Gilbert Stuart Theatre

19 Maple Avenue,
East Providence, RI 02915

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rivest266 on June 8, 2024 at 3:38 pm

Newspaper ad for this cinema ended in 1977.

rivest266 on June 7, 2024 at 7:41 am

Reopened as the Gilbert Stuart Theatre on October 11th, 1953. Ad posted.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 27, 2023 at 11:35 am

“After Joe Jarvis left about 1959, his former projectionist took over until about 1975 when the empty building was occupied by the Church of God for the next dozen years. The building was acquired about 1987 by Century Sheet Metal, Inc. which is still there today.” —Bruce Remick, Facebook comment

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 4, 2018 at 1:23 pm

The Lyric Theatre became the Gilbert Stuart Theatre on October 11, 1953.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 20, 2011 at 11:03 am

In September 1922 this theatre was part of Rhode Island’s Paramount Week. Click to see the ad in Providence News, September 1, 1922, which contains a list of all participating theatres as well as the films shown that week. This theatre was called the Odeon at that time.


Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 17, 2011 at 3:45 am

This theatre was part of the September 1923 6th Paramount Week. In this advertisement from the (Providence) Evening Tribune, September 1, 1923, we see a fascinating list of Rhode Island area theatres, many long-gone and long-forgoten, or even unheard of, as well as what they were showing during that week. This theatre was then called the Odeon. CLICK HERE and move image to see all theatres.

134turner on September 26, 2010 at 2:57 pm

I believe it was the Riverside Recreation Center or something similar. As a kid, I used to bowl there on Saturdays when a “string” was ten cents.

rmsongs on September 26, 2010 at 11:27 am

I remember the Gilbert Stuart Cinema well. I grew up in Riverside in the 60’s and spent time at the cinema, Crescent Park, the bowling alley on Turner Ave…….So many great memories. By the way, does anyone know what the name of the bowling alley was? I’ve asked an awful lot of people who lived in the area, and no one seems to remember.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 25, 2010 at 2:21 am

The Providence Journal-Bulletin apologizes to the Gilbert Stuart. From Boxoffice magazine, August 17, 1964:

In a series of articles, published in the Providence Journal- Bulletin, dealing with the “demise” of business in the Riverside section of adjoining East Providence, it was stated “there used to be a movie house in Riverside.” Hardly before the ink was dry or the presses cold, Harry Horton, owner-operator of the cozy, well-operated Gilbert Stuart Playhouse in Riverside quickly protested that the Providence newspaper had made a grievous error—-there still WAS a motion picture theatre in Riverside! The newspaper editor was forced to acknowledge the mistake and apologize to the theatre and community for “belittling” the well-patronized movie house.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 20, 2010 at 1:00 pm

I lived then and now in Johnston, and I often checked out the ads for all the area theatres. I went to the Gilbert Stuart many times, because they often showed what I wanted to see. I do remember those “folksy” ones that ran for a time in the Providence Journal.

134turner on June 20, 2010 at 12:10 pm

I lived in Riverside during Hurricane Carol in 1954. There wasn’t that much damage in Riverside Square where the theater was located. Most of the homes lost were coastal homes in the southern “Terrace” section of the town, including the last of the Victorian-era vacation homes that had survived the 1939 hurricane.
I don’t remember any Gilbert Stuart newspaper ads other than the typical small daily ones. I must have missed the more extensive ones with narrative as described in your reference. Riverside was such a compact community that one could easily drive by the theater to check out the coming attraction posters outside and the news spread by word of mouth.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 20, 2010 at 9:45 am

Hurricane is no hindrance!
Item in Boxoffice magazine, October 2, 1954:
“Although hurricanes demolished 150 homes in nearby Riverside, Joe Jarvis kept his Gilbert Stuart Playhouse in almost continuous operation. It was stilled only during a temporary power loss.”

Advertising method:
Earlier item from June 5, 1954:
“Joe Jarvis, owner-operator of the Gilbert Stuart Theatre in adjoining Riverside, has adopted a unique style of advertising pictures. While he uses only limited space, he devotes 50 per cent of his newspaper advertising to condensed editorial comments on either the stars appearing in the current attractions or on some outstanding feature of the film. Written in a smooth, easy, and friendly style, the copy is doing much to attract extra patronage.”

