Janus Cinema

57 John F. Kennedy Street,
Cambridge, MA 02138

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jmorong
jmorong on April 27, 2010 at 9:36 pm

It’s true they did … and i have the time cards to prove it! My friend Ian (who runs the Somerville now) and I had the pleasure of gutting the Theater when it finally closed in 98/99? We were working at Loews Harvard Square on Church street (Loews was running both theaters) and found their time cards as we were cleaning out the office. I also managed to get a nice wall sign that still hangs in my apartment in Somerville. And boy how many horror stories we could tell about changing that marquee! A nightmare … but the $50 was a nice incentive.

jmorong
jmorong on April 27, 2010 at 9:36 pm

It’s true they did … and i have the time cards to prove it! My friend Ian (who runs the Somerville now) and I had the pleasure of gutting the Theater when it finally closed in 98/99? We were working at Loews Harvard Square on Church street (Loews was running both theaters) and found their time cards as we were cleaning out the office. I also managed to get a nice wall sign that still hangs in my apartment in Somerville. And boy how many horror stories we could tell about changing that marquee! A nightmare … but the $50 was a nice incentive.

raserman
raserman on April 9, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck used to work here.
View link

danpetitpas
danpetitpas on September 12, 2009 at 9:19 pm

CinemaTour has three pictures here.

Wow. I haven’t thought of this theater in a long time. I went there once for something that wasn’t playing anywhere else, and I never went back. Hard to believe that a single-screen “theater” like this could have been profitable. The fact that it kept changing hands suggests each new owner thought they knew the secret.

MrDJDude
MrDJDude on July 27, 2009 at 1:55 pm

I saw this building while I was in Harvard Square this weekend. The once-empty marquee frame has been used for a sign for Wagamama Nooodle Restaurant, located in the Galeria.

MPol
MPol on August 30, 2008 at 6:11 pm

Yup. This:

“ You mean they sent a 70mm print instead of 35mm one?”

is absolutely correct, Gerald.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 20, 2008 at 2:24 am

“wrong size print"
You mean they sent a 70mm print instead of 35mm one? I mean, what other possibilities are there?

MPol
MPol on August 19, 2008 at 6:57 pm

I remember the Janus very well. I saw some good films there, and at one time, West Side Story was scheduled to be shown there. On the day that WSS was to be shown, I very excited got ready and ran down to the Janus, which was then only a ten minute walk from my house, because I was living in Cambridge back then, back in the 1980’s. When I got to the Janus, I saw a sign at the box office saying “West Side Story has been cancelled”. Disappointed at the film’s cancellation, and determined to find out what had caused the cancellation, I stayed and talked to the projectionists for awhile. It turned out that they’d gotten a copy of the film from a distributor that was located down in Dorchester, where the people who worked there were always stoned. It turned out that this distributor had sent the people who ran the Janus a copy of the wrong size print of WSS—and they showed me why—the print that they’d sent over from Dorchester was too big for the track in the projector’s reels, and the film would’ve been shredded if they’d tried to put a film of the wrong size in there and show it. While it certainly didn’t change the fact that I was disappointed in the cancellation of the West Side Story screening, finding out what went wrong made it easier for me to accept..and take it in stride.

I’m sorry to hear about the Janus’s closing. what a bummer.

Lastdaysofrain
Lastdaysofrain on January 7, 2008 at 11:11 am

I actually saw Austin Powers here during the last few days of the theatre’s life.

nkwoodward
nkwoodward on December 11, 2007 at 9:21 am

The theater was a pretty narrow basement theater, with a low ceiling and a center aisle. I saw Philadelphia and Bob Roberts there.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on August 11, 2005 at 3:56 pm

According to this Harvard Crimson article, the Galeria Cinema opened on Wednesday, October 15, 1975, with A Boy and His Dog.

cinemaboy
cinemaboy on February 13, 2005 at 9:27 pm

The architect for the Pi Alley, as well as almost if not all of the Sack Cinemas, and Sonny and Eddy’s Cinemas, and many independently owned cinemas, was Burt W. Federman. His office was in Park Square and he designed or “twinned” literally thousands of cinemas in the New England area. By the 1980’s, he designed many of the Showcase cinemas located in New England and the central atlantic states. He passed away in 1987. He had also developed a soundproofing system for cinemas which had been first used in a mutiplex he had designed in the Bronx.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 27, 2005 at 6:45 pm

USACinemas (which was formerly called Sack Theatres) bought the Harvard Square and the Janus Cinema in November 1986.

