Log In   ·   Become A Member

Beloved Sag Harbor Movie Theatre: A Cinema With A History!

Remodeled and renamed in 1936, the Sag Harbor Cinema, as it is sometimes referred to, reputedly presented the first "talkie" film on the East End. (Photo: Eileen Casey)

The beloved Sag Harbor Movie Theatre, with its familiar white concave arc facade and red neon lettered 18-foot long sign underlined in blue and simply proclaiming SAG HARBOR, has welcomed community members and visitors to enter its Art Deco lobby and vintage auditorium to enjoy art house and eclectic films for more than 80 years.

Sadly, the theatre was demolished on Saturday, December 15, 2016 following a fire that began in the frigid early hours of December 14 on a deck behind the theatre. The blaze jumped to the roof of the theatre causing damage of such magnitude as to render the structure unsafe with no hope of renovation or restoration.

Opened on November 1, 1919 as the Elite Theatre, the name was changed to the Sag Harbor Theatre in 1927 when it was acquired by the Glynne chain for a then substantial sum between $35,000 and $40,000.

Remodeled and renamed in 1936, the Sag Harbor Cinema, as it is sometimes referred to, reputedly presented the first "talkie" film on the East End (1929 "Kitty"). The new John Eberson designed theatre razed the auditorium and the structure became a two-story, steel-and-concrete theater with stucco walls.

At the time of the fire, the present owner, Gerald Mallow, had recently placed the theatre on the market for sale at $14 million (2015). Mallow has previously been seeking $12 million (2008). Having faced community outrage in 2004 when he removed the iconic sign from the facade to install a new neon replacement, community members saved the original nine rounded, sheet metal letters, and raised funds to build an exact replica of the original in aluminum which was installed in 2005.

Whatever comes to occupy the 7,000-square foot space at 90 Main Street in Sag Harbor will become part of the historic lineage of a village whose residents have always looked at the familiar theatre as a statement that they are home.

Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.

Be the first to comment on this article. (Just fill out the form below)

Submit Your Comment

Please note, you are not currently logged in. Your comment will be submitted as a guest.
To submit your comment as a member, please click here.
Your Name:
* Comments will be reviewed and posted in a timely fashion
* All fields are required
Please type the word 'water'
(For spam prevention, thanks)
Bridgehampton National Bank
For over 100 years Bridgehampton National Bank has been the East End's hometown bank. Many success stories...one bank, BNB!

Advertise on Hamptons.com - Have your business be seen by over 2 million viewers including NEW searches
Hamptons.com- Our exclusive online magazine has 2.6 million Page Views YTD for 2015. Contact us to join our elite group of clients that benefit from having a presence on the Hamptons award winning publication www.Hamptons.com

Hamptons Carpet One Floor & Home
We pay less,and so do you.With over 1,000 stores in our buying group, we can get the lowest prices from the best flooring manufacturers and pass the savings on to you.Visit our other locations: Hamptons Carpet One Floor & Home, 675 North Sea Road,Southampton, NY 11968

Southampton Masonry-Visiting the Southampton or the Wainscott locations is an exciting experience.
Southampton Masonry has been serving Long Island's masonry and tile needs since 1975. Delivering quality products from Manhattan to Montauk for over three decades. The company's continued success is due primarily to their number one priority: customer satisfaction, with a promise of prompt and courteous service from the professional, knowledgeable staff. Southampton Masonry has the largest inventory on the east end. As direct importers they can offer a large variety of the finest quality products at the most competitive pricing for both your interior and exterior projects.

RJD Gallery specializes in contemporary art with a focus on Magical, Figurative Realism, Narrative Portraiture and Urban Landscape.
We exhibit representational artists from around the world, who produce fine art of exceptional quality that challenge collectors to contemplate concepts about the artist, themselves, and our human experience. Utilizing timeless techniques in creating their drawings, paintings and sculptures, our artists have developed unique, signature styles that present a current vision of our world.