Stoneham Theatre

395 Main Street,
Stoneham, MA 02180

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Retro_Woman on October 14, 2017 at 9:30 pm

My grandparents briefly owned this theater in the late 60s (68-69). They only owned it for a couple of years and actually may have bought it from the grouchy guy others have mentioned. I believe they were the last people to own it and run it as a movie theater before it was closed and was vacant for all those years. The Redstone Theater which was fairly new and more modern hurt their business so they decided to sell it. And maybe the Woburn Showcase had just opened as well (not sure). I remember as a little kid having my own seat up in the balcony and specifically watching The Jungle Book, and vaguely remember getting to go into the projection booth. I also remember my mother, who worked the candy counter, getting upset with me for giving away candy to kids at the matinee show when she wasn’t looking. Vague but good memories of that theater. Glad that it was eventually rehabbed and given new life.

dc025dc025 on July 31, 2017 at 9:29 pm

I was thrown out of this theatre in the early sixties for being too loud during the showing of King of King…a movie soon after Ben Hur.It must have been angry Oscar!! My father counted movie attendence with a hand held counter around the same time. This theater had a very short life showing pornos when it was not being used in the 70’s The towns people were up in arms. I recall a woman named June McTaggart who was part of the witch hunt! No one would go because they were afraid of being spotted!!

DENNISMAHANEY1 on September 7, 2016 at 3:38 pm

Looking at the photos and the info on this page I am kicking myself now at 73 living in ABQ. never visited it, for I was once the young manager of the CINEMA at REDSTONE opened it and love that theater it was my first as a theater manger, retired now but will always love not just movie but all theaters thank you all of the STONEHAM area that help me with my career on the site CINEMA TREASURE for CINEMA REDSTONE you may see a photo of the first staff pray they all did well for the sure made my job easy much blessings DENNIS J. MAHANEY

MrDJDude on December 15, 2010 at 11:30 am

Anything concerning the Stoneham Cinema that was in Redstone Plaza should now go on this page:

MrDJDude on December 15, 2010 at 9:50 am

I have submitted a page for the Stoneham Cinema that was at Redstone Plaza; once it is active I will post a link here for people to follow.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 13, 2010 at 1:49 pm

The Stoneham Theatre is listed in the 1927 Film Daily Yearbook as having 700 seats and open 6 days per week. Also listed is a Strand Theatre with 375 seats, open 6 days per week.

TLSLOEWS on June 21, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Great photo as always Don.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on June 20, 2010 at 10:22 pm

From 1936 an image of the Stoneham Theatre in Stoneham Square.

4redstone on March 11, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Thanks for the Redstone Pic Father Nature. Not at all as I remembered it.
The last movie I saw in the Redstone Theater was Men at Work. According to a friend, the last movie he saw there was Ghost. These were both 1990 movies and it took quite a while for movies to come to Redstone, so I’m quite sure the theater was open until then.
If memory serves, the theater sat in the back of the strip plaza on the Caldor/Woolworth side surrounded by parking lots. Behind it was a hill covered in overgrowth that rose up to the residential neighborhood where I grew up. We used to cut through some neighbors’ yards to the top of this hill, and down a path to the parking lot where the theater was. I remember when they demoed the theater to make way for Shaws. When we pulled the brush aside at the top of the hill where we could stand and look down on Redstone, pile of red cushioned seats that had been ripped out of the theater seemed to be as high as the hill we were standing on. Again, the picture of Redstone seemed almost foreign to me, so who knows how big the pile really was.
“Kick Buttowski â€" Suburban Daredevil” a Disney Cartoon created by a Stoneham native will reference Redstone this upcoming season.
As for the theater in the square, I grew up in Stoneham in the 80s, and until the renovation I do not recall a time when that theater was ever open.

fredosaurus on January 16, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Great stuff from Father Nature and everybody! Here are some of my memories of the Stoneham Theater from the 1960’s:

The owner, Mr. Zaltman, was indeed a curmudgeon upon whom was bestowed the universally known moniker, “Oscar.” Naturally the theater was dubbed “Oscar’s Palace” and his wife, another grumpleton who ran the candy stand, was “OscarLady.”

During the movie Oscar would ceaselessly patrol up and down the aisles seeking out miscreants while clutching a flashlight in one hand and chomping on his ever-present cigar. It became a badge of honor to have him evict you from the premises, marching your proudly defiant butt up the aisle to the cheers of the assembled multitude.

Once local tv kid-show host, Major Mud (remember IBBY?) made a personal appearance there. My friend and I decided to intercept him to try and steal some private time with the Major. We stationed ourselves on our bikes in front of the narrow alley that runs from the front of the theater on Main St. to the backstage entrance. Sure enough, after awhile we see a guy coming up Main Street from the direction of the Gloucester Fish Market. He’s wearing a trenchcoat and a hat but below the coat his trademark green spacesuit with piping on the sides was a clear giveaway. As he approaches he becomes noticeably chagrined, realizing that these little snipes on sting rays are blocking his designated route to the theater. He mutters an obligatory greeting but clearly is not sharing our enthusiasm over the encounter. Meanwhile, down the alley, Oscar has appeared and is waving frantically for the Major to make his way to the back door — but we’re not moving. Finally, the Major, realizing the hopelessness of his situation, pleads to us: “Guys, can you give me a break? I’m just trying to make a living.” The day won, we let him pass.

