Northport Theatre

256 Main Street,
Northport, NY 11768

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SEPTEMBER 12, 1930

The first Northport Theatre was built around 1912 and located at 256 Main Street. Entertainment consisted of vaudeville and motion pictures. The Northport Theatre was listed in the 1930 edition of Film Daily Yearbook with 500 seats. On April 19, 1932 this Northport Theatre was destroyed by fire. The owner at the time of the fire was Carl Walkowitz.

Instead of waiting for the remains of this building to be demolished, construction of the current Northport Theatre (now John W. Engeman Theater) began immediately on an adjacent lot at 250 Main Street. (It has its own page on Cinema Treasures)

Contributed by Ridgewood Ken

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

robboehm on July 13, 2014 at 3:14 pm

According to an article in the Sunday July 18, 2014 Newsday on the history of theatre in Northport, N.Y., the original Northport Theatre hosted vaudeville acts and was used as a community center for recitals, commencements and roller skating (the seats were removable). In 1918 the soldiers training to become World War I pilots at Brindley Field were entertained here.

In the 1920s it was only opened on weekends. In 1930 talkies were initiated. Two years later it burnt to the ground.

Bloop on March 10, 2015 at 10:00 pm

I cannot believe there is only 1 (now 2) postings on this theater! Movies I have seen at the Northport Theater: 1) Thoroughly Modern Millie 2) Take the Money and Run 3) Cabaret 4) Conquest of the Planet of the Apes 5) The Poseidon Adventure (reissue from 1974) 6) Grizzly 7) Mad Monster Party (!!!!!) 8) The Changling 9) Willow 10) the Ralph Bakshi animated Lord of the Rings movie (1979?) 11) Airport 1975 (on a snowy Saturday afternoon) 12) Beyond the Door (!) 13) The Three Musketeers 14) Blame it on Rio 15) Summer Rental 16) The Adams Family 17) The Exorcist (reissue from 1976) 18) All of Me

Addendum: in the spring/summer of 1975 me and a friend went there hoping to catch Monty Python and the Holy Grail (rated PG) but the co-feature was The Heartbreak Kid (a movie we had NO interest in whatsoever). It was rated R. So the box office lady said we could not get in because we were only about 15/16 at the time. We were bummed out !

The theater was modest but almost felt like a “movie palace Jr.” sort of. One very unusual feature was that, there was a big open partition in the back wall (no exit/entrance doors). So if you went to the lobby/ conscession stand with your head towards the screen you probably would not miss much of the movie. Not sure what the purpose of this was. Also, noise from the lobby would have been awful if you were sitting in the back row of the theater.

robboehm on March 11, 2015 at 10:00 am

Bloop you’re on the wrong Northport. How about moving all this information to the later Northport, also on CT, which is now a performance space known as the John Engeman.

DavidZornig on July 25, 2019 at 12:03 am

1926 photo added courtesy Grace Scimone Southland. Photo taken by her great-grandmother Jessie Barker, who owned the Northport Theatre at that time. She later managed the Smithtown Theatre.

Bloop on September 30, 2019 at 9:59 am

THANK goodness this mess was fixed..however too too late now. This was a decades old neighborhood movie theater – walkable from HUNDREDS of homes locally. This thread SHOULD HAVE hundreds of comments- alas, the confusion with the current “performance space” (that has NOTHING to do with “cinema”) messed things up from the get go on here. Sad. The most important thing that happened to me in this theater, Spring 1979: was there to see the Ralph Bakshi animated “Lord of the Rings” (almost unwatchable , headache inducing) and before the film started the trailer….for….George A. Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead” ! The movie that changed my life and the movie that made me RENT it on VHS like 50 times (50 x $2.99 = ????? D'oh!) all through the VHS 1980s. Sadly I did not see “Dawn…” at Northport, rather I took my business to the Commack Drive In.

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