Center Theatre

339 Main Street,
Hyannis, MA 02601

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

MomJmouse on April 10, 2010 at 5:45 pm

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

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

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.

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”.

kevinp on November 11, 2007 at 5:25 am

Another post-card from my own collection. Enjoy

crownx on December 18, 2005 at 3:25 am

It seems that you have searched out most of the info in the Idle Hour /Center . I was manager of the Center Theater in 1954 and projectionist in later years. It indeed was built as Idle Hour and changed to Center (Year unknown) It was operated by Interstate Theaters, Boston. The fire that demolished the theater in 71-71 is correct. Ir was burned once in 1971. Started by vagrants who had broken in and set fire to the stage area. And again burned before it was finally torn completely down. It has been a vacant lot for many years.
The Center theater was the drop off point for many cans of film destined for showing at the home of Joseph P. Kennedy. His home in Hyannisport included a theater.
The Center was a first run theater. I remember Sound of Music had an extensive run there.
I submitted this theater on Cinema Treasures under Center Hyannis.

shoeshoe14 on July 24, 2005 at 6:39 am

Oh yes. I visited that drum shop. Great owner. Lots of famous people have come in.

thomfur on July 24, 2005 at 6:29 am

There’s a vacant lot between a drum shop and an empty building (formerly the Shaughnessy theater), that’s where Idle Hour/ Center Theater used to be. It’s on the south side of Main Street.

shoeshoe14 on July 20, 2005 at 8:35 pm

I was just in Hyannis a few times last week. I didn’t recall seeing a facade or rear of the building that mirrored a cinema and I found it quite odd since it’s a real happening town.

AlLarkin on June 28, 2005 at 10:03 am

I recall a downtown movie theater on Main St. back in the late ‘70’s. I don’t recall the name. As of the late '90’s the building was still there but continued as market place.