Jarvis Theatre

169 Main Street,
Binghamton, NY 13905

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Showing 1 - 25 of 28 comments

Admiral37 on March 22, 2018 at 9:13 am

Henry’s was not in the exact location of the Jarvis. It was at the southwest corner of Clarke and Main Streets. And I do agree that Henry’s was better than the other offerings. I don’t believe Burger King was around then, all the locations in the area started as Carrols but became BK in the mid 70’s. Carrols Corporation still exists today, they are one of the largest Burger King franchisees with over 800 restaurants.

SMVerno on March 22, 2018 at 7:35 am

If I remember, I believe that the Jarvis location became a Henry’s Hamburger joint. To me Henry’s far surpassed McDonalds, Burger King and anything else. I collect old movie tickets from Binghamton, JC & Endicott, places of my birth & growing up from the 1960s I have a Jarvis ticket in mint condition, Looking for Crest, Strand, Riviera& Sun Theaters to name a few Thanks

rivest266 on February 17, 2017 at 5:51 pm

This opened on December 29th, 1913. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

steve_verno on April 23, 2016 at 6:02 pm

In the early 1960s my father was the manager of the Jarvis. I remember seeing the 10 commandments, The apartment, Samson and Delilah and many more. Id cover my eyes with the parting of the red sea and the creation of the tablets by fire. Id help with the cleaning at closing time and be paid with a tiny cup of buttered popcorn where it was butter put on your corn and not the chemicals of today. My father was always in competition with The Crest which was managed by my grandfather until his death in 1975.

adamghost on February 2, 2016 at 2:55 am

Yes, with due respect to Mr. Ben Sunness, I really only posted to fill in the early dates of the theater’s history (also culled from the Press). I didn’t restate what Ben had posted, other than the bit about the 1962 fire, because I didn’t want to be duplicative – it was already upthread and in great detail. I only wanted to succintly fill in information that wasn’t already posted, about the pre-Jarvis era, and I just added the later bullet points for completion. I didn’t realize that my own post would used as the basis for the main entry about the theater. I’ve researched theaters in the Binghamton area as a hobby since ‘77, so I’ve just been trying to go through and fill in a few blanks, not just with this one but with others, so I was burning the midnight oil for several days finding press and pictures on various theaters. Glad to have the clarity, myself. BTW, I did try to go back last night and see if the Press had Sunness’ name originally listed as John when it was first sold, but the internet wasn’t cooperating. Doesn’t matter – it clearly was an error, either on their part in the article or mine, since Samuel Sunness is referenced as the owner from ‘37 onward on every other occasion. Glad we’re filling in some good information here!

generalenigma on February 1, 2016 at 5:01 pm

To be honest, once both the Jarvis Theatre & Mutual Furniture were leveled to vacant lots, I really had little interest in what became of the space. So I noted the intent which had been announced but never followed that up. Sometime when I get back to the library, I will do a quick check on that for you.

Admiral37 on February 1, 2016 at 2:52 pm

generalenigma, did Public Service actually open the Rambler dealership at that location or did they open Arrow Ford instead?

generalenigma on February 1, 2016 at 2:13 pm

One of my earlier comments from 4 years ago doesn’t show on the list of most recent comments so I have gone back & pasted it here to help clear up the looseness of adamghost’s post of Jan 30, 2016. It has the actual dates from those fires & the final closing of the Jarvis are accurate as printed in the Binghamton Press articles & are directly from my research at The Broome County Library.

generalenigma on December 19, 2011 at 4:48 am Yes, Admiral37 .. The Jarvis Theatre was still standing & operating when Mutual Furniture was ravaged by a fire on Sunday Nov 11, 1962.

Actually The Jarvis Theatre itself had a bad fire 10 months earlier on Wednesday Jan 3, 1962 & it took 2 months of repair & refurbishment to reopen for business on Friday March 2, 1962.

The theatre closed for good 8 ½ months later after the days' screenings on Tuesday July 30, 1963.

