Bijou Theatre

164 Exchange Street,
Bangor, ME 04401

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: M & P Theaters, Paramount Pictures Inc.

Architects: Wilfred E. Mansur, Albert E. Westover

Previous Names: Gem Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Bijou Theatre

The Gem Theatre was opened on July 3, 1902. It was renamed Bijou Theatre on March 28, 1910. This was a very popular movie theatre with students like us at the University of Maine in the late-1950’s-early-1960’s. We were able to sit in the balcony on a section in the first row that jutted out of the balcony. I saw many first run movies during that time at the Bijou Theatre. Later on, I visited Bangor and saw that it has fallen prey to “urban renewal” having been demolished in 1973.

Contributed by SWFLguy

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on July 1, 2010 at 6:58 pm

From 1920 a picture postcard view of the Bijou and Graphic Theaters which were across the street from each other in Bangor.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on November 23, 2010 at 11:48 am

Thanks for picture ken mc.“DOCTOR ZHIVAGO” was playing there in 1971.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 11, 2011 at 1:22 am

The Bijou was “The Prettiest Playhouse in Maine” according to the text of their advertisement in the 1914 edition of the Maine Automobile Road Book. There is a photo of the Bijou’s reasonably pretty auditorium.

TLSLOEWS on March 11, 2011 at 8:17 am

Nice link Joe,did look pretty nice,also thanks Don, the Graphic Theatre would have a different meaning in those days,LOL.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 25, 2013 at 7:45 pm

An article in the July 25, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World said that the Gem Theatre opened in 1909, though some other sources say 1908.

An article by Wayne E. Reilly in the March 27, 2010, issue of the Bangor Daily News said that the Gem, which seated about 600, was taken over by the B. F. Keith vaudeville circuit in early 1910 and, after being remodeled, was renamed the Bijou. Keith’s promised to build a new theater for Bangor if the Bijou was successful.

The Bijou was a success, and the circuit kept its promise. Another article by Reilly, from April 15, 2012, tells about the new, much larger Bijou that opened on the same site on April 18, 1912.

The Bijou was demolished in 1973, another victim of the destructive fad that went by the unintentionally ironic name urban renewal.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 25, 2013 at 8:04 pm

This web page says that the general plan for the rebuilt Bijou Theatre of 1912 was by architect Wilfred E. Mansur, and the theater interior was designed by Philadelphia theater architect Albert E. Westover.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 26, 2013 at 12:01 pm

A 1922 directory lists the Bijou Theatre at 164 Exchange Street.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 26, 2015 at 10:49 am

The Theatre Historical Society archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the Bijou – Card # 334. Address is 164 Exchange St. There is an exterior photo taken April 1941. Condition is Good. The report says that it’s over 15 years old and was showing MGM films. There were 649 orchestra seats and 400 balcony, total 1,049. The 1940 population was 29,800.

rivest266 on June 25, 2020 at 4:02 pm

The Gem theatre opened on July 3rd, 1902, and became the Bijou on March 28th, 1910. 1910 ad posted.

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