The Greenfield Garden Cinema in Greenfield, Massachusetts will be celebrating its 94th birthday on March 11. As part of the festivities, the theatre will offer two free movies for the public to choose from: Singin’ in the Rain (1952) and Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985).
“These two movies from different generations are both comedy classics,” said Garden co-owner Isaac Mass. “We just love the sense of whimsy they offer. They are our gift to the community on our 94th birthday.”
Greenfield Garden Cinema was opened by the Goldstein Brothers on March 11, 1929, as the largest movie theatre in Greenfield. Designed by Mowll & Rand of Boston, it is on the National Historic Register.
Joined later by the Capitol in Athol, the Garden was one of two atmospheric colonial theatres in the country. The original opening-day program and Marr and Colton pipe organ can be seen in the theatre lobby today.
Dividing it into a seven-screen multiplex in the late 1980s, the Goldstein family operated the theatre until 1999, when the theatre was taken by the city for back taxes and restaurateur George Gohl won the bid to operate the cinema. The Goldstein family recovered the property and allowed Gohl to continue to operate the cinema, finally selling the building to him and his husband, Bill Gobeille, in 2006.
In November 2019, current owners Isaac and Angela Mass took over the theatre, buying the building in September of the following year. In the last several years, the theatre has seen improvements, including the installation of new carpets with the original 1929 pattern, remodeling of the concession area, adding a beer and wine license, expanding to create the Bored Room video arcade, soundproofing theatres, and upgrading servers and audio equipment.
“We even reinstalled a fish tank,” co-owner Angela Mass said. “We heard so many stories about the fish tank, and we were so pleased to bring it back.”
The Mass family is working on future improvements, including façade repair and rebuilding the original ticket booth.