The vacant lots of both The Jarvis & Mutual Furniture were sold 2 years later to Public Service Garage, Rambler City, Inc. & was announced in June 14, 1965 with construction to begin in 10 days for the new Rambler dealership.

adamghost on February 1, 2016 at 5:06 am

Correction to the listing above; the theater didn’t close as a result of fire. There were two fires in ‘62 (one at the theater and one next door), closure happened in '63. Ben’s grandfather wanted to close in '61, and had planned to sell the theater to developers at that time, but relented because of community sentiment. This from news articles at the time.

adamghost on February 1, 2016 at 4:58 am

Ben – may have been a typo either on my part or the news article. I was transcribing from an article in the Binghamton Press in 1937 recording the sale.

Admiral37 on January 31, 2016 at 2:13 pm

Hey Ben, I don’t remember the free popcorn. But I do remember going to the Jarvis on Saturday afternoons. Cartoons, serial westerns and then a feature with a bunch of friends. KN

BenSunness on January 31, 2016 at 11:22 am

Samuel C Sunness, my grandfather was the owner of the Jarvis. I’ve never heard of a John Sunness. I’d love to know your source Adamghost?

adamghost on January 31, 2016 at 1:08 am

Short history of the Jarvis: Late Dec. 1913 – opened as the Laurel Theater. 1920 – Acquired by George W. King Mar. 1937 – sold to John Sunness, who remodels and changes name to Jarvis Theater. Aug. 1961 – Sunness announces theater will be sold, but agrees to keep it open for a time in response to community protest. Jan. 3, 1962 – Damage from fire in the theater (per comment above) Nov. 11, 1962 – Damaged again from fire in next door furniture store. July 30, 1963 – Theater closes.

BenSunness on March 3, 2013 at 1:29 pm

At the time of the fire my grandfather, Samuel Sunness, owned the Jarvis, Crest, Art and Airport DriveIn theatres. I too spent many Saturday and Sundays there free of charge. If I remember correctly, if you brought your own container the popcorn was free, Anyone remember that?

Admiral37 on February 14, 2013 at 11:07 am

Was the Rexall Store where the parking lot is now? I AB Dick sold mimeograph and spirit duplicator machines, a good business to be in until Xerox came along.

Uglyoldman on February 14, 2013 at 9:20 am

I used to live kitty corner to the Jarvis. There was a Rexall Store, and an apartment building with a Hot Pie shop and a store called AB Dick on the first floor. I spent a few of the early years there. Now it’s a parking lot. But I remember the theater, and Henry’s Hamburgers. The Oasis. The Drug store, and the barber shop.

steve_verno on May 9, 2012 at 7:37 pm

The jarvis used to have Bingo games before the movie started. The prize, a 50 cent piece. I will try to find the picture I have of the jarvis and try to scan my admission ticket I also have a mint movie ticket to The Riviera which used to be on Chenango Street

Admiral37 on December 22, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Thanks for the memories, generalenigma. I do remember the Jarvis being closed, we had to go to the Crest for the weekend matinees. I even remember going to the Art Theater for a matinee once, which was kind of strange given what the normal fare at The Art was back in the day.

I also remember Rambler City on that site, across from the A&P and Turf Exchange Hotel. It eventually became Arrow Ford, correct? And once that closed, the lot sat empty for awhile, and then Brighton Donuts built on a portion of the lot.

generalenigma on December 19, 2011 at 7:48 am

Yes, Admiral37 .. The Jarvis Theatre was still standing & operating when Mutual Furniture was ravaged by a fire on Sunday Nov 11, 1962.

Actually The Jarvis Theatre itself had a bad fire 10 months earlier on Wednesday Jan 3, 1962 & it took 2 months of repair & refurbishment to reopen for business on Friday March 2, 1962.

The theatre closed for good 8 ½ months later after the days' screenings on Tuesday July 30, 1963.

The vacant lots of both The Jarvis & Mutual Furniture were sold 2 years later to Public Service Garage, Rambler City, Inc. & was announced in June 14, 1965 with construction to begin in 10 days for the new Rambler dealership.

Admiral37 on April 14, 2011 at 2:53 pm

I have lots of memories of the Jarvis Theater from growing up on the west side of Binghamton. On weekends our parents would drop us off for a Saturday afternoon full of cartoons and short subjects. I remember the admission was like 50 cents for the afternoon.

