Movie theaters are like air travel: people used to dress up and enjoy the thrill. Today, people
crawl in and wait with cell phones, game boys, usually wearing stretch pants and tank tops, but
that's alright. Why not get out of the house and support your local cinemas?
In recent years, there have been many closings of movie houses across the North Country. To get new releases motion picture studios have required theaters to purchase costly upgrades to all new digital equipment forcing venues to make hard choices. Many theaters are now part event venues and part cinemas, offering live performances as well as movies. The surviving theaters are listed alphabetically by town.
Bethlehem: Colonial Theater 444-5907
Main Street, Bethlehem
Having it's 100th year celebration in 2015, The Colonial Theater had aged to significant disrepair by the year 2000 when the Friends of the Colonial was formed. The 2000-2001 winter collapsed the marquee of the historic building. Some time later the Friends of the Colonial leased, then purchased the building, reopening it in 2002 and has since brought it back to physical and financial health. Seasonally operating, it offers a mix of entertainment including live events and 2nd run and vintage movies.
Hanover: Nugget Theaters 643-2769
57 South Main Street, Hanover
Just 2 blocks from the campus of Dartmouth College the Nugget hosts a few events but is primarily in the first run movie business. Opening on April 6th. 1916, when movies were just a dime, prices escalated by 250% when 'talkies' were introduced here in 1929, leading to intermittent student riots over pricing from 1932-1937. With seating, projection and sound upgrades along the way May 2013 saw the Nugget go completely digital.
Lancaster: Northern Nights Drive-In 745-6239
51 Causeway Street,
You thought they were dead and gone, like LP records and tailfins... but the tradition of the drive in movie theater still lives in Lancaster! Located near the intersections of Routes 16 and 302, this seven screen theater offers first-run features, and is available for private parties. Necking is optional, and so is a trip to the snack bar, with all your favorites from yesteryear - onion rings and hot dogs - but adds some modern twists like steak Alfredo and deep fried mushrooms.
Recent renovations have been completed, and advanced equipment has been installed. Movies are usually double features (as the tradition dictates) and often first run, big budget movies. As their way hip website intimates, this facility is homage to the 1950s and 60s. Open during the summer season only, camping is available on the premises.
Lancaster: Rialto Theatre 684-1121
80 Main Street, Lancaster
The Rialto dates back to 1928, and its signature steel siding dates back to 1930. It is a charming locally owned small town American Theater on Main Street, just like you may remember from childhood.
The word rialto, in Italian is defined as a plaza that was open to the penniless to the wealthiest members of society. In an old-world rialto a visitor could see plays, opera and other forms of entertainment. Rialto is the financial district of Wall Street of Venice. It is also the name of a small city in San Bernardino County, California.
The name "Rialto" seems to have no corporate connection. However, nearly every state in the US has had a Rialto theater.
The Rialto offers predominately first run feature films. The theater is available for birthday parties, live performances and corporate functions.
Lebanon: Entertainment Cinemas - Lebanon 6 448-6660
390 Miracle Mile, Lebanon
This establishment is all movies all the time, and less than a mile from Interstate 89. It's been recently renovated with concessions, theatre seats, lobby, carpet, restrooms and more. It features 1st run movies but might be trumped for the best titles by the nearby Nugget Theater in Hanover. Do check both
Lincoln: BarnZ's Lincoln Cinema 745-6238
Main Street, Route 112, Lincoln
This four-screen theater tries to combine the multiplex with the small town movie house. The films are generally
first-run feature presentations, with occasional classic film events. They are located just off Interstate 93 at
exit 32, just off Main Street in Lincoln at the Lincoln Center North Shopping Center.
Theaters are available for private parties and viewings. The facilities are also available for corporate
training sessions and other professional activities.
Littleton: Jax, Jr. 444-5907
28 Main Street, Littleton
The Jax, Jr. offers first-run motion pictures and matinées. It also has a rich and fiery history... literally. The theater burned in 1924 and was rebuilt. Then, it burned to the ground again in 1949. The theater was created by Groveton resident John B. 'Jack' Eames (1891 - 1951) who bought the entire block in downtown Littleton in 1920.
Aside from the two towering infernos
(pun Intended), the Jax, Jr. has enjoyed a great history. It was the site of the debut of the Bette Davis film, The Great Lie in 1941
. This event happened on Bette Davis' birthday-so it was quite the bash. In 1952, the Jax, Jr. was the recipient of Jay Emanuel Merit Award-the highest award for a movie theater, sadly just after the death of Mr. Eames in 1951.
In 2011, the Jax, Jr. returned as a digital 3-D theater, and is enjoying a renaissance that coincided with advances in technology. The theater can be rented for birthday parties, corporate training or whatever you like.
North Conway: Mt. Valley Mall Cinema 7 356-6703
32 Mountain Valley Blvd., North Conway
Located near the intersections of Routes 16 and 302 in the Mountain Valley Mall, this seven screen theater offers first-run features, and is available for private parties.
Recent renovations have been completed, and advanced equipment installed.
Plymouth: Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center 536-2551
39 S. Main St, Plymouth
Built in the 1920's and an area focal point for entertainment, the theater chugged along until the beginning of the last decade and fell silent. Compassionately purchased by Alex Ray (owner of the Common Man chain of restaurants) in 2010, the theater facility was upgraded and reopened with a kitchen. Not yet converted to digital projection, the building hosts an eclectic mix of nationally known live performances, and vintage and classical movies. Several performances do sell out, and food offerings/service is limited to the table seats and varies widely by performance so do pay attention. Usual theater concessions (candy, pop corn, sodas) are available with almost every performance.
Support your Local Movie House
The movie-going experience need not be a solitary one. I think there's nothing better than seeing a comedy
on the big screen, and enjoying other people's reaction. There's that magic of escaping into a film world
for a matinee, and emerging into the bright afternoon sunlight. Admit it: don't you get a secret thrill
at watching the person in front of you cringe in horror at a thriller or horror movie?
Besides, everyone knows that movie popcorn tastes better than anything your microwave can produce. When
was the last time you tested your fillings with a box of Milk Duds?