Arcade Theatre

1777 Acushnet Avenue,
New Bedford, MA 02746

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Baylies Square Theatre

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Arcade Theater

A lost theatre of New Bedford. Any information on its history would be appreciated.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on May 5, 2004 at 9:37 am

It’s listed as having been called the Baylies Square Theatre" at one time.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on April 8, 2005 at 8:30 pm

The address was actually 1777 Acushnet Avenue, not 177.

DickMorgan on July 29, 2005 at 7:49 am

I have never attended a movie at this theater but my impression was that the Arcade could be considered the Roadshow theatre of New Bedford. I remember Dr. Zhivago playing here on a reserved seat “hard ticket” run. I have vague memories of seeing advertisments in the Sunday Standard Times in regard to this theatres wide screen projection and sound. Does anyone have any info on this?

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 29, 2005 at 9:17 am

Interesting that roadshow-type films played here, way out in a neighborhood, rather than in or near downtown. That’s pretty much like the Elmwood in Providence. A gas station now occupies the spot that was once the Baylies Square/Arcade Theatre. I drove up there a few months ago looking for the spot.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on April 19, 2007 at 7:13 am

There is a MGM Theatre Photograph and Report form for this theatre when it was named the Baylies Square Theatre. There is a poor-quality exterior photo dated May 1941. The theatre had a distincitive facade with a rather small rectangular marquee. The name “Baylies Square” is at the top of the marquee and the attractions are “The Son of Monte Cristo” and Anne Neagle in “No No Nanette”. The Report says that the Baylies Square was at 1777 Acushnet Avenue, that it had been showing MGM films for over 10 years, that it was less than 15 years old (in 1941) and in Good condition. It had 1,200 seats, apparently all on one floor.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 22, 2007 at 4:09 am

From the 1990s (?) booklet The Avenue – Memories of Acushnet Avenue, by Carmen Maiocco:

A gentleman named Arcade Marcoux, Sr. opened the Baylies Square Theatre in 1922. The premiere offering was a silent feature called “Cops” and starring Buster Keaton. By the late 1930s, the motion picture industry was boooming while its predecessor, vaudeville, was on the ropes. Arcade Marcoux decided to buck the trend. Beginning in 1938, he brought in the best vaudeville had to offer. Every Saturday and Sunday night, during the 40 week vaudeville season that ran from fall to spring, comedians and dancers and French troupes down from Montreal lit up the stage. Throughout the 1940s, over 3,000 live acts appeared at the Baylies Square, with names like the Harmonioca Rascals, the Radio Rogues, and Sid Graumann’s Musical Stairs. The orchestra, which included a Hammond Organ, was directed by Pat Healy. People remember “Bank Night” at the theater where you could win cash prizes as part of a lottery, or “Dish Night” where the proprietors passed out dinner plates and sugar bowls – everybody tried to collect a complete set. In 1960, the Baylies Square underwent a major renovation and was renamed the Arcade. The first show in the reopened theater was Mike Todd’s Around the World in 80 Days starring David Niven. Throughout the sixties, hits like Spartacus and State Fair*and * The Fugitive Kind [i]packed them in. By the seventies the theaters at the malls had pretty much drained all the customers out of the cities. The Arcade suffered the ignominy of showing X-rated films. In February 1977 the Arcade Theater burned to the ground. The former Baylies Square Theater, New Bedford’s northernmost entertainment center, kept them rolling in the aisles for 55 years, and then was no more. There’s an A1 Express Lube station on the site today.

I decided to write a few lines about Arcade Marcoux simply because the man had an interesting name. Arcade Marcoux – is that a terrific French name, or what? Mr. Marcoux was born in St. Paul, Canada, in 1880. He came to America in 1922 and promptly opened the Baylies Square Theater. Soon thereafter Arcade Sr. was joined in the business by Arcade, Jr. The father and son team also operated a bowling alley just to the west of the theater, and at one time or another they ran a laundry, a package store, and an establishment called Champ Raceway. Both men were avid fishermen. Marcoux the elder died in 1956. Marcoux the son passed away in 1969.[/i]

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on July 7, 2010 at 10:23 am

Photos of the Arcade and other New Bedford theatres can be seen in this great set:
View link

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 16, 2010 at 11:25 am

As the “Ballies Square”, this theater is listed in the 1927 Film Daily Yearbook, with 1150 seats, open daily.

RogerA on January 17, 2011 at 6:32 pm

The Arcade theater was a road show house until it fell on hard times. It had a huge screen 70mm projectors and a full six channel sound system.

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