1601 Blue Hill Avenue,
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Firms: Krokyn, Browne & Rosenstein
Originally the Oriental Theatre was going to built in Waltham, but ended up in Boston’s Mattapan district/neighborhood. This theatre is in the heart of Mattapan Square.
This ornate theatre was a showplace at the time with twinkling stars and moving clouds. It opened on October 24, 1930 and was designed by the Boston based architectural firm Krokyn, Browne & Rosenstein. The Chinese themed interior re-created such notable Chinese structures as the Street Gate of Tsinanfu and the facade of the Wan Shou Tsu Temple. Seating was on a stadium plan, with a raised section at the rear instead of an overhanging balcony. It was equipped with a Wurlitzer 3 manual 19 ranks organ.
Originally, part of Jacob Lourie’s and Sam Pinanski’s NETOCO, then Paramount-Publix and M & P circuit closing as one of the last of the old American Theatres Corp. (ATC). The Oriental Theatre closed in 1971 with the James Bond movie “Diamonds Are Forever”.
It became an electrical supply warehouse and most of the decorative plaster was removed from the building by Fred McLennan who installed it in the Orpheum Theatre, Canton, MA, which he renamed New Oriental Theatre (it has its own page on Cinema Treasures). The former Oriental Theatre became a furniture store and warehouse in 2018. Only the ‘blue sky’ ceiling and a few traces of decorative plasterwork are still in situ.
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