I don’t recall, was the theater still standing when the Mutual Furniture store on Main Street burned? They’re both on the site of what is now McDonald’s. The empty lot left by the fire and subsequent demolition became a car lot (Arrow Ford?)

deleted user
[Deleted] on February 10, 2009 at 3:59 pm

Does anyone know if the Jarvis (Laurel) Theater ever had an organ?

SteveVerno on May 21, 2008 at 11:01 pm

Jim, my grandmother May Davis used to work at Fowlers in Binghamon. She lived in an apartment in the building now housing Litle Venice Restaurant on Chenango Street. Little Venice also used to be located right across from the Strand and Rivera. I remember when The Beatles hard Days night played The Strand. Johnson City and Binghamton were fantastic places for going to the movies or drive ins back in th 1950s, and 6s.

generalenigma on May 20, 2008 at 6:12 pm

Steve … With your connection to The Crest I am quite sure you will be quite interested in hearing about 3 very special rememberances I have of The Crest.
1st … in December 1969, I remember going down to Riverside Drive in JC with my very best friend from where we lived on Ingraham Hill in the Town of Binghamton to his grandmother’s house across from the Baptist Bible Seminary & shovelling her driveway after a major snowstorm. We were both college juniors (without much money)home on Christmas vacation & both huge James Bond fans. After we finished our job, we WALKED up to The Crest to see “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” !!! After shovelling & then walking a couple miles through all that snow to see the film it seemed very appropriate to see a film full of so much snow & skiing !!! AND it WAS A GREAT FILM !!!
2nd … I about 1976 I was working for Fowler’s in the Oakdale Mall & had gotten to know Joe Hazlett who was then regional manager for Cinema National. The Enjoy Theatre was up for sale & I was interested in possibly running a theatre but with a difference. I wanted to run kind of a cinema dinner club that would offer classic films … one per week with each month of the year having a different theme … mysteries one month, sci-fi another, westerns another etc etc. But I was not sure about the availability of non-current films for exhibition & when I asked Joe he said that the projectionist at The Crest had been in the business forever & if anyone could help me he could & he set up an appointment for me to meet with the projectionist one evening in the projection booth. I saw & learned with him all about changing the carbon rods in the twin projectors … how to start up the next reel when the “spot” appeared on the screen to come on the screen flawlessly as the previous reel ended … rewinding the previous reel as the new one played & re-canning it & getting the next reel set up for when the present one finished. (every 20 minutes !!! learning THAT was why a 2 hour film was known as a “Six Reeler” !!!) It was an education I will never forget & am very thankful for experiencing. (even though my idea for the Enjoy turned out to be unfeasable)
My last rememberance is the World Premiere of “Twilight Zone – The Movie” at The Crest on Sat June 11, 1983. I got tickets for myself & my Mom for the full experience with the pre-screening party at Binghamton City Hall with Mayor Juanita Crabb, Kevin McCarthy, Rod Serling’s daughters & others & riding the special bus to the theatre & walking in on the Red Carpet just like the movie stars !!!

SteveVerno on May 20, 2008 at 8:54 am

JIM, you are correct Henry’s was next to the Jarvis, not the Crest. I remember when they put in the McDonalds. Near the Crest wnas a Perkins Pancake House. My gramdfather used to take me there in between showings. These grand old ladies had the real Big Screens, The projectionsist were on the constant go having to keep the arc going for light and to change the reels every 20 minutes. My grndfather used to require the men to wear tuxes and the ladies to wear dresses. he required a show from everyone. He passed away in 1975 after closing the crest for the night. He would work every job in the theater from ticket seller to taker to concession to prohjectionist. I remember when El Cid played. He decorated the lobby in the el cid motif. Mall cinemas dont come close to the way thsy used to put on a show.

generalenigma on May 20, 2008 at 7:38 am

Steve … Henry’s Hamburgers was not next to The Crest Theatre but instead was on the corner of Clarke Street & Main Street … right next to where the new McDonalds is located now … actually the Jarvis Theatre (previously known as The Laurel Theatre) was located exactly where that new McDonalds is. How I miss our old theatres !!!