270 Center Street,
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Architects: Loomis J. Thompson
Styles: Art Nouveau
The Wilkinson Theater was a marvellous old vaudeville theater that opened in 1923, and converted to movies well before my time. It was located on Center Street near Simpson Court and the town center. Unfortunately, it was torn down in the 1960s to make way for the Dime Saving Bank’s parking lot and drive-up teller.
The theater had a broad, deep balcony where the older teenagers would neck and throw candy down on the younger kids below. The walls were hand painted with gorgeous birch trees and long v-tailed swallows. There was a pit for orchestra in front of the stage, and there were deep red velvet curtains that would open for the movie and close at the end.
I remember going for Saturday matinees where you could watch a whole slew of cartoons and a feature for .25 in the early-1960s. Just before school one year, they handed out Mickey Mouse pencil boxes with a pencil, smaller ruler, eraser inside the cardboard box with a small drawer and a picture of Mickey and friends on the front cover. It was closed in May 1967.
The movie theater is mentioned in the book “Riding in Cars With Boys: Confessions of a Bad Girl Who Makes Good” by Beverly Donofrio, which was made into the 2001 movie “Riding in Cars With Boys” starring Drew Barrymore.
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