"1915 - Leger's Theatre opened for business by Andy St. Ledger (silent movies).
"1918 - Bijou Theatre opened (formerly Leger's Theatre).
"1929 - Sound was installed (talking movies).
"1956 - J.R. Cianchette purchased theatre and closed it for remodeling; spending
between $80-100,000 on such luxurious items as the State's first cushioned swing back
seats and carbon-rod projectors.
"1957 April - The completely renovated and modernized Bijou Theatre was
reopened! It was one of the most modern and beautiful small town theatres in New
"1962 - Glen Wheaton bought the Bijou Theatre.
"1971 - Mr. Wheaton was opposed to running X-rated movies and chose to shut the
Theatre down (March 31, 1975) before he would run them.
"1975 - Maine National Bank & Cianbro Corporation purchased the Theatre for $6,000
each and absorbed the Theatre debt. The Theatre was donated (April 19) to the Pittsfield
Community Theatre Association, a non-profit group. Ticket prices were $1.75. The theater
lost 50 seats when a wide stage was installed to accommodate live productions. Hardwood
flooring from the old Union Hall, now the Town's fire station, was used to complete the
expansion. Mr. Wheaton continued to work first as the projectionist for the Association
and then Operations Manager for the Town until December 28, 1978.
"1977 - Town of Pittsfield bought the Theatre for $24,000.
"1978 - By April, the Theatre was hopping every day with movies, concerts,
matinees for children and assorted artistic delights. A series of films by Maine film
makers such as "Dead River Rough-cut" were shown and audiences also enjoyed
the Ralph P. Robinson Ballet. There was also a blood pressure screening day.
"Mid 1980s - The Pittsfield Players, spearheaded by Alma Dow, was a group of
local talent that performed plays such as Blythe Spirit and Visit to a Small Planet.
They also performed revues with themes such as places (New York, New York) or seasons
such as Christmas.
"1982-1994 - The Popular Opera of Pittsfield came together 1 week every August to
put on Gilbert & Sullivan plays such as Ruddigore, The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance,
HMS Pinafore and Trial by Jury. When asked why he did it, Steve M. Quint stated, "For
[2003 - Theatre opens its own website at www.pittsfieldtheatre.co.nr and
begins sending out email announcments of upcoming movies to anyone who wishes.]
"When visiting the Theatre, please take "a walk down memory lane" and see the
displays of some of the highlights of Pittsfield's favorite shows.
"Today the theatre not only shows first-run movies, it also retains that
small-town flavor in both operation and attitude.
"The theatre hasn't changed much in the 87 years of operation, except now movies
can be shown on Sunday (before 1940, Maine's so-called Blue Laws prohibited Sunday
showings). The lobby is immaculate, and the concession area, actually a little kitchen,
is as neat as a pin. Candy boxes are lined up with corners in a row. All your favorites
are there: Mike 'n Ikes, Twizzlers, Dots, but paper bags of popcorn and a soda - a
"combo" - is the best deal.
"Glen Wheaton stated that Friday night was always the traditional night for kids
to kick up their heels. "We called it the Friday Night Miseries. We used to have two men
on patrol that booted out troublemakers," he said.
"Before the movie, while Marilyn Morse was at the helm, Elvis was likely to be
wailing the hits of a former generation from the sound system while children and parents
picked out the best seats. A gold, crushed-velvet stage curtain hides the screen, placed
at the back of the wide stage used for live productions. On a Friday night
(traditionally "Kids Night" - parents, don't even THINK about going) it's
still pretty hard to hear yourself think.
"Then there was Marilyn and her flashlight. Marilyn Morse managed the Theatre
for 20 years. The kids called her "Flash" behind her back. Misbehave and
you're out, was her motto, banning kids for a week or two, depending on the infraction.
Most of the kids learned, though, that an apology could get them back in for the next
"We would like to thank Marilyn Morse for use of her theatre memorabilia. We
would also like to thank the Bangor Daily News for the use of the information in their
articles. Anyone who has photos of the theatre is encouraged to donate them to the
"Donna Dunphy became the fifth Theatre manager since the Town has owned it.
Others include Susanna Ventura and Gerald Cowan. Donna was the projectionist at the
theatre for 10 years prior to assuming the duties of Manager when Marilyn retired in
2001. The Theatre continues to provide a free Christmas movie one weekend in the month
of December that includes free popcorn and soda for everyone attending and there are
drawings for gifts. The Theatre is closed two weeks in July for the Egg Festival Pageant
and the second week is the annual vacation shut down. The Theatre hosts events such as
school plays and magic shows and has been used for business meetings.
"---The Pittsfield Theatre Committee"