Princess Theatre, circa 1944
- Princess Theatre, circa 1944
- Wakefield Municipal Gas & Light Department (Wakefield, Mass.)
- D'Onofrio, Jayne M.
- Lucius Beebe Memorial Library
- Collection (local):
Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department calendars
Motion picture theaters
Massachusetts > Middlesex (county) > Wakefield
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[Wakefield, Mass.] :
Wakefield Municipal Gas & Light Department
Information about this item was supplied by NOBLE Digital Heritage.
"The Princess Theatre opened for business on Mechanic Street (later Princess Street) on October 5, 1912 under the ownership of Charles W. Hodgdon. The building was previously used for storage and once housed a mattress factory owned by Thomas E. Staples. Using equipment he purchased from the owners of the former Premier Theatre, Hodgdon began operations and by 1914, the Princess theatre was showing moving pictures as well as presenting 'drama.' During that time, state law required five minutes of music or vaudeville for every 20 minutes of film to avoid a harmful effect on the eyes from the flicker of the film (so-called for the jerky film sequences). It is reported that W.C. Field [i.e. Fields] and Fred Allen appeared at the Princess on their way to stardom. Hodgdon leased the Wakefield Theatre in 1916, keeping it open throughout the year while closing the Princess Theatre during the summer. Since theatres could not have commercial showings on Sunday, several local organizations, civic groups and other associations were given special permits to sponsor one Sunday movie each year. On March 14, 1930, Wakefield residents voted 1225-1173 to allow commercial showings on Sunday, with each program to be approved weekly by the Board of Selectmen. A blanket approval was granted on February 6, 1934. In 1938, the Princess Theatre underwent a complete remodeling and modernization, making it one of the most beautiful and finest theaters in the area. The Theatre reopened in October, 1938, with 'Letter of Introduction' starring Edgar Bergen, Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd. The Princess Theatre was closed for a short time during World War II due to 'lack of employees' only to reopen six weeks after the end of the war. At the time, a two-feature move cost $.35 per ticket. The Princess Theatre was air conditioned in 1946 and Cinemascope was added in 1955. The Theatre was razed in June 1971 to make way for the Princess Plaza, a three-story professional office building." -- Text from calendar by Jayne M. D'Onofrio.
Image from the Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department annual calendar, 1996
Photo courtesy of Bourdon Studios.