Center Theatre

339 Main Street,
Hyannis, MA 02601

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Interstate Theatres Corporation

Previous Names: Idle Hour Theatre

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News About This Theater

Center Theatre

The Idle Hour Theatre opened in around 1911 (it was certainly operating by October 1911). It was re-named Center Theatre in 1937 when it was taken over by Interstate Theatres Corporation. It was badly damaged by a fire on December 23, 1971, and was totally destroyed by another fire in 1972. The land has remained vacant ever since. This theatre was located next to the Hibel Museum of Art in downtown Hyannis, Massachusetts.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

kevinp on November 11, 2007 at 5:25 am

Another post-card from my own collection. Enjoy

VintageGirl on January 21, 2008 at 9:01 pm

My grandfather grew up on the Cape and somehow acquired an Idlehour Poster. He said it came from an old movie theater that he use to go too and told us it burned down. The poster is from 1929 featuring several “talking pictures” the most famous person listed poster is Gloria Swanson staring in “The Trespasser”. Other movies include, “Acquitted”, and “Jazz Heaven”.

MichelleT on June 21, 2008 at 2:26 pm

My husband and I recently dined at Alberto’s Ristorante on Main St in Hyannis with his 93 yr old grandmother. We conversed about the shops that used to be located on Main Street in the old days. Across the street from the restaurant is “Jack’s Drum Shop”. The vacant lot to the left of the drum shop was where the Idle Hour Cinema was located. The theatre was owned (at some time or another, in-part or otherwise) by my husband’s great-grandfather Harold Hammett and Jack Collins. More info to come after some more research…perhaps another luncheon with “Gram” is in order.

MomJmouse on April 9, 2010 at 4:32 pm

The Idle Hour Theater became the Center Theater during the 1930s.

From Hy FD website: Dec 23 ‘71 – A mid day fire heavily damaged the Center Theater on Main Street. July 2 '72 – A general alarm fire destroyed the previously damaged Center Theater on Main Street. Mutual aid responded from several communities to prevent the fire from spreading to nearby structures.

Here is a picture of the Centre Food Market c1950. To the immediate left a movie poster on the front of the theater can be seen. View link

MomJmouse on April 10, 2010 at 5:45 pm

I found an even better picture of the Center Theater c1950.
View link

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on July 21, 2010 at 8:23 pm

From the early 1900s a picture postcard of the Idle Hour Theatre in Hyannis before it became the Center Theater.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 10, 2010 at 11:45 am

The 1927 Film Daily Yearbook lists the Idle Hour Theatre in Hyannis as having 500 seats, open 6 days/week.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 10, 2010 at 11:55 am

There was a MGM Theatre Report for the Center Theatre in Hyannis, with an exterior photo dated May 1941. The Report says the Center (which they spell “Centre”) was on Main St., was a MGM customer and had been playing MGM product for one year; was built in 1940 (that’s when it was apparently remodeled), was in Excellent condition, and had 570 seats on the main floor and 134 balcony seats. Total: 704.

RogerA on April 1, 2018 at 9:02 pm

In the 1960’s the Center Theater was the only theater on Cape Cod that could run a movie with stereo sound. After running The Sound of Music with mono optical sound all summer at another theater Interstate Theaters brought it back the next year and ran it with stereo sound at the Center Theater. The district manager made the decision to run it with stereo sound after George Nelson the theater projectionist ran a couple of reels in stereo for him.

The last manager at the theater put a trash can too close to the furnace flu causing the fire that destroyed the theater.

robboehm on January 16, 2023 at 10:44 am

The Idle Hour was Air Conditioned in 1926. After being acquired by Interstate Theatres in 1937 it was enlarged to 725 seats. The name was changed to Center at that time; the name chosen in a contest.

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