Greenbelt in 2012

A photo blog about Greenbelt, Maryland in its 75th anniversary year

Old Greenbelt Theatre Shows Little Miss Broadway

with one comment

August 18

Old Greenbelt Theatre in Roosevelt Center opened its doors on September 21, 1938. The film shown that night was “Little Miss Broadway” starring Shirley Temple. Admission was 30 cents for adults and 15 cents for children. This year, as the city celebrates its 75th anniversary, the theatre showed the same movie again last Saturday, this time free of charge.

The theater has a tall curved front with an art deco marquee that says Greenbelt vertically. It operated as a movie theater continuously from 1938 to 1976 when lack of profits forced its closure. From 1980 to 1987, the Greenbelt Cultural Arts Center leased the theater as a performing arts venue. Since 1990, it has been a movie theater again operated by a small theater chain called P&G Theaters. This marquee was renovated in 2000, and in 2002, the city purchased the theater from its landlord while P&G continues to operate it. The movie that is being shown currently here is Hope Springs starring Meryl Streep, Steve Carell and Tommy Lee Jones.

John Henry Jones points to a poster for today’s showing of “Little Miss Broadway.”

“This enjoyable movie starring Shirley Temple was the first movie shown in the 1937 Greenbelts historic movie theater. It is a musical with bright, bouncy tunes, and a plot that moves with light touches of comedy, sentiment and slight conflict.”

In the outer lobby is a large black-and-white photo of the Greenbelt Theatre on opening night, with a long line of people waiting outside.

Keegan Costa (7) and his grandmother Dellarese Damon

Bianca (8) and Giovanna (6) Bonner

Sylvia and Robert Lewis

From left Bob, Deb, and Paige (9) Tinsley, Judy and Isabel (8) Walder stand in the inner lobby.

They stand in front of a “Super Simplex 35mm optical sound projector with carbon arc lamp circa 1930s.” “This Super Simplex projector head is the second model after the Simplex which was made during the ‘silent’ film era. The Super Simplex model was made in the 1930s to be used with an optical sound on film reader, driven by an electric motor for constant speed projecting at 24 frames per second. The film moves at a speed of 90 feet per minute.” The Greenbelt Theatre has a Simplex 35mm projector upstairs.

75th Anniversary Committee members Lois Rosado and Betty Timer

Barbara Young, another member of the 75th Anniversary Committee, stands by a cutout of Humphrey Bogart

Angela Handran, Greenbelt Theatre’s manager, works behind the counter. Handran has been manager since November 2006.

Viola (10), Julian (12), Jonah (14), and Ezra (10) Pitts

Mom Libby, Madeline (1), Eleanor (3), and Dad Benjamin Skolnik

Lois Rosado of the 75th Anniversary Committee introduces the movie. She stands in front of the theatre’s 40-foot Cinemascope screen. Greenbelt Theatre is one of very few single-screen movie theatres in the area. (Another famous single-screen theatre is Uptown Theater in D.C. which opened in 1936.)

20th Century Fox


Shirley Temple was born in 1928 and was 10 years old when this film was released in 1938.

A model of Greenbelt Theatre and a photo of Charlie Chaplin

A poster for King of the Wild Chapter 9 The Door of Dread and a photo of Marilyn Monroe

A photo of Humphrey Bogart

A poster for Robinson Crusoe on Mars, a photo and cutout of Humphrey Bogart

The wallpaper in the inner lobby is a montage of classic film stars.

The ticket booth between two front-entrance doors

Angela Handran takes off the “Little Miss Broadway” poster from the ticket booth.

Madeline Skolnik (1) takes a break in the lobby.

She has only been able to stand up recently.

Danny Tran, concessionaire, opens the door for theater patrons after the movie.

Krissy, her mother Edith, and grandmother Virginia Beauchamp

Photographs of historic theaters hang on the wall.
Cheverly Theatre (1947). 950 seats. Opening day. Closed 1972. Now the Public Playhouse
Beltsville drive-in. 1000 car capacity. Demolished
Hyattsville Theatre (1940). 900 seats. Demolished 1966

Allen Theatre, Takoma Park (1951). 950 seats. Opening night. Closed 1990
Cheverly Theatre (1947). 950 seats. Opening day. Closed 1972. Now the Public Playhouse

Danny Tran takes the ticket stub collector in.


Written by eric

August 22, 2012 at 8:00 am

Posted in Anniversary, Art, History

Tagged with , ,

One Response

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  1. […] Saturday, after the showing of Little Miss Broadway, I had a chance to go up to the projection booth of the Greenbelt Theatre […]

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