Cameo Theater

63 Main Street,
Brewster, NY 10509

Unfavorite 3 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 35 comments

Brewsterbendi on August 18, 2017 at 3:47 am

@filmbuffNY I’m interested in that Morini story. Where can I read more?

ErosCestLaVie on April 20, 2016 at 9:28 pm

ChrisJNJ not sure if you’re a local, but I have become increasingly aware of the importance of this place. If you have any connection or know people who do, please direct them to the page and have them share their memories of Putnam County’s oldest theater.

ErosCestLaVie on April 20, 2016 at 9:26 pm

Did you know the Cameo is the first movies theater in Putnam County? It is. The Cameo is great.

The Village of Brewster has ignored the historical significance of this place for too long. Private individuals may also have ignored the personal and cultural significance of this place, as well. If you support the preservation of the Cameo, please direct your attention here:

The more names, faces, and stories we get, the better.

ChrisJNJ on December 28, 2013 at 2:22 am

I have been researching potential grants from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This building can be saved. The question is, are there enough interested parties in joining an effort to restore this building. I do not know the gentleman who owns the building or what his intentions are. But the building is useless as his. Can anyone share the exact history of the transaction? He purchased the building for 195K then was granted 100K and did nothing with it? Please share.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 5, 2013 at 10:53 pm

The Putnam County Courier of Thursday, April 29, 1939, said that the new Cameo Theatre in Brewster would open at eight o'clock the following night.

cybermoz on March 31, 2013 at 3:21 am

– The Cameo Theater, Putnam County’s first movie house, was built in 1939 and served the community until 1997. In 2000, the darkened theater was purchased by a local developer to forestall its demolition. His original intent was to renovate the 6,500-square foot building and lease it to an experienced theater operator, but he was unable to find a suitable tenant. The interior of the structure has deteriorated to the point where rehabilitation may be cost-prohibitive.

mverdoux on November 15, 2011 at 2:14 pm

My first encounter with the Cameo was when it was one glorious screen. My Father took me to see both STAR WARS and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK on that single screen. Later when it became two screens I went there and saw all three BACK TO THE FUTURE films, ROCKY IV, MIDNIGHT RUN, HOWARD THE DUCK, STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME, RAIN MAN, INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE, DICK TRACY, DEAD POETS SOCIETY and SCENT OF A WOMAN. It’s so very sad to see it sit dormant. I fear it will be torn down, just like the Plaza in Scarsdale, where I’m from originally.

kencmcintyre on March 16, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Here is an article about the Cameo from Boxoffice magazine in November 1939:

FilmBuffNY on August 5, 2009 at 2:18 pm

If you want to contact Morini, or want to tell him what you think of the abandoned theater or ask where the $100K that was supposed to go to the theater went, his website and email are here:

FilmBuffNY on August 5, 2009 at 1:26 pm

GC, don’t bother.“Morini purchased the Cameo in September 2000 from Southeast resident Denise Quinn for $195,000”. Morini, who was also the broker at the time, rejected higher offers from buyers and groups who had plans to do great things with it for the community, but never submitted them to the owner Denise Quinn, so he could purchase it himself at a lower price. Like all the other property he owns in town, he is just sitting on it until he can profit enough from it. He’s the one renting the tiny apts to large groups of day laborers that you see hanging around on the streets in town.

shoeshoe14 on July 2, 2007 at 6:13 pm

Last news was from 2 years ago in this comments section re: $200,000 to rehab it. I passed it a few weeks ago and it’s still dormant.

CGCochrane on June 30, 2007 at 9:09 am

I am interested in this theater and its potential in the community. Does anyone know the status of the theater and who I can contact about it?
Thanks so much

Jeffrey1955 on May 1, 2007 at 8:57 pm

I recall the Cameo being $1 through the 70s and into the 80s as well.

DamienB on April 30, 2007 at 4:57 pm

In the mid-1970s, the Cameo was a dollar house. I don’t recall how long this policy remained, but I used to drive from New Milford tp go here, and recall seeing Carrie, Burnt Offerings and Fast Break. The art deco appointments were still beautiful and in fine shape at the time, and every time I go by the Cameo it breaks my heart.

Jeffrey1955 on July 20, 2006 at 7:34 am

Outside of Brewster theater to receive face-lift

(Original publication: July 18, 2006)

BREWSTER â€" The restoration of the Cameo Theater, a darkened Main Street movie house, was meant to be a beacon in the village’s revitalization efforts.

But for now, only the cinema’s exterior and an adjacent playhouse will be renovated with state grant money awarded more than a year ago, officials said. The interior will be “warehoused” for future work, leaving the once-popular double-screen theater pretty outside but empty inside.

“The economic conditions in the movie industry and in the village are such that we, unfortunately, won’t be able to open the Cameo at this time,” said Robert Morini, principal of Cameo Brewster LLC. “That doesn’t mean the theater won’t open again.”

Morini said he was unable to find a tenant, either a movie-theater operator or a not-for-profit organization, but is hopeful that one will come forward soon. Potential uses for the 6,564-square-foot site include a venue for live theater and cultural performances or a movie house featuring specialty or artistic films.

The Cameo is the anchor in a $200,000 grant presented in January 2005 to the Putnam County Economic Development Corporation by the state’s Main Street Program, a division of the New York State Housing Trust Corp. The Cameo’s portion was limited to $100,000, contingent upon the owner matching it with $300,000 of his own money. Morini can spend less than that and still access some of the state grant money. For every $3 he spends, the grant will give him $1.