Michelle66 on May 29, 2009 at 1:34 am

A few posts up, Theatre Projectionist could not remember what was in the former Caldor/Ames building at Redstone.

Before Caldor (and then Ames), the store there was Gilcrist’s (my mom worked there in the mid-70’s when they had their going-out-of-business sale).

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 14, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Thanks to Father Nature for setting up his on-line display. Lots of interesting stuff, especially the old ads.

K9Lotto on April 9, 2009 at 4:11 pm

Hello again. I am sorry it took so long to add this information to the Internet for you. Here are some ads for the Stoneham Theatre from November 3, 1917 when it was first opened. I have also added information about two other Movie Houses that were operating in Stoneham, the Old Armory was the first to show movies in 1906. Then came the Central Theatre in 1916. Stoneham Theatre opened in 1917. In 1917 all three Movie Houses were showing movies.

I hope you enjoy this information.

Here is the web page: View link

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 13, 2008 at 12:33 pm

Father Nature- thanks for posting the photo of the marquee of the Stoneham Cinema. That’s all you need to Add a Theater here in C.T. is the street it was on, the Zip Code if you know it, the number of screens, the approximate seating capacity, the years it opened and closed. Plus, who ran it and what’s there now.

theatreprojectionist on April 13, 2008 at 10:30 am

That picture conjures up memories I had forgotton. I forgot that Star Market was even there (probably the anchor store). I do remember Woolworths on the left, but I can’t recall what was in the building to the left of Woolworth’s (now an abandoned Ames—formerly Caldors). Thanks, Father Nature for posting that photo.

I was a projectionist there from 1979 to 1984. Around 1985 or so, GCC sold it to Bill Haney, who I think operated some other theatres in that era. I think the cinema closed by 1990.

K9Lotto on April 12, 2008 at 10:06 pm

Hi Ron, I do not have much on the Stoneham Cinema. I will attempt to get more of a history and start a listing seperate from this one on the Cinema. This will be my last post re the Cinema. I have a lot of information on Stoneham Theatres to share, I just have to go through the garage. Warmer weather is back and I am beginning to look through some old trunks. I found this photo today of the Stoneham Cinema Marque I took in 1985. It must have closed shortly after this.

Stoneham Cinema Marque

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on March 15, 2008 at 12:26 pm

To Father Nature et. al. – please consider creating a page here in CT for the Stoneham Cinema, if you have enough info for the basics.

K9Lotto on March 14, 2008 at 1:20 pm

Now I am really curious.. I will look into it more. I joined the service in 1983 and came back home in 1993 so my history is a little weak during that time.

I did find a listing of General Cinemas from 1983 that does list is as active.. It may depend on finding out what year it became a Shaw’s Supermarket.

Does this look familiar?
View link
Refreshments Anyone?

Not to take away from the Stoneham Theatre thread here.. To make up for this side bar discussion I will post some of the historical info and photos I have on the Stoneham Theatre from 1917, and the other two movie theatres that were already active in Stoneham at that time.

parktheatre on March 14, 2008 at 12:57 pm

The footprint of the Stomeham Cinema in now a Shaws supermarket at the back of the shopping plaza.

parktheatre on March 14, 2008 at 12:55 pm

The Redstone shopping center marquee, as I recall, outlived the cinema operation itself. So although I don’t dispute Ian’s assertion about the message on the marquee in 1994, I do believe—I could be wrong—the theatre closed sometime between 1985 and 1990.

I am grateful to Father Nature for letting us know it was once a bowling alley. I always figured it was built for some other purpose, but I didn’t know the story.

br91975 on March 14, 2008 at 12:45 pm

I trust Ian as well. I passed by the Stoneham Cinema once, in the summer of 1987; ‘Spaceballs’ and ‘The Witches of Eastwick’ were the titles on the roadside marquee. I’m sure any hint of the space the cinema occupied within the shopping plaza building disappeared long ago.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on March 14, 2008 at 12:21 pm

I trust Ian, who says that he saw it open as late as 1993. We’d have to look at old Boston Globe movie ads to be sure.

K9Lotto on March 14, 2008 at 11:43 am

The Stoneham Cinema was originally a duck-pin bowling alley converted into a Cinema. I remember riding my StingRay bike there and bowling at 25 cents a string. It was priginally a single cinema, then split down the middle to create two movie areas.

I have to agree with Ron, I think the cinema was closed down by 1980. I am not sure, but it was not open into the 90’s. It would be interesting know now, it has been so many years.

I still have about 40 very large lobby cards (movie posters) from the 60’s that the manager gave me. He wouldn’t give me the “Girly” I was only about 14. But he did give me some real classics. Gone With The Wind (Re-Release), Dirty Dozen, The Detective, The Good The Bad & The Ugly, The Green Berets..

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on March 14, 2008 at 7:08 am

You’ll need to add it.