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As a kid growing up in Newton Centre, I remember this theatre very well. I distinctly remember when it was being built. I sneaked in once (on a weekend?) when the workmen weren’t there, and got stuck in the elevator! Someone finally got me out (but by then the theatre construction was finished! Just kidding), and I thought I’d get in such trouble with my parents, but I never did. I also recall the smell of the new theatres (probably glue or something) and the very first films they showed… well at least one of them (‘cause they had two theatres) was Zefferelli’s “Romeo and Juliet”. Possibly the other screen was showing “Chisum”? Not sure, but I do remember seeing that there as well. I was at college out of state in the late 70’s, and when I came back it was a Pier One! FIY, it was located on the ground floor, not the basement, where as one person said was indeed where the “Academy” gym was.
I saw many films at the old Circle during the late 60s and early 70s, when the theatre was still a single screen, exclusive run house. I remember seeing “The Great Race” (still a fav), “The Gambler”, and “Warhol’s Dracula” there. The one thing no one’s mentioned yet was the singular oddness of the “screen”. It was, as I recall, not a traditional screen (perforated with the speakers behind), but an indented wall — much like a blank picture frame. I remember walking up to it after the movie and touching it to discover it feeling like… cement! I don’t recall if the picture brightness suffered (although it probably, like most theatres, was a bit dim), but the sound probably was worse off, since the speakers were above the “screen”. Please correct me if I’m off on some of this — it was a very long time ago. Thanks as well, to all of your great posts for bringing back great memories!