Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Royal Theater

"We waited impatiently for 1:15 movie time, sometimes arrived 12:30 and waited all that time looking at cherubims in the ceiling, round Moorish Royal Theater pink and gilt and crystal-crazy ceiling with a Sistine Madonna around the dull knob where a chandelier should be,-long waits in rickety nervous snapping bubblegum seat-scuff scattle tatter “Shaddap!” of usher, who also had a hand missing with a hook at the hump World War 1 veteran my father knew him well fine fellow." --- Dr. Sax

The Royal Theater was located on 484-486 Merrimack Street in a building called The Husson Block and was owned by the Husson family. It sat diagonally across from the Pollard Library on Merrimack Street. This was somewhat in the proximity of Little Canada and was owned by the Husson family. The Royal Theater's bill changed twice a week and had a square marquee with the name “Royal” emblazoned in big red neon letters on three sides. Above the entrance were three floors of apartments. The Royal was  an entertainment bargain even though its confines were quite undistinguished.

The theater was opened as a movie house at 488 Merrimack in 1911 by Charles Harpoot and was called the Jewel Theater. In 1913 he purchased more property across the street at 507 Merrimack and built a 1200 seat theater called “The New Jewel.” Though he had planned to close the original, it operated as the Royal as early as 1914 until 1964.

It is currently condemned with a big red X on the front.

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