Loews bought USACinemas in March 1988.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 4, 2005 at 5:28 pm

The Janus closed without any advance notice on Thursday, October 22, 1998, according to a Boston Globe article published the following day.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 26, 2004 at 3:30 pm

Just to clarify the “one l” business:

The Crimson Galeria (one “l”) is a small shopping mall in Harvard Square, which used to have this theatre in its basement. I think it opened in the early 1970s. It was already open when I arrived in Cambridge in 1975.

The CambridgeSide Galleria (two “l"s) is a large regional shopping mall in East Cambridge, which has never had a movie theatre in it. It opened in 1991. It’s what most people around here now think of if you say the word "Gal[l]eria” out loud.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on November 22, 2004 at 1:37 pm

This should also be listed under the alternate name “Galeria Cinema” since that is what it opened as…“Galeria” with one l.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on November 22, 2004 at 1:29 pm

For a year or so in the mid-1980s, right before Sack Theatres acquired it, the Janus ran a program of frequently changed double features, mostly recent hits with some classic revivals mixed in.

They published a monthly schedule whose format looked nearly identical to what Cinema 733 in Boston had done in the 1970s. Somewhere in between, I recall the Harvard Square Theatre (when it was still a single screen) printing a similar monthly schedule format.

I never really liked this place, as it was long and narrow, like a bowling alley.

br91975
br91975 on November 8, 2004 at 1:01 pm

Just answered my own question, with a little help from Google, re: the Newton Academy Cinemas/Academy Twin… the space is presently occupied by a Pier 1 Imports and a Kaplan Test Prep Center.

br91975
br91975 on November 8, 2004 at 12:36 pm

Does anyone know what became of the Newton Academy Cinemas? I remember, growing up in Boston, seeing its listing in the Boston Globe, that it had two screens (either initially or due to a twinning – I’m not sure which), and that it closed sometime in the mid-‘80s.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on November 8, 2004 at 12:15 pm

This theatre changed hands several times. At one point it was part of a small art-house chain called “Sonny & Eddy’s Theatres” which also operated the Central Square, Exeter Street, Allston, and Newton Academy cinemas. Later it was briefly owned by the Brattle, which is when it changed its name from ‘Galeria’ to ‘Janus’.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on August 25, 2004 at 11:17 am

The cinema never found a true identity and did combinations of first run, second run, art house, revival programs. I saw a fair number of films here including “Torch Song Trilogy” in January of 1989. It could have become something special, given the location near Harvard, if it had been intelligently programmed and enthusiastically managed but instead it evolved into just another boring blah place.

br91975
br91975 on August 14, 2004 at 10:55 pm

The Janus, which was located within the basement of the Galeria Mall, closed in the fall of 1998; ironically enough, the final film to screen there was ‘Without Limits’. A Staples store replaced the Janus, as well as the remainder of the floor it occupied and a portion of the street level.

IanJudge
IanJudge on August 14, 2004 at 5:24 pm

I worked for Loews at the time this cinema closed and had the job of putting the final words up on the marquee: “It’s Over”. This was a phrase that a very wacky ticket-taker at the Harvard Sq. Theatre used to shout at the end of his shift. (The Janus was run by the Harvard Sq. management and staff; I worked there with the occasional shift at the Janus). The Janus was in bad shape at the end, with very inexperienced managers running the projectors. Those of us at Harvard Sq. that understood the basics of presentation used to joke that the Janus was the only place that “Gone With The Wind” ran in widescreen during its late 90’s re-release, because one manager let it run for a week with the wrong plate in the machine. I would say that the last movie to do any business there was the first “Austin Powers”, which was a bit of a sleeper hit.