With a variation on a theme à la Will Rogers, “I never met a movie theatre I didn’t like,” prior to 1970! And as much as the Adams Theatre on Adams St,.Dorchester, and the Wollaston Theatre on Beale St., Quincy, were my youthful homes away from home, both are gone (The Wolly is still standing but not active.).
That being said, I believe the RKO Keith Memorial Theatre on Washington St. in Boston was my all-time favorite film palace. Starting when I was six or seven, my oldest sister, Joan, always took me to Boston for my birthday to eat and to see a movie. I believe she took me until I became too big (or thought I had): at any rate it was my decision, not hers, much to my chagrin! I saw such films as Peter Pan, Song of the South and others in that palatial, ornate building with the high ceilings, glistening chandeliers, plush seats, and maroon rope gateways. I would always take a walk around (under the guise of going to the boys’ room), sneak under the maroon ropes, and go upstairs to the balconies, which were not open during the weekdays. The building was huge! I believe it remained an RKO theatre till the late 1970s, then Sacks bought it. I understand it has recently been renovated and restored, and is now the Boston Opera House, a venue for touring stage productions. If I ever get to Boston again, I’m sure I would walk by the building, just to see if the ghosts of movies past are around!
Yes, that was definitely my favorite movie theatre. How I wish I could go back in time and take my dear sister out to eat and to a movie, but alas, she died all too young. But she, and the RKO Keith Memorial Theatre, will never be forgotten!
P.S.: There was a period in the ’60s where I didn’t go to theatres to see the movies, they were known as the “drive-in years”, but that’s another story.
Bill Dunphy enjoys photography, cooking, reading, and, of course, movies–of which he has about 350 in his library.
What were some of your favorite movie theaters? Let us know in the comments!