End of 39-Year Era

Taken from: The News - March 1, 1965


SOUTHBRIDGE - When the movie "Your Cheating' Heart" faded from the screen in the Strand Theater at 11:10 last night, it marked the end of 39 years of continuous film entertainment in the town.

The theater officially goes over to its new owner, Anthony J. Deterando, of 245 Lebanon Hill, today. Deterando purchased the theater and buildings, comprising some 25,000 square feet of land, from Milford Realty Corp. of Boston, owners of the Interstate Theater chain. It will no longer be used as a movie house, Deterando said. Richard P. Kalagher of 47 Glover St., manager of the theater, dimmed the house lights and locked the theater doors shortly before midnight.

Kalagher, who has been employed by Interstate for 20 years, and has been at the Strand for about 15, said, "Well this is it. I guess it really is the end. Naturally I feel said about it all but I'm gratified in knowing that we did our best for the community."

The closing also affects two veteran projectionists who have been with the theater for many years. Cardeli and Jesse Delmore, brothers, have been operating the cameras at the theater for more than 30 years.

Cardeli plans to stay with the Interstate chain and will assist in projection operations at the Quinebaug, Conn. Drive-In Theater, while Jesse will operate the projectors at the Rockville, Conn. Theater, also owned by the chain.

To Stay With Firm

Kalagher said he will also stay with the Interstate firm. "Gunfighter of Casa Grande" was the other feature shown last night in the final show.

The theater has been in continuous operation since 1926. The brick structure was erected in 1916 by the Blanchard brothers, all deceased, for use as a dance hall and roller skating rink. It was originally known as The Hippodrome and movie idols such as the late Rudolph Valentino performed there for special shows. It was widely known for its outstanding vaudeville entertainment and athletic events.

It was converted into a theater seating about 1,600 in 1926, and became a popular showplace when talking movies replaced silent films.

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