Loew-Poli Palace Theatre
99 W. Main Street,
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Architects: Arland W. Johnson
Previous Names: Community Playhouse, Poli's Palace Theatre, Poli Palace Theatre, Fine Arts Theatre
The Community Playhouse was built as a live theatre in 1921 and was designed by New York based architect Arland W. Johnson. All seating (over 1,700) was on a single floor. On August 11, 1924 it opened as a movie theatre, renamed Poli’s Palace Theatre with Gloria Swanson in “Manhandled”. By around 1929 it was equipped for sound movies and had been renamed Poli Palace Theatre. It was taken over by Loew’s-Poli and was renamed Loew-Poli Palace Theatre. It was closed on June 5, 1960. It reopened sporadically and often was used for movies, but finally closed in 1962.
It was the finest of the “classic” theatres in Meriden, CT, to have been demolished. I don’t recall that much about it, as my one and only visit there was in 1962 to see Sean Connery in “Dr. No”. I remember the place was very ornate, cavernous. The ceiling had a circular opening and some sort of chandelier or blue lights in the form of stars.
On December 4, 1963 it was reopened as the Fine Arts Theatre, screening art house movies, but suddenly closed on March 3, 1964. It was demolished in 1967. The lot has remained vacant for over 50 years!
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