Cooperstown Theatre

137 Main Street,
Cooperstown, NY 13326

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Smalley's Theaters Inc.

Functions: Office Space, Retail

Previous Names: Smalley's Theatre

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Cooperstown Theatre

The Smalley’s Theatre was built by William C. Smalley in 1920. It was refurbished in 1939. In later years it was renamed Cooperstown Theatre, and closed in November 1987. By 2022 the orchestra level was in use as a sports memorabilia shop and the balcony housed a law firm.

Contributed by Greg Pratt

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

DonRosen on July 7, 2006 at 6:09 am

I visited Cooperstown in 1963 when I was 9 years old. The night we arrived it was raining, so my parents took me to see Haley Mills in “Summer Magic”. It might have been this theatre.

MarkieS on October 9, 2007 at 10:13 am

I was just in Cooperstown last wek. This town is deadsville! They roll up the sidewalks at 5pm.

TLSLOEWS on February 27, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Cool photo Lost Memory.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on July 9, 2010 at 9:02 pm

From the 1930s a view of Smalley’s Theatre in Cooperstown.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on July 29, 2010 at 6:49 am

I was just in Cooperstown this week. They hardly roll up the sidewalks. Up until 9:00 p.m. and even later most of the stores were still open and there were people all over downtown. The theatre looks great on the outside, but has been gutted on the inside. The auditorium is a baseball memorabilia shop and the stage house is apartments. The proscenium visible inside the back room is the only interior remnant of the theatre.

cmbussmann on April 16, 2012 at 10:54 am

I saw many movies here before it closed in November, 1987. I was young and impressionable then, just a kid learning to love film. This place had a huge influence on me. I remember seeing E.T., Return Of The Jedi, Harry & The Hendersons, The Aristocats, Transformers: The Movie, The Great Mouse Detective, and Pinocchio. I also recall posters for Predator and The Black Cauldron. And even though it was technically called “The Cooperstown Theater,” everyone in town still called it “Smalley’s.”

The theater’s closure in ‘87 was a huge loss to the community but it just couldn’t compete with the mall theater in Oneonta in terms of new releases. As well, the first video stores were starting to open so the writing was on the wall, I guess. The son of the last owner still projected films from time-to-time in our High School afterward. I remember attending a screening of “The Soldier Of Orange” that he held at a local church.

The marquee is still there, lit up at night, though it is starting to look old and a little run-down. It’s a shame the Baseball Hall Of Fame didn’t step in and save it, use it to run baseball films or something, instead of turning it into another tourist trap souvenir stand.

cmbussmann on January 29, 2016 at 2:45 pm

The New York State Historical Association Library in Cooperstown is hosting a small exhibit detailing Smalley’s history in Cooperstown; they also house the theatre’s archive (1921-1955 only). I took several pictures and added them here.

Bway on August 22, 2016 at 3:49 pm

Was in Cooperstown the other day, and went into the Souvenir store that is now in the theater. I just added a photo of the Proscenium, and it’s the only interior feature I could find still intact in the theater. They built sort of a second floor in front of what was once the stage and Proscenium. Out front however, interestingly, they use the old box office for an ice cream stand window.

NickyG on December 29, 2016 at 12:35 pm

I remember seeing Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore in the early 70s, with my mother (dad stayed home in New Jersey) while visiting Cooperstown, Hall of Fame, etc. The movie choice was interesting because over time I became increasingly aware of her unhappiness in her marriage with my father.

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