The Waldorf Theater's Closing
On April 13, 1929, the Waldorf Theater on Elm Street closed its doors for good after some 44 years of operations. Competition from the new Embassy Theater and Central Square Theater was too much for the Waldorf which specialized in plays and vaudeville acts.
The last play put on by the Waldorf Players was "The Three Wise Fools," a comedy by Austin Strong. It showed from April 8, 1929, to the closing a week later.
In the Waldorf scrapbook listed under donations, Phyllis P. Wilson writes, "I worked at the Waldorf Theater from the Fall of 1926 until it closed on April 13, 1929, selling candy, occasionally selling tickets, ushering, prompting, serving tea at matinee receptions and appearing on stage in non-speaking parts. Isaac Gordon was the owner, Bill Munster was the manager, Howard Rooney was the ticket taker, Joe Kinchla was the head usher. It was a happy time, between wars and before the Depression."
[Editors note: This, of course was the end of the "Roaring Twenties." No other known group produced live plays in Waltham like the Waldorf Players. After the worst of the Depression was over the Hovey Players of Waltham was started in 1936.]
Embassy Theater/Moody St.
Recently an expert on the old Embassy Theater told us that the main lobby was originally designed in an Oriental style but later changed to the Spanish style that we all remember. The theater had a projector with gears that would show a full moon on the ceiling at the beginning of the movie. It would reduce to a « moon, ¬ moon, etc. as the movies were being shown. When the moon was gone the movie was over. Also, the clouds were displayed by a slide projector as a revolving disc made the clouds and moon move realistically. In later years these moving parts were in disrepair and everything was stationary.
The Hovey Memorial 541–549 Main Street
Recently, Katherine Olesky, a staff member of the new owners of the Hovey Memorial, asked the Waltham Museum about the history of Hamblin L. Hovey.
Hamblin L. Hovey grew up in Waltham before the Civil War. After the Civil War started in April of 1861, Hovey joined the US Cavalry on September 23, 1861 and was assigned to M Company of the First Cavalry. On May 23, 1863, he was disabled and was discharged.
When he returned to Waltham he took a position in a coal and wood business operated by Jonas Wilis Parmenter. In 1868 Hovey married H. Adelaide Paramenter, the daughter of Jonas, and they lived at 532 Main Street.
As the years went by Hovey had a very successful business career. He was president of the Waltham Grain Company; vice president of the Waltham Hospital; a director of the Waltham National Bank, and later the bank's president for ten years. He also was president of the Newton-Watertown Gas and Light Company.
Hamblin Hovey died in 1904 and Adelaide in 1927. Mrs. Hovey permitted all income from her husband's estate to accumulate for the building of the Hovey Memorial in 1929. It served as a community auditorium for many years. In addition the Hovey Players were organized in 1936 and performed stage production at the Hovey Memorial until 1953 when the building was sold to the IBEW electrical union.
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