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“Gremlins” & “Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom”
The Playhouse Theatre, 1850 Central Ave., photographed July 1, 2021 by Bill DeYoung.
Youtube link to “Lon Chaney After Midnight”,with it’s reference to the Silent Movie Theatre:
From “Building Provincetown”;
A decade after remaking the old Congregational church at 256-258 Commercial Street into the Art Cinema in 1954,
George I. Shafir of New York set out to build a movie theater
from the ground up: the New Art Cinema, reached through an arcade of shops housed in substantively altered older structures.
The shops opened in 1966 and the theater followed slightly later.
In 2006, the New Art Cinema became the Art House, a venue for live performances, associated until 2008 with Theatre Go Round.
John G. Edwards commented on ‘Building Provincetown’ on wordpress.com:
“When we tore out the old bowling alley to make a store, I was told that the building was built as a theater for stage plays.
When the movie theater was put in, they extended the building forward to allow the projectionist to be behind the balcony.
He was apparently partly in the roof, which had an addition for him. There were some old props and canvas backgrounds.
The rear of the building was a house that was floated from the point.”
The false front of this building looks nothing like its neighbors. That’s because it was built in 1910 as the Star Theater,
the town’s ﬁrst movie house.
The proprietor was Albert Zerbone, followed by Frank Knowles Atkins.
In time, it was converted into the Bowlaway bowling alley.
Craig Russell poses in front of the Provincetown’s Art Cinema
in 1977, for the world premier of “Outrageous”.
The date of release for “Wee Geordie” in the United States,is listed on internet movie data base as October 7th, 1956.
In 1984, The Franklin Theater,
under Bill Davison’s management since 1957,
gave up on showing movies,
after sixty years of dedication to bringing the best films
to Durham at reasonable prices.
The building has been a ballroom-bar called
the Franklin Ballroom since then, but in 1985 it is being converted into a multipurpose fitness club
and nonalcoholic bar and lunch room by the Clark brothers.
With more than 600 seats, the Provincetown Theater was a
coming-of-age statement for the town when it opened in 1919.
It looked like a big-city cinema, a solid work of masonry
in a town of lumber, unabashed in identifying itself
in big chiseled letters under the exterior proscenium arch.
In its early years, the theater was a franchisee of
First National Pictures, one of the most powerful studios
of its day.
The house was used for other programs as well,
including at least one appearance by Donald B. MacMillan,
who showed his movies of the Arctic in 1925.
During its heyday, the Provincetown Theater
was owned and run by Victor M. Lewis, a powerful businessman.
He was also the proprietor of Lewis’s New York Store
on what is now Lopes Square.
In 1931, on the petition of more than 500 residents,
the Selectmen allowed Lewis to show movies on — gasp! —
The projectionist for many of these years was
Antone Joseph Viera, who had also worked at the Star Theater.
Just how important the theater was to the off-season life
of the town became apparent in October 1943
with the closure of the nearby Colonial Cold Storage plant, which had provided heat for the theater in the fall,
winter and early spring.
The Advocate mournfully announced that “the Cape End will be deprived of its only public form of entertainment.”
Lewis managed to find an alternate heating source in time for a March 1944 reopening.
In 1973 Dale Elmer bought the old theater and combined it with the Handcrafter next door, at No. 241, which he had purchased in 1963, to create Whaler’s Wharf, a kind of artisans’ collective and craft market that was set up in what had been the orchestra level of the auditorium.
Meanwhile, the old balcony was partitioned off and retained
as a cinema, now called The Movies.
The proprietor, Monte Rome, also ran the Metro Cinema in the former Congregational Church of the Pilgrims.
Movies may have been the least of the experience at The Movies. Dennis Dermody, who once managed the theater,
wrote of it in 1997 for Provincetown Arts:
“I not only hired the handicapped, I made a point of only hiring alcoholics, drug addicts, the mentally unstable and children who smoked. … I then proceeded to create a manifesto of how we would all work there. Our creed: ‘One. The customer is never right.’ And two: ‘If anything goes wrong, just leave the theater.’ …
“Our projectionist had a bit of a drug problem, so you never knew what was going to happen. One night I stepped from my manager’s office/cocktail lounge to find, for some reason, Children of Paradise being projected on the ceiling. (What astonished me was that the audience was patiently leaning way back in their seats, just taking it for granted they should be reading subtitles over the exit sign.) …
“But these were wonderful times. There was the sweet thrill of coming to work on nights that we showed Bertolucci’s
The Conformist, Altman’s Thieves Like Us, Malick’s Badlands or Cocteau’s Orpheus. Just sitting at the top of those stairs, basking in those images — while the audience used their movie schedules as makeshift fans — was so wonderful on those humid, airless nights. So what if the ticket taker had passed out and was slumped over the counter, or the concession stand boy was sneaking his friends up the back exit or the projectionist was speaking in tongues and had his clothes on backwards. There was magic in the air.”
That magic came to an end in the 1980s, when the theater closed and the balcony was converted into use as a storage space for the Whaler’s Wharf shops. But the 20 or shops kept the old theater lively. And cheap space at Whaler’s Wharf helped the artists and artisans. Elmer would rent by the square foot. “If you only needed 10 square feet, you could get it,” the architect Regina Binder recalled.