Gorham Theatre

Androcoggin Street and Main Street,
Gorham, NH 03581

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Rainbow Angels Ensemble
Rainbow Angels Ensemble on September 22, 2023 at 3:25 am

Thank you Joe Vogel for correcting it

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 21, 2023 at 8:18 pm

I found a web page with a long list of historic fires in New Hampshire and it included this: “Sep 28, 1960 - Berlin - NH - Gorham Theater (where Welch’s Restaurant later stood), destroyed by fire.” This actually looks like it’s an orphaned page from a vanished Geocities web site (last updated in 2005), so I can’t vouch for its accuracy, but it does look to have been reasonably well researched.

Also two things: Androscoggin Street is a residential side street, with commerce only at the end adjacent to Main Street, so if the theater was (as the local Historical Society said) on Androscoggin Street it must have been right at the corner of Main.

And the house was last called the Gorham Theatre, renamed following a remodeling in 1956. Our photo shows that name on the sign, so must have been taken between 1956 and 1960.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 3, 2022 at 2:06 am

This house became the Gorham Theatre in 1956. This item is from the January 7, 1956 issue of Motion Picture Herald:

“New Heywood-Wakefield auditorium seats have been installed in the Gorham theatre in Gorham, N. H., formerly known as the Ritz and renamed following extensive alterations. The latter also included installations for reproducing four-track magnetic stereophonic sound, air-conditioning and new carpets.”
A Facebook post from the Gorham Historical Society says that the theater was located on Androscoggin Street, and that it burned down, though it doesn’t give a date for that event.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 14, 2015 at 2:06 pm

Rob- looks that way. The MGM agent went to Gorham in May 1941. He noted that the Ritz had been a MGM customer for 2 years; and that it had opened in 1938 – probably got that info from the Mgr. There was another movie venue in Gorham which was gone by 1938/ 1941: the Opera House. It was located at “Park St. & Railroad” which I take to mean either Park St. & Railroad St., or Park St. & the railroad line. It was an “upstairs house” with 700 seats and was open from at least 1914 to about 1933. It presented both live shows and movies, the latter on Wed. and Sats. It’s listed in the CinemaData project.

robboehm on July 14, 2015 at 10:16 am

Ritz Theatre Inc. was formed January 1, 1941. Was the corporation formed subsequent to the opening as the Theatrical Historical Society would imply?

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 13, 2015 at 1:35 pm

Chris- When you say “they” do you mean the Film Daily Yearbooks? (I don’t have any, except for a small section of the 1927 edition). I went back and looked at the 1941 Ritz photo again- it looks like a purpose-built structure, and not a town hall. But there were many small-town cinema operations located in Town Hall auditoriums, that’s for sure!

Chris1982 on July 13, 2015 at 1:25 am

I think the Gorham Theatre was in the same building as the Town Hall. When they stopped listed the Gorham Theatre they listed the town Hall. Same number of seats.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 12, 2015 at 1:34 pm

Chris1982- I found nothing stating that the Ritz was in a town hall, although many rural movie theaters were. CinemaData has a list of New Hampshire movie theaters named Town Hall, but Gorham is not on the list. CinemaTour has an a.k.a. name of Gorham Theatre for the Ritz. But no Town Hall info. When I googled the Ritz in Gorham, I got almost nothing!

Chris1982 on July 12, 2015 at 12:05 am

Ron, was the Town Hall which was showing movies until the New Ritz opened in the same building?

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 11, 2015 at 3:18 pm

The Theatre Historical Society archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the Ritz; it’s Card # 486. Address is Main St. There is an exterior photo dated May 1941. Condition is Good. The report says that the Ritz opened about 1938, shows MGM movies, and had 344 seats. The 1940 population was 2,800.