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Park Cinema, Cranston

 

People used to be able to walk to the movies. A theater on Hope St., the Cinerama, was demolished in the 80s to make room for a CVS drug store. Tough economics, a weak movie roster and the rise of home theaters kept people at home more. The Castle on Chalkstone Ave. is still there, but vacant. Another long vacant theater is the Bomes on Broad Street, and still others like the Leroy of Pawtucket are long gone. On the other hand, the Columbus has gone respectable and is showing new independent films, and the Avon or Cable Car have enjoyed steady showings. Maybe a new direction for the Park is exactly what Park Ave and Cranston need: a walkable place for dinner, a show, and a chance to meet your neighbors.

 

The original Park Cinema was a single screen, but added one in the 80s and another in the 90s to become a triple-screen theater (called a triplex). It operated steadily from 1924 up until 2002. It sat for two years, untouched. Construction began to repair the landmark in 2004, but several problems kept the project from being finished. Now the pre-grand opening of the new Park Theater Complex seems to be fast approaching.

Dr. James R. Pannozzi AP (Retired) Apr 25 2014 I grew up in a small white cottage, the first house on the right on Sabra St., which leads to Twin Oaks at the end of the Street. I saw several movies over the years at the famous Park Cinema including "This Island Earth" in the mid 1950's, some Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin comedies in the early 1950's and "The Longest Day" in 1962. It's hard for people today to realize how exciting the cinema was in those days, prior to the easy availability of movies at home in a variety of inexpensive formats via cable or DVD. The last time I was there was in the late 1990's to watch the English Patient. I went alone and about half way through the movie decided it was not my cup of tea and left. I moved out of Rhode Island in 2002. That small cinema holds many wonderful memories for a great many Rhode Islanders and I'm pleased that it is being restored.

Jim McDonald Dec 21 2013 I saw Lady And The Tramp there in the 50s, the second feature was The Littlest Outlaw

kevin smith Apr 11 2010 I had my first date there when I was thirteen

Art Handy Mar 14 2010 I was the 2003 sponsor of the bill that allowed them to get the license they needed to open with their new identity (which includes selling alcohol). I excited to be having my fundraiser there this March, 2010.

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