Orange Theatre

52 E. Main Street,
Orange, MA 01364

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Functions: Housing

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The (second/late 1940's) Orange Theater as it appears today

The Orange Theatre was the local movie cinema in the town of Orange, in north-central Massachusetts. It was originally located in the Town Hall auditorium at 6 Prospect Street, an exceptionally handsome building with a Classical style fa├žade. That building still exists today and has its own page on Cinema Treasures.

Sometime in the 1940’s, the cinema operators built a new Orange Theatre at 54 E. Main Street, across from the public library. It was still open in 1957. That building, now altered and gutted, also exists having been converted into housing.

Contributed by Ron Salters

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on November 27, 2010 at 1:09 pm

It seems as if there were 2 theatres called the Orange Theatre at various times then and both buildings still exist!

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on December 2, 2010 at 10:45 am

A friend owns copies of the Film Daily Yearbook for 1934 and 1942. He says that in 1934 the movie venue in Orange was the Town Hall, with 700 seats. In 1942, it was the Orange Theatre, 700 seats. In 1927, it was the Town Hall, with 700 seats; and in 1941, the MGM Report is for the Orange Theatre, (700-plus seats), and with a photo of a building which is today’s Town Hall.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 16, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Town Hall was showing movies by 1908. It was listed in the 1908-1909 edition of Julius Cahn’s Guide, with 600 seats. Because of its limited stage facilities, the house could present only vaudeville, concerts, and movies. The town’s main theater, the Putnam Opera House, had burned down in 1905.

jaboschen on July 19, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Hopefully this will help clear up the confusion. Up to about World War II, the Town Hall (known as the Orange Theater), was the main venue for showing movies. At some point either during World War II or after, the lease for the building/auditorium expired and was not renewed for whatever reason. The people who operated the venue at the townhall built the Orange Theater at 52 East Main Street, (directly across from the town library), in the late 1940’s. The 52 E. Main Street building still exists to this day, however it was gutted and renovated into apartments.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 20, 2011 at 3:12 am

Street View has been “updated” to the north side of the street. That building must be the town library jacobschen mentions. Even numbers are on the south side of Main Street. The final Orange Theatre must have been in the building that now has the shingled fake mansard on it. If you move a bit east or west in street view, you can see the former auditorium, which has had windows punched through the walls.

The April, 1914, issue of New England Magazine has an ad for the Eastern Theaters Company, a movie house circuit which had just taken over operation of a house in Orange called the Art Theater. The company was also operating the Premier Theatre at Newburyport, Majestic Theater at Easthampton, and the Majestic Theater at Keene, New Hampshire. The Art Theatre was also mentioned in the August 2, 1913, issue of Moving Picture World. I’m wondering if Art Theater was an aka for the Town Hall?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 20, 2011 at 3:27 am

Google Maps has no street view for the old Orange Theatre/Town Hall, but Bing Maps has a very good bird’s eye view for 6 Prospect Street (select “Bird’s eye” and zoom in.)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 31, 2011 at 10:49 am

Thanks to jaboschen and Joe Vogel for the above. I looked at the Bird’s eye view of the Bing view for 6 Prospect St., and it’s definitely the Orange Theatre which appears on the 1941 MGM Theatre Report. The building even has a stage-house in back. So there were indeed 2 seperate cinemas in Orange named “Orange Theatre”.

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