Cabot Street Cinema Theatre

286 Cabot Street,
Beverly, MA 1915

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Showing 1 - 25 of 27 comments

z11111 on March 7, 2016 at 7:25 am

Also, here’s a great video from last year (uploaded Oct. 2015) about the theater. It showcases all of the original features of the building from the original painted fire curtain to storage spaces behind bathrooms:

Ignore what I said in my last comment about the lobby being gutted. at around the 3:00 minute mark in the video above, the host shows that the original lobby is still intact above a drop ceiling. Simply amazing.

Unfortunately, “phase two” of the current owner’s renovation process seems to include “modify[ing] front of stage, flatten floor and purchase 150 removable chairs,” along with “install[ing] 400 new balcony seats,” rather than working with the original seating arrangement or refurbishing the current seats. You win some, you lose some.

z11111 on March 7, 2016 at 6:37 am

Hey there, I attended the Cabot in October 2015 and managed to take as many photos as I could:

(This is what I wrote about its condition on my Flickr description: Excuse the horrible quality photographs; this was kind of a spur of the moment event and I could only “shoot” with my iPhone, which was running on low battery.)

I went to the Cabot for the first time for a low-attended screening of Night of the Living Dead around Halloween in 2015. I had never been inside the theater and due to an insignificant amount of information available, I had no idea that it was still very much a gorgeous, extremely well-maintained palace kept close to its original condition and appearance. Structurally, it clearly has some issues from years and years of withstanding New England, but I was still blown away by the attention to detail retained and generally good upkeep. I wish I could have gotten into the balcony for a better view, or even just got better photos, but it was very dimly lit and this was the best my iPhone could do. As a fanatic of old movie palaces, I hope and pray that the new owners of the Cabot strive to keep the auditorium in line with its original appearance (the lobby has already been gutted and modernized and the old empty storefronts also appear to be undergoing the same treatment). I hope to return and continue to support the Cabot as long as it continues to be a true representation of what it once was.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on March 2, 2015 at 5:50 pm

It has reopened.

Bill L
Bill L on November 14, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Cabot Cinema has been saved. A consortium of five Beverly businessmen including Paul Van Ness who operates CinemaSalem have purchased it. It is being rehabbed and will show feature films and a variety of live entertainment. A restaurant within is also planned. Saving this jewel of the past is a dream come true, especially for the downtown area businesses. We came close to an unthinkable (in 2014) loss but got a happy ending.

Bill L.

chitchatjf on March 28, 2014 at 4:11 am

Now closed

PNRNetworks on May 18, 2013 at 5:16 am

Cabot St is now up for sale – here are two articles about the sale and it’s potential impact on the community:

Salem News:

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on July 8, 2012 at 6:35 pm

I never heard of it, but their web site is

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 8, 2012 at 10:43 am

I recently noticed a new listing in the Boston Herald movie theater directory: the LPF Studio Cinema in Beverly. Located at 296A Cabot Street, which is very near the Cabot Street Cinema (at 286 Cabot St.) Anyone know anything about it?

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on March 30, 2012 at 11:05 am

Cesareo Pelaez, who played Marco the Magi in the Le Grand David company, died March 24 after a long illness. He was 79 and appeared in shows on stage in Cuba as a youth. He founded the Le Grand David magic shows in the 1970s and purchased the Cabot Street Cinema, and later, the nearby Larcom Theatre in Beverly. He is survived by his godson, David Bull, the “David” in the troupe’s name. Obit from the Boston Herald, 3-28-2012.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on February 18, 2007 at 7:49 am

The Boston Sunday Herald of Feb. 18, 2007 has an article titled “Le Grand David’s spectacular longevity no illusion” by Lauren B. Falcone which states that the matinee performance of Feb. 18th at the Cabot Street Theatre will mark the 30th anniversary of the Le Grand David magic shows on stage. There are Sunday matinees at the Cabot St. while a different show plays on Thursdays at the Larcom Theatre nearby.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on December 12, 2006 at 8:02 am

The MGM Theatre Photograph and Report form for this theatre has an exterior photo dated May 1941 when it was the Ware Theatre. There was a rectangular marquee with “Ware” in huge letters on the front. There was also a vertical blade sign above. The attraction is “Virginia”. The Report states that the theatre was at 286 Cabot St., that it has been playing MGM product for over 10 years; that it’s over 15 years old, and is in Good condition. There are 750 seats on the main floor and 450 in the balcony, total: 1200 seats. The patronage is “Class” (meaning “high-class”). A competing theatre in Beverly is the Larcom Th. The 1940 population of Beverly was 25,500.

ASONGBIRD on August 12, 2006 at 3:42 pm


….or —of course —-anyone else who has info on the early Salem theatres (after 1896).


ASONGBIRD on August 12, 2006 at 3:41 pm

HI folks.

Dave1 above, could you contact me? You may be able to help me with a research question on early Salem, MA Theatres. I have tons of material but there’s one little thing I need to find out and you may be able to help.

I would surely love to talk to you asap…

SimonHawkin on February 16, 2006 at 5:30 pm

A few more photos of Cabot Theater.

  • This one is not very impressive, it shows the sprawling strip-mall-like front of the building which hosts the theater.

  • Here is a close-up view of the entrance, with spring blooming all around it.

  • Another view shows a Grand David mural.

  • And this is a close-up of the mural.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on January 9, 2006 at 8:10 am

The Cabot Street was built by two brothers, Harris and Glover Ware who were in the entertainment business and who operated the Larcom Theatre. When it opened, it was called “The Golden Theatre Beautiful”. It ws a vaude and film house. Later acquired by the Ramsdell Bros. for their small North Shore circuit. Then, in the 1930s, E.M. Loew acquired both the Ware and the Larcom. Sometime in the 1960s, the name was changed to Cabot Street Cinema. It was acquired by the Le Grand David magic troupe who premiered their first show on stage on February 20, 1977. They continued to offer film fare on screen, with stage shows on Sunday matinees.