The remaining $100,000 will provide $50,000 for rehabilitating the former post office at 20-30 Main St., $25,000 for streetscape enhancements and $25,000 for fixing the facades of several Main Street buildings. Those improvements are now in varying stages of execution and require that owners provide matching funds.

Morini said it would cost between $750,000 and $1 million to restore the entire Cameo Theater. At this point, he has hired an architect and is uncertain how much it will cost to refurbish the building’s facade, including the marquee, and the Cameo Playhouse, he said.

It is expected that the playhouse, a small retail space, will be used by the village’s new constabulary force for its base of operations. Constables, meant to address quality-of-life issues in the half-square-mile village, reported for duty Thursday. The office will be leased to the village for a sum of probably $1 a year, village Treasurer Michael Santos said.

“It looked to me like the entire effort was going to fail,” Mayor John Degnan said at a recent Team Brewster meeting. “There were difficulties with the anchor, but we found ways to compromise with a phased renovation of the facade and using the playhouse for the constables.”

The grant must be used by early 2008, said Elizabeth Duffy-Rau, the county’s project coordinator.

Morini purchased the Cameo in September 2000 from Southeast resident Denise Quinn for $195,000. The Cameo was built in 1939 and was a 525-seat single-screen cinema until it was converted into twin theaters in the 1970s. The theater went dark in 1997.

Copyright 2006 The Journal News, a Gannett Co. Inc. newspaper serving Westchester, Rockland and Putnam Counties in New York.

PKoch on December 13, 2005 at 1:46 pm

Yes ! As a bearded Larry Hagman (?) once said on “Laugh-in” in 1968 :

“What this show (page)needs is more pregnant pathos !”

Thanks, Lost Memory, for posting the link to the photo.

Jeffrey1955 on December 13, 2005 at 11:30 am

Ow! I’m hoping the rain on the lens makes it look even more pathetic than it actually is.

PKoch on December 5, 2005 at 10:18 am

Thanks, Jeffrey1955. Good seeing you on this page as well.

Sadly, the friends of my wife and myself that once lived in Brewster are now divorced, the man now living across the Hudson in Ramapo, NY, and the woman re-married, and living in Perrysburg, Ohio.

Jeffrey1955 on December 4, 2005 at 8:31 pm

There seems to still be hope for this. This passage appeared as part of a larger article on Brewster day laborers in The Journal News on Dec. 3:

In recent years, Brewster has embarked on capital projects to revitalize the business community, including a massive $38.2 million undertaking to build a new wastewater treatment plant and extend sewer lines throughout the village. That project is nearing completion. This year, the village was awarded a $200,000 grant to restore the Cameo Theater and other storefront facades and for streetscape enhancements.

PKoch on October 18, 2005 at 12:56 pm

Hi, Karl Bernstein, good to see you here on “Cinema Treasures” as well as Paul Matus' “My Recollection” and “SubTalk” of !

shoeshoe14 on October 17, 2005 at 3:22 pm

It was posted the other day. /theaters/14143/

Louella on October 17, 2005 at 3:15 pm

My parents had a summer house in Shenorock (Somers). The area was not yet suburban and was quite rural. We kids, back in the 50’s, would got to the Cameo on Saturday nights. I still remember the phone number was BRewster 9-3688. Funny how memories stick with you. We also went to the movies in Carmel where the theater looked like an old quonset hut. Anybody rememeber the name of that one???

shoeshoe14 on October 13, 2005 at 9:46 am

From the front page of CinemaTreasures.

BREWSTER, NY â€" The Southeast Museum will present as part of it’s Lecture Series ‘The History Of Brewster’s Cameo Theatre’ on Saturday November 5th at 3pm.

Professor Michael Jacobs of Berkeley College will present the lecture giving the history of this historical Art Deco theatre that opened in June of 1939 with the showing of “The Young Mr Lincoln”. More that 600 people attended the gala opening.

There will be a discussion of the many films shown at the theatre over the years and plans for the future of this unique movie house.

The Southeast Museum is located at 67 Main Street in the Village of Brewster, NY. Museum hours are Tuesday-Saturday 10am – 4pm. For further information please contact the museum at (845) 279-7500.

shoeshoe14 on October 3, 2005 at 11:21 am

Letter to the editor re: the grant and the Cameo in the 9/28 issue of the NY Journal News. View link

Fix up theater or tear it down

This past summer, my wife and I drove through a number of small towns in upper New York state and Pennsylvania. Many of the towns had obviously seen better days, but they were at least trying to keep up appearances.

Then we returned to Brewster, and the first thing that struck us was the dilapidated marquee and faCade of the Cameo theater. This blot on the village says a great deal about us. It says that Brewster doesn’t care about itself anymore, that it is content to allow garbage â€" for the Cameo is nothing more than that at this point â€" to litter Main Street. It says that we’re not interested in attracting new business to Brewster, for what business would want to locate itself anywhere near or around the Cameo? It says our officials â€" both village and town â€" are indifferent to or incapable of dealing with this embarrassment.

Is there an elected official willing to stand up and say to the owner of the Cameo: Fix it up or tear it down â€" and if you won’t do it, we’ll do it for you and send you the bill.

Yes, I’ve heard that Brewster is supposed to get a grant from New York state to fix up the Cameo. I don’t know if or when that grant is supposed to come through, but I do know that in the meantime we have to see this seedy hulk every time we enter the village.

Have we no pride?

AJ Vogl , Brewster

lopez on August 18, 2005 at 7:39 am

Screen was originally a single, twinned down the middle. Was designed by the same architect as the theatre I book, the Avon in Stamford, CT. Both opened within a month of one another and closed down right around the same time. Hope to see it saved, however, the somewhat downtrodden strip on which it is located will make it difficult.