Coventry Cinema

Sandy Bottom Road,
Coventry, RI 02816

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Built as a Jerry Lewis Cinema, it later became the Coventry Cinema around 1973, a few years after it opened. It survived not more than two decades, and the building is now used for other commercial purposes. It may have been the town of Coventry’s only movie theater ever.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on November 19, 2004 at 2:13 pm

The Jerry Lewis cinemas, wherever they were built (as single screeners), seemed to be totally identical in size and configuration to each other but were fairly pleasant and comfortable. At this one, still called the Jerry Lewis Cinema, Coventry, I noted seeing “Wild Rovers,” “The Graduate,” and “Blue Water, White Death” in July-August, 1972.

hardbop
hardbop on March 31, 2005 at 9:15 pm

I remember the Jerry Lewis Cinemas well, but they didn’t last long. Anyone have any info on the chain? I went to this cinema once, during Christmas break my senior year in college. I remember seeing “Apocalypse Now” there and getting there late.

I think there were other Jerry Lewis Cinemas in Rhode Island (where I grew up) in Warwick, North Kingston & Johnston. And if memory serves me correctly, the raison d'etre for the Jerry Lewis Cinemas was to offer “family fare” at bargain rates. I remember a 50-cent admission fee for kids at least. The irony is that when the Jerry Lewis Cinema concept went belly up, the Jerry Lewis Cinema in Johnson became a porno house.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on March 31, 2005 at 9:25 pm

Hardbop (love that name!)
Yes, there were other Jerry Lewis Cinemas also in Middletown (later Starcase Cinemas), Cumberland, Westerly. Are you sure about North Kingstown? I don’t remember one. Where would that have been located?

hardbop
hardbop on March 31, 2005 at 9:29 pm

Gerald,
I am doing it by memory but could be wrong about that. I remember going to a Jerry Lewis Cinema and I think it was in North Kingston. But I am not 100% sure. For some reason I think the cinema became a furniture store, but I am guessing. I do remember when the Jerry Lewis cinemas folded and there was kind of a hub-bub about it, particularly when the Johnston Cinema became a porno house.

hardbop
hardbop on April 12, 2005 at 5:03 pm

I asked my mother and my aunt about a Jerry Lewis Cinema in North Kingstown. I could have sworn that as a kid I caught a movie there, but I may be confusing it with another theatre. My mother didn’t know, but my aunt lived in North Kingston and here’s her recollection:

“There was indeed a movie theatre in NK but I think it was where the old CARDI furniture store was located just outside of Quonset Naval Base. I do remember those theatres and no one thought they would last. I didn’t think HE would last after I saw him last time! Poor guy………..”

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on April 12, 2005 at 5:23 pm

Hmmmm! I never heard of it or saw any such movie theatre advertised in the Providence Journal. I know there was a Quonset Drive-In at about that location and I saw movies there, but I don’t remember a hard-top. Perhaps new information will emerge. Lots of surprises on this website. Of course there was also at least one base movie theatre, in the Quonset base itself, for military personnel and their families.

TheMovieCritic
TheMovieCritic on May 25, 2010 at 4:33 pm

I remember seeing some great movies here. “King Kong” (1976), “Saturday Night Fever” (1978), “Superman III” (1983), “Star Trek III:The Search For Spock” (1984), & “Back To The Future” (1986).

zillabob
zillabob on December 9, 2012 at 2:53 pm

They used to show alot of 2nd run movies there back in the day, the heyday was the 1970s and part of the 80s. What killed many of these small theaters was the Home Video market, and more Showcase Cinema multiplexes cropping up and ease to get to them.I remember seeing alot of fun movies, on weekends they ran Godzilla and Disney films for like $1.

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