Posts Tagged ‘cinema’

We were only able to drive past the West Shore Theatre in New Cumberland PA this past weekend, but I think I’ve developed a crush on this little movie house located just outside of Harrisburg.

West Shore Theatre(Who doesn’t love the sight of a family rushing towards an independent cinema on a Saturday night?)

In the 70+ years that this theater has been located on the west shore of the Susquehanna river it has had only had 2 owners in that entire time (the current owner bought it in the mid-1980’s).

A photo of the theatre from the 1940’s show that the exterior has been kept true to its original design, and the neon marquee as you can see is in fine form.

Prices are said to be reasonable, and nary a bad word about this cheery little can be found on any of the major review sights (though boo, their website has lapsed).

Click here to see a great photo of the West Shore taken in the daytime and notice the details, from the horizontal stripes, to the great font used on the marquee, the box office to the left, the circular windows in the doors. They sure don’t make ’em like they used to.

I’d love to make a trip back there to check out the interior, but from what I read and see, this place is a keeper already – RetroRoadmap stamp of approval!

The West Shore Theatre
317 Bridge Street
New Cumberland, PA 17070-2160
(717) 774-7160

PS- while turning around the RetroRoadmobile to photograph the theatre, we saw more neon across the street and got some cool vintage clothing at  Checkered Past!

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We all know that some old places just don’t make it, for various reasons, while others flourish and thrive. A perfect example of this can be seen in 2 theaters from my neck of the woods back home in Massachusetts, the Wollaston Theatre in Quincy, MA and not more than 10 miles away, the Coolidge Corner Cinema in Brookline, MA.

Filmmaker Justin Fielding was kind enough to let me share his short film about these 2 historic Boston area theatres, and seeing the Wollaston after not visiting it for so many years just breaks my heart.

I remember going to the “Wolly” a half dozen or so times before I moved away, and being absolutely fascinated by the history of the place (would you believe the Plasmatics played here?) and dismayed at the Haversham-esque dishevelment of the once grand space.

I asked Mr. Fielding to write a little something about the movie to share with Retro Roadmap Readers:

I make short films, features, and commercials with an ultra-low-budget production team called Castparty Productions, just south of Boston, MA.

In 2008, we signed up to do the International Documentary Challenge, in which you have five days to make a short, non-fiction movie. We decided to do a film about the long-shuttered Wollaston Theater, a beloved but decaying old movie house in the Quincy, MA neighborhood of the same name.

The proprietor, Arthur Chandler, showed up at the theater every day in what seemed to be — and, unfortunately, proved to be — a quixotic quest toward someday reopening the theater.

Mr. Chandler was very gracious, taking us on an extensive tour of the facility.

Fairly early in the process of developing the film, we got the idea to contrast “The Wolly” with the beautifully restored Coolidge Corner Theatre, in Brookline. Joe Zina, then-Executive Director of the non-profit Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation, gave us free run of the place and an interview that contrasted poignantly, I think, with Mr. Chandler’s.

Sadly, just a month after we shot A Tale of Two Cinemas Mr. Chandler passed away.

Since then, there have been attempts to re-open the theater, but they haven’t panned out, as yet. Local residents still hold out hope that some white knight will make Arthur Chandler’s — and their — dream of The Wolly re-opening a reality.

The world gets much poorer every time a classic moviehouse gets bulldozed to make way a parking lot or a chain store, and I hope our film might inspire someone to revive this little gem of a theater and stave off such a fate for it.

My current project, nearing the end of post-production — and I hope garnering some film-festival attention — is an irreverent slacker comedy called Inventory, about lazy furniture store clerks who are supposed to be counting merchandise. Along the way, they learn a lot about each other and themselves. It features a soundtrack stuffed with fantastic shoulda-been-hits by Beatlesque powerpop greats, including Shoes, Stackridge, and many more. We describe the film as The Breakfast Club meets Clerks, and we think it’s a whole lot of fun. Maybe you’ll agree….

Anyway, many thanks to Mod Betty for sharing A Tale of Two Cinemas with this cool retro-centric community!

Justin Fielding

If you want to save the Wollaston Theatre (like I do, when I win the lottery!) here’s where it is:

Wollaston Theatre (Closed)
14 Beale Street
Quincy, MA 02170

And if you want to visit the Coolidge Corner, which is still open, here’s the info!

Coolidge Corner Theatre
290 Harvard Street
Brookline, MA 02446-2917
(617) 734-2500

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Who can resist a timeless Christmas classic movie on the big screen, to get in that holiday mood? This Tuesday 11/30 The Roxy Theatre in Northampton PA is showing the 1947 version of Miracle on 34th Street, starring a wee Natalie Wood and my fave Maureen O’Hara. And it’s FREE with the donation of a non-perishable food item for the Northampton Food Bank.


I came to this movie late in my life, but can’t resist the story of a jaded little girl who just might start to believe in Christmas, with the help of an eccentric old man (Santa? See the movie and find out!)

If you want to check out the beautiful Roxy this is the time to do it,  as the theatre will be closed from Dec. 1st – 24th while they refinish the auditorium floor, install new seats and carpeting, and finish interior painting. They will reopen on Dec. 25th, Christmas day.

This show is presented by The Northampton Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Lehigh Valley Area Chamber of Commerce.

The show is at 7:30 PM
Doors open 7:00 PM

Roxy Theatre – Miracle on 34th Street 11/30
2004 Main St
Northampton, PA 18067-1314
(610) 262-7699

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The jewel in the crown of the downtown revitalization efforts of Phoenixville PA, the Colonial Theatre is truly a gem. Built in 1903 it has been a movie theater, a live theater and now shows a combination of independent films, classic movies and childrens programs, live music and more.

colonial theatre

Probably one of the most notable things about the Colonial is the decision made during the 1999 restoration process to not go back to the original 1903 version of the theatre facade, but instead replicate the striking 1950’s era yellow and black design. This facade is probably the most famous thing about the Colonial, as it features prominently in the 1958 horror/sci-fi/ kitschfest movie The Blob, where the frightened moviegoers stream hysterically out of the theatre with The Blob right behind them!

running of the blob colonal theatre phoenixville PA

A recreation of this pivotal scene (dubbed by me the Running of the Blob)  has now become one of the highlights of Blobfest, a celebration of said movie now in its 10th year (soon to have its own writeup!)

I am biased in my love for The Colonial Theatre, as it is within walking distance of our house and is a major reason why we live here. Much like my dedication to this blog/website, moving to this small town was a statement of support- not only for places like the Colonial but for towns like this that are trying to bring back that walkable, shop downtown, community vibe.

We aren’t the only ones to benefit from the Colonial Theatre, as  it also allows folks from the surrounding ‘burbs, to watch independent movies and classics on the big screen without having to make the traffic choked trek into Philadelphia. Nothing more exciting than being part of the line that wrapped down the sidewalk when “Slumdog” played here, and I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than nestled down in the dark catching up on a classic movie as it was meant to be seen – ON THE BIG SCREEN!

The facade is striking in its yellow and black contrasts, the marquee sets the street aglow at night, and the interior is charming movie theatre romantique- burgundy curtain, balcony and all. As I type this a pipe organ is even being installed!

colonial theatre phoenxville pa interior

Supported by members and volunteers, the Colonial Theatre is the star attraction in the Chester County PA area. Do yourself a favor and run don’t walk to the Colonial – Blob or not!

The Colonial Theatre
227 Bridge St
Phoenixville, PA 19460

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