East Islip Theater

135 Main Street,
East Islip, NY 11730

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East Islip Theater

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After managing the Northport Theater, Jim Poro, an immigrant from Italy, opened the East Islip Theater in 1935. It had a very soothing atmosphere, and was a very popular theater in it’s day.

Mr Poro operated the theater until he was 88. In 1978, he finally sold the theater after operating it for 43 years. Unfortunately, the building burned down in December 1980.

Contributed by Bway Chris

Recent comments (view all 17 comments)

Bway
Bway on June 8, 2006 at 1:55 pm

Ray, your “updated” photo doesn’t work anymore either. But I agree, a photo of the fire would be interesting.

rajen55
rajen55 on June 8, 2006 at 4:13 pm

Heres an updated link:

http://www.eastislip.org/Pages/Main Street USA/main_street.htm
(scroll down)

I’ve added a lot of new material including posters and a link to a Bio of Jim Poro Sr. w/pic

Also a pic of the Fire!!

Bway
Bway on June 9, 2006 at 12:39 am

For some reason, your link still don’t work, the whole thing is not hyperlinked because there are spaces in the url.

JohnMoviola
JohnMoviola on March 4, 2007 at 4:20 am

I went to this theater as a child back in the 1960’s. My most vivid memory was when they were running the film “Goodbye Columbus,” which was rated R, but since then that has been changed to PG. It was 1969, so I was 13. My mother took me and an older brother to see the movie, and as we were entering the lobby, an usher or ticket-taker strongly informed my mother it was rated R, and you shouldn’t be taking your son in to see it, and she strongly told them that she knew, and she alone would be responsible for what her children would see. All I saw was Ali McGraw jump in a pool naked, which corrupted me for life.

KONeill
KONeill on June 8, 2007 at 1:21 am

Similar story to March 3 post…I along with my 8 year old brother ( at the time) and several older cousins made our way to the theatre to see “Shoes of the Fisherman” (1968)…As we ponied up to the little ticket booth I remember Mr. Poro leaning out and pearing down at the two of us and telling my oldest cousins something to the effect…“This is a roadshow picture…If these two get outta line cause they’re bored you all gotta go…

(A Road Show had an intermission and ran about 2.5 to 3 hours…)

I’ll also admit to seeing at that theatre movies as varied as “Sound of Music”, “The aristocats” and “Frankenstein vs. the Space Monster”…

Thanks to Mr. Poro and the good ol EI Theatre I now make a living in “The Movie Biz”…

Kevin O'Neill

susieq60
susieq60 on October 16, 2007 at 3:25 am

I remember when the theater burned down. A friend lived in the house across the street. It was bitterly cold that night and so everything froze into an amazing ice palace, the trees, the road, the burnt out theater…
By the way – It had closed not long before it burned. Just before that it had gone porno for a brief time. The day it burned down, Islip Theater was re-opening after having renovated to go Triplex.
I lived within walking distance and saw Sound of Music there when I was 7, 2x! Once was a birthday party.
Saw A Star is Born w/Barbra Streisand
I saw Rocky there when it first came out. There was one guy running the whole place that night. Selling the tickets, and the popcorn and running the film. At one reel change he forgot to turn on the next projector (Rocky and Adrian are talking on the sofa). The reel ran out and we sat in blackness. Everyone started shouting “Hey! Change the reel!” and other things. You could hear him running up stairs and starting the projector and then running downstairs….but wait! The sound wasn’t turned up! More yelling and he had to run back up the stairs to fix it again!
I remember trying to sneak into an R movie when I was 16 or 17 and had to convince the ticket person that the person I was with was my 20 year old aunt! So I was supervised! Too funny! I don’t remember what movie it was, but I’m sure it was rated R. How many R movies were there in 76-77? LOL!

Bway
Bway on October 16, 2007 at 4:50 pm

I never knew it went porno. Perhaps that’s why someone set it on fire, or what was the cause of the fire?

susieq60
susieq60 on February 17, 2008 at 3:52 am

It was 1980 that it burned. Early am Christmas morning.
I don’t know if it was an arson. It was an old wooden building. Everything was about a million years old. Could have easily been innocent.

Bway
Bway on April 20, 2009 at 3:39 pm

What is on the site today?

bond
bond on December 24, 2010 at 3:46 pm

I have been reading everyones post,some are correct and some not. What sits on the site of the old East Islip Movie Theater now is the Beechtree Cafe, infact the theater sat to the east of that property up against the auto repair is now and the land to the west was all parking up to the corner.I was offered a job at 16 years old to work Chritmas eve at the old 2001 night club on the corner of Irish lane and Sunrise Hwy as a DJ and my father was very upset I was working I said I needed the money.Anyway The night was a bust, It was the first time that the club opened on Christmas eve and only 8 people showed up. We closed at 12:00 midnight and the owner drove me home, I lived up the street and we turned on Main St And I remember seeing the big EAST ISLIP sign on and shining brightly and also how cold and windy that night was. I went to sleep and I heard sirens about 4:00 am , my father and sister got up about 7:00am because there were more Fire trucks coming so they walked down the street and the entire theater had burned to the ground. It was so cold and windy that the Firemen got frost bite and were unable to contain it. I remember walking up there later and seeing the 6 foot iscicles hanging from the wires. There might be some old pictures of the Theater at the East Islip Historical Soceity in its prime and the Applebees Restuarant in East Islip I think has a picture hanging up of the fire on that fateful night. It was never a porno theater ever and was opened untill the last night . I dont remember the last movie that played there but I remember seeing “Being There” with Peter Sellers before he died in 1980. Anyway thats my memory, I HOPE I SPELLED EVERYTHING CORRECLY. Thanks, Harry Antario

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