DApril on May 29, 2005 at 7:32 pm

Hi Ron,

Yes, I followed your suggestion and entered those four theaters I mentioned in the thread. Maybe others will be able to add more information about them as time goes on.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 29, 2005 at 10:32 am

All Salem has today is the Museum Place triplex, one of those multiplex shoeboxes. It was built by Sack in 1982, later became independent, and is now run by Patriot Cinemas. It doesn’t have an entry here at CinemaTreasures. I posted a 1982 Boston Globe article about its opening here.

At least there are still movies in downtown Salem. So many other town centers no longer have theatres of any kind.

I encourage you to submit new entries for all of the Salem theatres you remember.

DApril on May 29, 2005 at 10:15 am

I grew up in Salem, MA in the 40s and 50s. At that time there were actually four (4) theaters on Essex Street: The Paramount was on the north side of the street near St. Peter St. The Empire, the Plaza, and E.M. Lowe’s Salem were fairly clustered together on the south side of lower Essex Street down toward Jerry’s Army & Navy.

The Paramount opened as a Publix Theater in 1928. It was designed as a classic movie palace with 2,187 seats. Its interior was Rococo style with a balcony. The side walls featured faux boxes, which actually housed lights to illuminate enormous murals in the manner of Watteau in tall arches behind the boxes. The two front boxes had curtains instead of murals. They hid away the giant Wirlitzer organ pipes. The screen was 85 feet long, which later became an equally long cinemascope screen. When the theater opened in 1928, it boasted air conditioning, a first. The balcony was originally designated as the smoking section. Seeing a movie in that grand old theater was an event. Phil Bloomberg was the owner/operator in that era. It was demolished in the 60s to make way for a parking garage, which had to be the folly of the decade. It would have made an extraordinary performing arts center.

The Empire Theater was already shuttered when I was a kid. It had 1,200 seats and had been used as a playhouse as for vaudeville in its time. I peered through the front doors when it was being demolished, and its interior was beautifully ornate.

The Plaza was actually the “New Plaza” built in 1917 with 750 seats to replace its predecessor, which had burned down. The Plaza had a Spanish motif interior. The orchestra floor had very little slope if any and was surprisingly small. The balcony was far larger than the downstairs, as it overlapped not only part of the main floor, but extended back as well over the lobby. This theater had deteriorated over the decades and was quite dingy and musty. It closed in the late 50s and never reopened. Its perpetual coming attraction was a David Frye Real Estate poster in its movie feature display by the ticket window.

E.M. Lowe’s Salem Theater was built in the early 50s and had 1,000 seats. By then the artisans had retired or died off, so movie theaters were no long grand in appearance with molded ceilings, lunnets, and filigree decoration. The Salem was instead a modern, plain vanilla movie house with nondescript wallpapered walls, a plain tile ceiling, and no balcony. I will concede that the seats moved forward on rails so that one could recline a bit. Despite its shortcomings, if it were still there (it burned down in the 90’s I believe), it would lord it over the multiplex shoeboxes that pass for “theaters” today with their screens slightly larger than television screens.

My mother told me that when she was a kid, there were two small silent picture theaters on Central Street, the Comique and the Nickelodian. Those had disappeared by the time I came along. There was also the larger Federal Theater which was a vaudeville house and showed some movies before closing. By the time I came along, it had long closed and been converted first into a bowling alley, and subsequently a First National supermarket. If memory serves, it was located on New Derby Street.

Now they’re all gone.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 1, 2005 at 10:24 am

Opened as the Ware Theatre on 8th December 1920, the original seating capacity was for 1,200. From the 1930’s until 1976 it was part of the E.M. Loew Circuit and was re-named Cabot Theatre sometime after 1950.

bunnyman on February 25, 2005 at 7:56 am

Thanks vandusen, but I swear there was another theatre at the opposite end of Essex St near the spot where there’s a corner park now. I’m not old enough to have gone to the Empire but I had been to the Paramount as a kid and I remember seeing many double features at the Salem.

mlemelin on February 24, 2005 at 12:28 pm

The three theaters in Salem were the Paramont, The Empire (on Essex Street next to where Jerry’s Army Navy is now)– an old vaudeville theater. That was torn down in the 50’s I believed, and replaced with the Salem Theater. All three are gone now, sadly – replaced with some ugly condos.

bunnyman on February 8, 2005 at 11:20 am

Thanks Ron
I wasn’t sure if the theatre was even there anymore. They did show movies there since I remember seeing ads all the time in local papers for its adult theatrr name ‘The Fine Arts.’

Next maybe you can help dredge up the name of the 3rd theatre that used to be in Salem MA (besides the current compact triplex beneath the garage.) I can recall the Salem Paramount which was demolished to build the garage, and also where I saw my first movie, EM Loews Salem which was a nice if nondescript house demolished to make way for condos. But there was a third one that I recall going to but can’t remember a name for. Likely gone for decades.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 7, 2005 at 7:32 am

That sounds like the Larcom Theatre, 13 Wallis Street, Beverly. They do have magic shows there, but I know nothing more. If it ever showed movies, it should get its own entry here.

bunnyman on January 27, 2005 at 12:12 pm

The owners of The Cabot also own or likely owned another theatre in Beverly whose name escapes me. For decades it was a minor blight in local papers since it was a porn house. The management of the Cabot tried to rehab it (must have been a job since it was twinned) and did the magic shows from there during weekdays. Anyone know the name of the place?