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The RKO-Boston movie theatre (1930s-1950s) of Boston, Massachusetts, was located at no.616 Washington Street, near Essex Street in the Boston Theater District.[1][2] Associated with RKO Pictures, it featured film, big band concerts, and variety theatre performances. Musicians "Goodman, Dorsey, Miller and the rest were frequently booked into the RKO Keith-Boston ... for a week's stay. A typical show would be preceded by a Class B movie, newsreel and coming attractions. Audience excitement would mount as the sound of musicians tuning up would filter out behind the curtains as the coming attractions were being screened. When the preview segments ended, the tuning would be silenced and the stage darkened for several seconds. Then, with the audience's applause and shouting building to a crescendo, the band would kick in with its theme as the curtain parted."[3] The RKO-Boston occupied the former Keith-Albee Boston Theatre.[4][5][6]



  1. ^ Elliot Norton (1978), Broadway Down East: an informal account of the plays, players, and playhouses of Boston from Puritan times to the present : lectures delivered for the National Endowment for the Humanities, Boston Public Library Learning Library Program, Boston: Trustees of the Public Library of the City of Boston, ISBN 0-89073-055-5, OCLC 3843437, 0890730555 
  2. ^ Donald C. King (2005), The Theatres of Boston: a Stage and Screen History, Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co., ISBN 0-7864-1910-5, 0786419105 
  3. ^ Ernie Santosuosso. "Big bands then and now fans danced in the aisles." Boston Globe, 22 Nov 1987: 117
  4. ^ Around the 1910s, no.600 Washington St. was the Henry Siegel Co. department store. Within the large Siegel building "the theater section was built in 1925, designed by Thomas Lamb." (Anthony J. Yudis. "Lafayette Place inspires revitalization; 5 old buildings in lower Washington Street marked for rehabilitation." Boston Globe, 28 Nov 1982)
  5. ^ After the RKO-Boston closed, "Cinerama came in Christmas week of 1953 and stayed until around 1969." (CinemaTreasures.org. RKO Boston Theatre, 614 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111. Retrieved 2012-03-06)
  6. ^ By the 1970s the theatre was called "The Essex," an "adult entertainment movie house." (Additional environmental data: construction of new federal office building, Boston, Suffolk county, Massachusetts, 1979 )
  7. ^ Daily Boston Globe - Feb 7, 1936
  8. ^ Film Daily, July 7, 1936
  9. ^ Harry O. Brunn (1960), The story of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press 
  10. ^ Harvard Crimson, March 05, 1938
  11. ^ Daily Boston Globe - Aug 6, 1942
  12. ^ Christian Science Monitor - Jun 14, 1943
  13. ^ Christian Science Monitor - Jun 2, 1944
  14. ^ Daily Boston Globe - Mar 8, 1946
  15. ^ Christian Science Monitor - Jul 20, 1948
  16. ^ Christian Science Monitor - Sep 9, 1949
  17. ^ Christian Science Monitor - Nov 11, 1949
  18. ^ a b Harvard Crimson, November 26, 1951
  19. ^ a b Christian Science Monitor - Jan 13, 1953
  20. ^ Christian Science Monitor - Jun 5, 1953

Further reading[edit]

  • Andrea Shea and David Boeri. "Reclaiming The Glory Of Washington Street’s Past." WBUR, Dec 21, 2010 (interview with Fred Taylor, who frequented the RKO Theatre in the 1940s)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°21′9.06″N 71°3′45.27″W / 42.3525167°N 71.0625750°W / 42.3525167; -71.0625750