005 at 11:38 am

Oddly, the film did not open in New York until Christmas of 1940, judging from the date of the New York Times review.

Marialivia on August 13, 2005 at 10:02 am

This is actually funny to me, because I remember the notorious Harry Curvin very well and witnessed his machinations in the State Legislature in the early fifties. I wonder if they allowed him to chomp on his cigar whilst he witnessed the beauteous Miss Lamarr’s nudity? Incidentally, the Czech film “Ecstasy” was made in 1933, and by 1939 Hedy Lamarr was up and coming in Hollywood and had gone on to more “mainstream” films. I believe it was that year that she appeared in “Algiers,” where Charles Boyer entreated her, “Come wiz me to de Casbah.” Obviously, it took a while for “Ecstasy” to get to Pawtucket!!

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 12, 2005 at 9:23 pm

Pawtucket Ecstasy ban:
From a July 29, 1939 Providence Journal article:

“Representative Hary F. Curvin, Public Safety Director in Pawtucket, yesterday banned the foreign-mde film ‘Ecstasy.’ because, he said, ‘it is sensuous—-would be detrimental to the morality of the youth of Pawtucket—-saturated with immorality.’

“The film stars Hedy Lamarr. Under the Curvin ban it cannot be shown in Pawtucket. It was billed for a run at the Capitol Theatre, opening Monday.

“Curvin notified Hyman Rodman, manager of the theatre, Thursday that he would not allow the film to be shown in Pawtucket. Curvin said that he had not seen the movie but had been prompted in his ruling by similar rulings in some other communities.

“Rodman asked Curvin to pre-view the movie. Curvin did so Thursday night. Early yesterday morning, after watching the film run off with Inspector Vincent Hourigan, Curvin told Rodman he was more convinced than ever that the film must not be shown in the city.”

Marialivia on August 3, 2005 at 1:58 am

What a wonderful photo, Gerald (I left comments at that site). I had a bit of trouble orienting myself into the photo, but now I see that it looks up Main Street, toward the old Music Hall Theater!! The Strand would be just around the corner on East Avenue, behind that spired bank on the left. Thanks again!! ML

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 3, 2005 at 12:40 am

Marialivia, I posted an old Main Street theatre called the Globe. Here it is and with a photo link.

Marialivia on June 28, 2005 at 11:56 am

I just did so and wow, it’s wonderful!! The Music Hall was gone by the time I started school in the late 30s, but I heard about it frequently. Pawtucket was a GREAT place to grow up, and why o why did it have to change?

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 28, 2005 at 4:12 am

Roland just posted an entry on the Music Hall with some incredible photos! Click and check it out.

Marialivia on June 28, 2005 at 3:05 am

The DMV is at 286 Main Street, so it would make sense that the Music Hall would be across the street, down a bit at 229, so my memory of that sign above the Peerless would so far seem accurate. Later today I plan to call an elderly friend of mine in Pawtucket who enjoys reminiscing about “the way it used to be,” and I’m sure he’ll shed some light on the exact location. Did you check in the city directory to find the address of the Peerless? It was opened sometime in the 40s (probably mid to late).

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 27, 2005 at 12:34 pm

The Music Hall was at 229 Main, according to a city directory I checked, and Roland is putting it up later today. I found a list of “coming movies” for the Music Hall in February, 1935. There was also a Globe Theatre at 175 Main, listed in 1914. They were sprouting like mushrooms.

Marialivia on June 27, 2005 at 11:47 am

Great — I’ll check it out! I’ll be hoping to hear about your progress with the “Music Hall” investigation. I’m thinking that if the Capitol was at 156 Main, then the Music Hall would have been at about 185 to 199 Main. It’s amazing to me that virtually nothing is left of that bustling downtown, the one I knew so well growing up in Pawtucket.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 27, 2005 at 4:56 am

Marialivia, thanks. You and Roland Lavallee have provided plenty of information about Pawtucket to whet my appetite. Having grown up in Johnston, my knowledge of the Pawtucket theatres is very indirect. I visited the Strand once, saw the closed Capitol or whatever it was called in the late 1950s and wondered about it, saw the exterior of the Broadway, visited the Fairlawn a couple of times, the Leroy a few times, and the Darlton many times. I paid $32 for Temples of Illusion. It is out of print now, but you could check from time to time with www.abebooks.com to see if more used copies become available.

Marialivia on June 27, 2005 at 2:53 am

Yes, I’ve seen many of your postings, as I receive notice when there’s a new posting relating to something I’ve previously submitted. You really are a movie theater “maven,” to say the least! How expensive is that book “Temples of Illusion”? The original location of the Peerless was on Main St., maybe halfway between East Ave. and Broad Street. Pawtucket Institution for Savings was at the corner of Main st. and Maple Street (which leads up to the library). If you are standing in front of that bank, walk DOWN towards East Ave. Just a few doors down from that bank was Peerless Co., which I believe might be the former location of the Music Hall. The etchin sign might still be there. Sadly, so many buildings have been razed since I lived (sadly — I loved it there), I can’t even figure out a street number!

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 26, 2005 at 6:33 am

Was it closer to East Avenue or up where Broad Street begins? I’m going to check for ads for it in pre-1935 Pawtucket Times years on microfilm. This will merit a listing. Incidentally I have posted a great deal of information on the downtown Providence theatres. Roger Brett’s book Temples of Illusion has been a big help, and I am finding a lot of early Journal articles by using the card file at the Providence Public Library.