Idle Hour Theatre

Main Street,
Hardwick, VT 05843

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dallasmovietheaters on June 30, 2022 at 10:11 am

The Idle Hour’s grand opening film on January 11, 1909 was Lubin Manufacturing Company’s controversial, “The Unwritten Law” based on the real life murder of Stanford White in New York City and the trail of Harry Thaw. Such programming fit in with the way of Hardwick which had a more free-wheeling, working person’s lifestyle in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.

The bawdy and veteran Idle Hour switched from lightly-trafficked Hollywood fare on weekdays to X-rated movies scoring with “Deep Throat” and “The Devil Miss Jones” at the height of the promo chic exhibition period of the early to mid-1970s for motion pictures. The X-rated fare would then also end up on selected weekends as it found a new audience. The Idle Hour closed just shy of the 80-year mark, likely at the end of a leasing period.

walterk on June 20, 2015 at 5:50 pm

The American Motion Picture Directory of 1914-15 lists an Idle Hour Theatre in Hardwick, on Mill St. They misspelled the town name Hedwick, which doesn’t exist. There is a North and South Main St there, Mill St intersects at the junction of North and South Main. I would suggest that a newer building was built with the owners keeping the same name.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 20, 2015 at 10:58 am

The Theatre Historical Society on-line archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the Idle Hour; it’s Card # 578. Address is Main St. There is an exterior photo taken May 1941. Condition is Fair. The Report says it opened in 1920 and was showing MGM films. There were 250 main floor seats and 100 in the balcony. The 1940 population was 1,600. Another source also says it dates from 1920, but that was the year that Frank T. Carr became manager (up until 1956). The item that Joe Vogel has found indicates that the theater was open by 1909, although that could have been a different building, i.e. there may have been 2 theaters in Hardwick named Idle Hour ?? (I’m guesing there was only one).

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 20, 2015 at 1:27 am

The December, 1909, issue of The Reporter, a trade publication for the granite and marble industries, said that following the annual meeting of the Hardwick Granite Manufacturers Association, the crowd was entertained with movies and music at the Idle Hour Theatre, courtesy of the owner of the house, George H. Bailey.