"The Movies" at The Provincetown Theatre

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Provincetown Theatre

Provincetown Theatre

Provincetown, MA

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"The Movies" at The Provincetown Theatre

The Provincetown Theatre, at 239 Commercial Street,
in Provincetown, Massachusetts, was built in 1919.
It had 614 seats, 441 on the main floor, and 173 in the balcony.

In May of 1941, it was listed as mainly a venue of MGM productions, and was Provincetown’s only venue for motion pictures. That would change into the 1950’s, as other cinematic theatres opened, and The Provincetown Theatre would screen productions from other studios. Collected information from various recollection of townies reveal that Universal Pictures screened many of their famous classic monster films there, including, “Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man” (1943), “The Creature From The Black Lagoon” (1954), and later on in the 1960’s, United Artists screened The Beatles first feature; “A Hard Day’s Night”, at The Provincetown Theatre.

By the 1970’s, the theatre was an independent art house theatre, known as “The Movies”, with Monte Rome managing. “The Movies” would screen classic films, as well as foreign films, and a cult film at midnight. A classic Warner Brothers Looney Tune or two would be screened before the feature.

On various summer evenings over the years in that 1970’s and 1980’s, I was fortunate enough to have watched more than a couple of classic Marx Brothers films at “The Movies”, and others as well, including Roman Polanski’s “MacBeth” (1971),
“The Story of O” (1975), Mel Brook’s “Silent Movie” (1976), and Monty Python’s “The Life of Brian” (1979). The most memorable experience I had at “The Movies”, was seeing David Lynch’s 1977 Cult Classic “Eraserhead” at a midnight screening. The psilocybin mushroom’s that our party ingested before the screening were completely unnecessary. If you haven’t seen it, “Eraserhead” is already like watching a hallucinogenic trip, and a disturbing one at that. The internet movie data base’s brief description of “Eraserhead”, is “Henry Spencer tries to survive his industrial environment, his angry girlfriend, and the unbearable screams of his newly born mutant child.”

“The Movies” had stopped operation by the mid-1980’s, and on February 10th, 1998, a fire at Whaler’s Wharf destroyed the entire building. The old Provincetown Theatre sign now rests, in a pile of pieces, on the shore of Provincetown Harbor..

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