134turner on June 19, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Thanks for the link. I guess I probably spent about seven years going to the Lyric, mostly to 20¢ Saturday double-feature matinees. Shortly after it evolved into the Gilbert Stuart I became involved with other things on weekends and lost interest in those matinees.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 19, 2010 at 11:32 am

The Lyric Theatre was renamed the Gilbert Stuart in 1953, after Joe Jarvis, who had run the Jamestown Theatre, took over operation of this house. Item reportng this in Boxoffice magazine, October 24, 1953:
View link

134turner on June 14, 2010 at 5:29 am

Ack! Must be these darn bifocals. I should have known there were no more eccentric millionaires in Riverside. I still think I liked the wide-open pre-GS Lyric theater better, from a kid’s viewpoint anyway, before Joe Jarvis came to into power with his iron hand. During Saturday matinees, Joe would often scold the young audience if they booed too loud at a kissing scene. He must have lost most of his hair by the time the Gilbert Stuart closed down.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 14, 2010 at 3:57 am

Bruce, as you can see, that was a 1954 article, 56 years ago.

134turner on June 13, 2010 at 6:00 pm

I assume this means the former Gilbert Stuart is being restored as a movie theater??? I thought it had essentially been gutted. Someone with deep pockets maybe?

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 12, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Item in Boxoffice Magazine, July 7, 1954:
“The Gilbert Stuart Theatre in nearby Riverside is being repainted inside and out. New photographic murals of Gilbert Stuart, native Rhode Islander famous for his portraits of George Washington, and scenes of his birthplace, grace the inner lobby. Artisans also are busy redecorating the bathrooms in new color schemes.”

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 5, 2010 at 9:28 am

No, Bruce, there aren’t, except for the Patriot Cinemas on Newport Avenue, near the line with Pawtucket. The historic Hollywood Theatre on Taunton Avenue was demolished two years ago. It should have been saved and restored as a cultural center like the Stadium in Woonsocket and the Park in Cranston. Alas not enough people cared. And it would have cost millions.

134turner on May 18, 2010 at 7:14 pm

Makes me wonder if there are any theaters left at all in East Providence, not counting any new mall multiplexes. The nice thing about the old Lyric was that it was within walking or bike distance of most all kids in Riverside. There would always be dozens of bikes lined up by the side exit door during the Saturday matinees. I was close enough to walk.

Hessie on February 19, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Ran out of space again… One more memory I have is why we always arrived so early at 12 noon to be at the head of the line. The show didn’t start until 1:30 or 2:00, but as kids we always thought that the front row middle seats were the only good seats in the theater and if you weren’t at the front of the line, you didn’t get them. We would get our tickets and run altogether for the front and pick our seats. Then we’d leave one or two to guard our seats while we took turns to go back and get candy and popcorn. The theater tickets cost 25 cents, candy 5 cents and popcorn was 10 cents. Today I wouldn’t sit front row if they paid me!!!

Hessie on February 19, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Picking up where I left off above when I ran out of space, each feature movie was preceded by a Newsreel showing all the news of the War as well as other stories. Then there were what we called “Serials” where each episode was about 20 minutes long and at the end of each Chapter, the hero was about to be captured or to die and you had to wait a whole week to find out what happened. In the next Chapter, a miracle always saved the hero!!! Some of the names of serials I remember were “Don Winslow of the U.S. Navy”, Red Ryder & Little Beaver" and “Dick Tracy”. In school each week, everyone tried to guess how the hero would be saved!!!

Hessie on February 19, 2010 at 12:02 pm

I just stumbled onto this web site because I Googled the Lyric Theater, Riverside, RI because an old friend asked me where the old theater was when were kids. Reading all the comments was quite exciting so I thought I would add my own reflections of the Lyric Theater. When WWII started in 1941, I was 7 years old and attending the Saturday matinees every week arriving with my friends at about 12 noon so we would be at the head of the line described in one of the previous comments above. The shows were usually westerns or comedies with the leading stars of the day like Gene Autry, Roy Rogers in westerns or Abbott & Costello in comedies.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 18, 2009 at 1:17 pm

Harold M. Morton was a former motion picture projectionist and was also the manager for 14 years of the Gilbert Stuart Theater, Riverside, until its closing in 1965.

JMLJ on January 26, 2008 at 3:36 pm

I saw first run of Jaws here.

Before the warehouse/garage it now seems to be it was a church of some kind for awhile.

Joe Jarvis also went on to manage the Four Seasons Cinema when it was a first run theatre.