East Islip Theater

135 Main Street,
East Islip, NY 11730

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bond
bond on December 24, 2010 at 7:46 am

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

Bway
Bway on April 20, 2009 at 7:39 am

What is on the site today?

susieq60
susieq60 on February 16, 2008 at 7:52 pm

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 October 16, 2007 at 8:50 am

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 October 15, 2007 at 7:25 pm

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!

KONeill
KONeill on June 7, 2007 at 5:21 pm

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

JohnMoviola
JohnMoviola on March 3, 2007 at 8:20 pm

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.

Bway
Bway on June 8, 2006 at 4:39 pm

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

rajen55
rajen55 on June 8, 2006 at 8:13 am

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 8, 2006 at 5:55 am

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

rajen55
rajen55 on February 12, 2005 at 9:08 pm

Heres an updated link to the pic View link

Hey Jim thats fascinating stuff about the old EI Theatre. If you could find that pic of the fire we would love to post it on our website, www.eastislip.org email me thru the website if you’re interested.

JimC
JimC on February 7, 2005 at 12:05 pm

Fascinating info about Mr Poro. I was projectionist at the East Islip from 1971-1973. I remember both Mr Poro the elder, and his son who’s name I think was also Jim, and who helped run the place. I remember once when I inquired about the age of the building he told me that it had originally been some sort of military warehouse during WWI. The elder Mr Poro also had a thick photo album of pictures taken of the theatre over the years that he showed me once. I remember one photo in particular taken during a WWII scrap rubber drive. You got into the movies free that day if you brought some old rubber-goods you no longer needed. The photo showed a line of people with old automobile & tractor tires, rubber hoses,etc. stretching for at least a block down main street.
It was located next to a Church. Mr Poro would let the priests and nuns in for free and they’d sit alone up in the balcony by themselves when they came to watch a movie.
Up in the booth, they still had one of the original Western Electric ERPI sound sytems. It still worked, but was used only as a back up to the main 1940 vintage RCA sound system. The projectors were ancient silent film vintage “Simplex Standard"s that had been converted to sound by adding a sound head. They still had the hand cranks for the projectors in the parts cabinet in the booth! I’d heard that they had an old Vitaphone machine in the basement. I inquired about it and Mr Poro said he’d show it to me. But the room it was in was locked, nobody had been in it for at least 20 years and he couldn’t find the key. While going through old keys trying to open that door, we were able to get into an adjoining room that was filled a lot of old theatre-junk, including several cans of nitrate film that had decayed to a big glob of goop. I was able to see the vitaphone machine by shining a flashlight through a hole in the wall into the locked room we couldn’t open. When the theatre burned down Christmas Eve 1980, I rushed to it first thing the next morning to see if the old machines could somehow have been salvaged, or maybe I could at least salvage one of the projector hand-crands as a souvineer! But the entire theatre had completely burned out and collapsed. It was a cold morning and not only had the place burned down but now the ruins were a solid block of ice from all the water poured on it during the fire. Somewhere around here I have pictures of it.
JimC/SanFrancisco

rajen55
rajen55 on November 29, 2004 at 7:09 am

Heres a pic..

View link

I think this is Quonset style. The building was brought from Camp Upton when it was decommisioned.

It burned down on Christmas Day, 1980

corfitz1
corfitz1 on November 29, 2004 at 5:36 am

my mom and dads first date was at the east islip movies in 1950. i remember as a kid we could just go there on a saturday afternoon and have a ball. this is back when you could send your kids in and get an afternoon without kids.it was a great place for both and my husbands memories[hes from islip]i just fell upon this site and what a nice trip down memory lane.corfitz

PAMSBUD
PAMSBUD on November 13, 2004 at 3:00 pm

The East Islip Theatre stood on west main street right where the little shopping plaza is that has a nursery school and a hair stylist shop. It was on the south side of main street between St. Mary’s church and Beachtree cafe.

Bway
Bway on October 14, 2004 at 4:37 am

Does anyone know where on Main St the East Islip was (east or west Main St), and what is there now?