Oriental Theatre

1601 Blue Hill Avenue,
Boston, MA 02126

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Showing 51 - 63 of 63 comments

bird383 on January 15, 2005 at 10:48 pm

Fred MacLennan
Fred is a Theatre Historian— he owns the gadgets that made the
clouds at the Oriental— and owns the “Buddha’s that were down
front too!!

bird383 on January 15, 2005 at 10:26 pm

Fred McLennan is a retired theater historian who had developed the the cloud machine and owns all of the oriental statues.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 12, 2005 at 4:24 pm

And as for the Canton theatre’s Mighty Wurlitzer Theater Pipe Organ, the October 20, 1980, Globe article says it was originally installed in the Dedham Community Theatre, and for the last 25 years “had been used as a church organ in a small fishing village in Nova Scotia”.

I made a mistake in the above comment — he was trying to develop a movie house called Dreamland in Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard — not Nantucket.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 12, 2005 at 4:18 pm

I found a few Globe articles from October 1980 and March 1982 about a guy named Fred McLennan who operated the Oriental Theatre in Canton, with many decorations from the Oriental in Mattapan. The 1982 article said that Canton’s Oriental was 65 years old at the time. It also says the Canton theatre seated 300, which seems very small for a 1917 theatre.

A September 19, 1988 Globe article said that McLennan, who had owned the Oriental’s stars, moon, and cloud machine for 17 years, was trying to sell it to a theatre in Phoenix. I guess this did not happen, because…

A Globe article from January 4, 1993, says that the same Fred McLennan, now the developer of the Dreamland movie house in Nantucket, was “trying to incorporate into the design the cloud machine from the old Oriental Theater in Mattapan.” I don’t know if this actually happened either.

Anyone know more about either McLennan or the Canton theatre?

(the spelling of his name in the Globe articles is very inconsistent — McLennan is most common, but I also see McLernan, MacLennan, and even McLellan)

IanJudge on January 12, 2005 at 3:42 pm

If I recall from an old Boston Globe article, there was indeed a theater in Canton that took many of the old equipment from the Mattapan Oriental when it closed – but not all the decorative stuff, which you really can’t move, as they are part of the building (and may be partially existant today or totally gone).

This article also mentioned that the Canton theater had a working organ that was played before movies; this was at least 1982, though. I will try to find this article; Ron, you may be able to find it online, since you have a great knack for tracking articles down, but I will look just the same.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 12, 2005 at 3:35 pm

Huh? I just said that the former entrance is a retail store and the theatre itself is an electrical supply house.

EdPayton on January 12, 2005 at 3:32 pm

is this now a chinese restrant

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 11, 2005 at 9:59 pm

The Stoughton Cinema is still open as a cinema pub. I’ve never been there, so I can’t say anything useful about the interior.

The former entrance to the Oriental appears to now be occupied by a retail clothing store called “J City”, whose address is 1599 Blue Hill Avenue. To get to Capitol Electric Supply, which occupies the former theatre itself, you have to walk around the corner onto Fairway Street and enter through a side parking lot.

When I walked by there at 7 pm tonight, Capitol Electric Supply was not open, but I’ll try again some weekend.

bird383 on January 5, 2005 at 3:26 pm

I was told that there was a theater in Canton but maybe there isn’t. Also I was told that alot of the insides of the Oriental was relocated to the Stoughton theater. If it is still open ???

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 3, 2005 at 9:52 pm

No theatre in Canton is currently listed at Cinema Treasures. If you know more about one, please add a separate entry it.

bird383 on December 28, 2004 at 10:31 pm

The theater was closed in 1971 at the 1601 blue hill ave address, Capitol Electric supply moved in and leveled the floor. I hear that the stars are still on the ceiling. Supposedly the interior of the cimema went to the Stoughton before it closed then on to the Canton theater.
If anyone has any photos of the movie theater I would love to see them or of Mattapan Square in the 1960’s-1970’s.

nlttak on December 4, 2004 at 8:50 am

The Oriental Theatre had a one of a kind, special Oriental designed 3 manual, 14 rank(Balaban 2)Wurlitzer pipe organ. It was removed from the theatre by Arthur Goggin but, never installed it. He then sold it to Stanky/Hochmuth where it was rebuilt and installed in their home in the Joliet, Il. area. Eventually, it was purchased by well known organist Ron Rhode and re-installed in his home in the Phoenix area where it still resides. Arthur Goggin told me that the Oriental theatre building had been gutted and turned into a warehouse?? Does anyone know this for fact?? TK…

IanJudge on December 3, 2004 at 6:45 pm

Has anybody been inside this theater recently? Does any of the original space remain intact? I wonder if restoration would be at all feasible. Mattapan Sq. would benefit from a performing arts space (of course who has the money for it!).