56 Montauk Highway,
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Previously operated by: Island Theater Circuit
Previous Names: Fannings Hall, Little Theatre
This small wooden structure was erected by Daniel Fanning next to his hay, grain and feed store in the late-1920’s. It was named Fannings Hall and had a capacity for 250-seats. His daughter, Ethel, played the piano for the silent movies. Admission was 35 cents for adults, 15 cents for children.
Around 1930 it was renamed Little Theatre and was listed in the 1933-1935 editions of Film Daily Yearbook as (Closed). By 1936 it had reopened as the 210-seat Bays Theatre and was still open in 1940. It was listed as (Closed) in 1941, but had reopened by 1943.
The marquee of the theatre can plainly be seen in the foreground of a 1935 photo of Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays which can be accessed on the Historical icon of the Hampton Bays Historical Society website home page.
The 1945 Handbook of Hampton Bays shows the theatre offering two evening shows daily of "up to date feature pictures and short subjects". The Bays Theatre was still open in 1955, but had closed by 1956.
The theatre was demolished some time in the late-1950"s.
There is an indication the seats were not permanent since the space was at times used for roller skating and basketball. The seating capacity is unknown but has been estimated as low as 50. More research is needed on this.
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