35 Cottage Street,
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Criterion Theatre (Official)
Firms: Bunker & Savage
Functions: Live Performances, Movies (First Run)
Styles: Art Deco
The Criterion Theatre is a glorious, well-preserved Art Deco style theatre, located in the heart of downtown Bar Harbor.
Opening in 1932, it has served the town of Bar Harbor as a movie palace ever since, accomodating such prominent families as the Rockefellers on their vacations to nearby Mount Desert Island.
Kept in fantastic condition over the years, the theatre still has most of its original interior: seats, curtains, and even the original lighting board for stage performances. The Criterion Theatre also contains a floating balcony, which is rare for most movie palaces.
A true gem!!
Sadly closed in early-summer of 2011, it was reopened May 28, 2015.
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Recent comments (view all 16 comments)
Robert A. Mitchell was a noted authority on motion picture projection. He was the technical editor of International Projectionist magazine as well as the author of Mitchell’s Manual of Practical Projection. I believe he was from Bar Harbor, Maine and died in 1965.
I was wondering if you know of this man?
From the photos above, it appears that the theatre’s marquee was nicely refurbished sometime between 2006 and 2009. I imagine it was done for the 2007 season, which marked the 75th Anniversary of the Criterion’s opening. This would explain the addition of the “1932” at the crown of the marquee’s main facing.
Very Very Nice,Thanks Ed.
Sad news i had friends that where in Bar Harbor two weeks ago they told me the Criterion has closed.
Ugh! That is awful! And with the summer tourist season coming up? I always hoped to get back up there and actually catch a flick. As long as it’s still standing, I suppose there is hope.
The theater actually closed early last summer.
It was open the first week of September 2012 anyways! I was so disappointed it had been closed last time I was there. A little searching on Maine websites says it re-opened in July 2012 .. but still in some dispute ..link to story: http://fenceviewer.com/site/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=75458:criterion-to-reopen&Itemid=941
The Theatre Historical Society on-line archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the Criterion; it’s Card # 338. Address is Cottage St. There is an exterior photo dated Jan. 31, 1941. Condition is Excellent. The report says the theater opened in 1932 and was showing MGM movies. There were 813 seats on the main floor and 125 seats in the loges, total 938.The 1940 population was 4,300.
The 1932 Criterion Theatre in Bar Harbor, Maine is still in full swing, with movies and live shows presented year-round. We are open 7 days a week between Memorial Day and Columbus Day, and 4 days a week during the off-season (Thurs-Sun). Stop by from 9am-5pm M-F for a free tour!
George C. McKay at one time owned both the Criterion & Star Theatres in Bar Harbor. 1934 program added courtesy Ed Dillon.