Gem Theatre

1231 Main Street,
West Warwick, RI 02893

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Gem Theatre

This theatre was located in the Arctic section of West Warwick and served the local residents faithfully. It was in existence after the nearby Majestic Theatre had closed, but it closed long before the Palace Theatre, on the other side of the center, did. Full information about its years of operation and other pertinent facts would be welcome.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 1, 2005 at 1:27 am

In December of 1935 one of the Gem’s programs was the Astaire-Rogers musical Top Hat with a John Wayne oater Desert Trail and a Tom Mix serial. They were showing films in 1945, according to what I found on microfilm in the Pawtuxet Valley Times. By 1952 the ads had disappeared, but I have no proof about the last year of operation.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 7, 2005 at 11:17 pm

No ads seen for 1950 either. Right now I’m guessing the Gem closed in the late 1940s. As a matter of policy the theatre used to close during the summer months.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 7, 2005 at 11:43 pm

A 1927 city directory lists four town theatres: Majestic, Gem, Palace, Thornton’s. I have found newspaper ads for all except the Majestic. Also, the Star, in the Natick section of West Warwick, remains a mysterious early-silent-era cinema.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 11, 2005 at 12:33 pm

The Gem is said to have been in the St. Onge Block on Main Street.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 11, 2005 at 12:48 pm

I have found newspaper ads for all these theatres. The Gem and the Majestic shared ads in the WWI era, two columns, one for each theatre. The ads I found for the Gem went from 1915 to 1948. I found no ads for 1950 or later. That gives a rough idea of when the theatre operated. Here are local newspaper ads for the Gem, Majestic, and Thornton’s on March 14, 1918.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 22, 2005 at 11:31 am

The Gem Theatre was opened by the brothers Coit and Drew Carson, who had run the nearby Majestic Theatre on lease from that theatre’s owner Joseph Archambault.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 22, 2005 at 11:41 am

In the Film Daily Yearbook’s 1940 and 1943 the Gem Theatre is listed as ‘Closed’ with a seating capacity of 850.

In the 1950 edition of F.D.Y. it is listed with 650 seats.

Roland L.
Roland L. on July 23, 2005 at 3:13 am

I just love reading about the turn of the century theaters and their transformation to movie houses.

What I found particularly interesting was the newspaper ad for the Thornton Theater. The ad states the fee of .10c and .01c for War Tax. WWI, that is as Stolen Hours came out in 1918!!

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 25, 2010 at 3:18 am

Item in Boxoffice magazine, September 18, 1937:

“The Gem, Arctic, reopened September 5
under management of the West Warwick Theatre Co. Frank O'Neil of Riverpoint is house manager and duals will be the policy.”

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 15, 2011 at 4:50 am

In September 1926, this theatre was part of the eleven-theatre Celebrate Paramount Week.
Newspaper ad.

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