Tilton Theatre

Main Street,
Tilton, NH 03276

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Pastime Theatre

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Tilton Theatre

The Pastime Theatre was a little cinema in a small New Hampshire town. It opened December 2, 1914. In March 1930 it was renamed Tilton Theatre. It closed in the mid-1950’s.

Contributed by Ron Salters

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 22, 2015 at 7:22 pm

The Theatre Historical Society archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the Tilton; it’s Card # 514. Address is Main St. There is an exterior photo dated February 1941. Condition is Fair. The report says that the theater opened about 1910, was showing MGM films and had 300 seats. The 1940 population was 1,700.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 23, 2015 at 3:56 am

In the 1920s a 350-seat movie house called the Pastime Theatre was in operation in Tilton. The Cinema Data Project has pages for both the Pastime and the Tilton, but both pages describe photos depicting the theaters being in three story brick commercial blocks. Further, the MGM report Ron cites says the Tilton opened about 1910, but the Pastime is the only theater I’ve found mentioned in early trade journals. I suspect that Pastime was an aka for the Tilton Theatre.

dallasmovietheaters on September 13, 2016 at 1:48 pm

The original movie theatre in Tilton was the Lyric Theatre that was opened by the Stevens Brothers in October of 1909 and lasted just one month as the local college banned students from going while some churches directed their congregation to avoid the venue. C.H. Bean improved the exterior appearance renaming it the Pastime Theatre which opened opened November 25, 1909 likely on a 5-year lease.

In August of 1910, he sold it to Herbert Mann who sold in 1911 to Charles and Nellie Riva. The Rivas gained support from the college and most of the area churches and had success. The original Pastime with its flat floor closed on November 30, 1914 to move to its new location. The “new” Pastime Theatre launched December 2, 1914. The previous Pastime became a meat market. The Rivas said the best nights were Saturdays where $30 could be had and Mondays brought just $2.75.

Nellie Riva ran the theatre as a silent operation to early 1930 selling out to William E. Reeves. Reeves installs sound equipment changing the name to the Tilton Theatre in March of 1930. That iteration of the theater lasts more than 30 years.

Ted S. Soczewinski was the final owner as the Tilton Theater continued into the 1960s. When it closed, Tilton became a movie theater-less community for decades until the dine-in concept circuit Smitty’s opened Smitty’s Cinema Pub in Tilton.

dallasmovietheaters on September 13, 2016 at 5:48 pm

Address was 281 Main with an entry leading to the auditorium at the rear with neighboring businesses of Cloverdale Store – a full-service grocery store – a barber shop, and Greenwood Hardware.

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