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Mystery Central Square Theater 3000 - EXCELSIOR, YOU FATHEAD!

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December 10th, 2007


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08:45 am - Mystery Central Square Theater 3000
Here's an amazing find: a "ghost ad" for a movie theater in Central Square. An enormous room before the Enormous Room, even.

Ghost of the Central Square Theatre (the enormous room before the Enormous Room)
click, enlarge, etc.

I saw this on Thursday night. They're renovating one of the stores around the 570 block of Mass. Ave in Cambridge, between the Central Kitchen and the Blockbuster. This is affixed to the old bricks inside (I took the shot outside, hence the reflections) but it's clear this used to be an external wall. I'm sure that once the store is renovated this will not be part of the interior design, as the store looks like it's going to be one of those froo-froo boo-teeks with an abundance of retail space right out of a Kubrick set, all white and brightly lit with small wooden objets d'art sparsely displayed on white cubes.

I really hope the ad will be covered over as it must have been before, and not torn down (it's actually attached to the bricks, and not in a frame or anything.) So if you're in the area and feel so inclined, see it while you can. Maybe you can make an arrangement with the building owner and have it removed as intact as it is. I'm not sure how easily one could store or display it, but it's certainly better to keep this around than it is to have it ignominiously scraped off a wall and discarded.

Note how the ad really emphasizes the fact that the theatre was air-conditioned, right down to the frosty letters on the logo. No more fanning yourself with your theater programs! That was a major selling point in the 1920s as large-scale air conditioning became readily available, though still a luxury.

EDIT: At first I was unsure which Central Square theater this poster was advertising, given that there were apparently three operating at one point in the square. However, after making a comment in the entry on Cinematreasures.org for what was once known as "Gordon's Central Square Theatre", it's been determined that this was indeed for that theater, as it was part of the M&P Theatres circuit in 1941. It was located two buildings down on the corner of Mass Ave and Norfolk Street (to the right of the Blockbuster) and stood until the 1960s until it was torn down. Nowadays the space is occupied by a liquor store, Indian market, and a parking lot behind it.

M&P Theatres was a local circuit that existed in the middle of the 20th century, which owned a great deal of local theaters, including the Metropolitan in downtown Boston, which later became the Wang Center (or whatever they're calling it these days.)

(10 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:metahacker
Date:December 10th, 2007 02:22 pm (UTC)
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retail space right out of a Kubrick set

Heh. Now my brain keeps flipping between _Eyes Wide Shut_, with completely nude salescritters, and _The Shining_, with creepy music rising every time you get near the sporting goods aisle.

Or maybe a drill sergeant barking at you. "Buy the slacks, maggot!"
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:December 10th, 2007 02:38 pm (UTC)
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Don't forget the dystopian Beethoven score by Wendy Carlos.
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:December 10th, 2007 03:33 pm (UTC)
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Seems to me it has to be the one you chose, because the other two did not have 'Central Square' in their name at all (they were called Olympia Theatre and Durrell Hall). I need to visit this location pronto before it goes away.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:December 10th, 2007 04:49 pm (UTC)
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Do make sure to visit; it's a great piece of Central Square history and honestly in decent condition for being probably 80 years old at this point. I do wonder what could be done to at least preserve it.

And KenRoe at Cinema Treasures has already identified the Gordon's theater as being part of M&P in 1941. Mystery solved! Woo hoo!
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:December 10th, 2007 06:14 pm (UTC)
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Cambridge Historical Commission would probably find this of immediate interest. Could you give them a call or an email today?
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:December 10th, 2007 08:40 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for the link. I've sent them an email. I said I didn't know if A. it had already been brought to its attention; B. if it really is in danger of being destroyed and C. if plans are already afoot to relocate it, but it didn't hurt to make mention of it.

We'll see what happens from ehre.
[User Picture]
From:deridere
Date:December 10th, 2007 06:49 pm (UTC)
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That is a pretty freaking cool piece o'Boston history right there.
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:December 11th, 2007 01:56 am (UTC)
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I just went by this location, which is 563 Mass. Ave, the storefront between Citibank and Blockbuster Video. Unfortunately it was night-time and the lights inside were off, so I couldn't see it very well.

But what I did notice is that there's more of the sign below your picture, largely hidden by a construction toolbox. The rest of the ad says something about sound, and (I think) about features changing on Wednesdays. Were you able to read any of this?
[User Picture]
From:terras
Date:December 11th, 2007 04:25 am (UTC)
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It's the ex-Coquette which is now possessing of a Stairway to Heaven (or at least the ceiling). There's a joke in there, but I can't seem to pull it off.

When I was walking by the storefront last week, I saw the poster and immediately thought "Alert Spatch!"
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:December 11th, 2007 01:11 pm (UTC)
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It's the ex-Coquette which is now possessing of a Stairway to Heaven (or at least the ceiling). There's a joke in there

and also a David Bowie lyric, I think, if you looked hard enough.

Edited at 2007-12-11 01:12 pm (UTC)

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