2013-01-25 / People

A Window on the Past

Maine Mall Cinema was a big deal for residents
By Kathryn DiPhilippo
South Portland Historical Society


Maine Mall Cinema has three theaters, which impressed many people. Before this cinema, most theaters contained one screen. (Courtesy photo) Maine Mall Cinema has three theaters, which impressed many people. Before this cinema, most theaters contained one screen. (Courtesy photo) Last week, we ran a photograph of LaVerdiere’s Super Drug Store; that photo has continued to generate a lot of interest among our Facebook followers. Our photograph this week is another popular image with Facebookers.

It comes from the Peter and Paul Jeffery collection at the society, showing an image of the Maine Mall Cinema that was located at 391 Maine Mall Road across from Sears. The footprint of the old cinema has long been vacant, but the grassy lot was once covered by this cinema, toward the back. At the front of the lot, just to the left out of the photo, there was a Pizza Hut and to the right of the photo stood the old IHOP restaurant.

We’ve received some terrific memories from people of this old movie theater. Peter Wildes wrote, “Rode my bike down the highway to see the first showing of ‘Star Wars’ there, 1977.”

As younger people of today might not realize, the giant multiplex theaters weren’t around much before our theater was built. Earlier generations in South Portland would go to watch a movie at a onescreen theater, like the Cape Theater. Holly Lynn remembers “when three movies in the same place was awesome!”

Some of the Maine Mall Cinema’s former employees also saw and commented on the photo. Kathy Amoroso wrote, “My first real job was there, working the concessions. I got paid student minimum wage of $2.85/hour. It was fun and I made some good friends and got to see all the free movies I wanted.”

When there were popular movies at Maine Mall Cinema, you used to have to make sure to arrive early. Nicole Swiger King captured this memory, “I remember standing in line for ‘Star Wars!!’ The line was wrapped all the way around the building!!”

If you enjoy looking at nostalgic photographs, we hope you will resolve to become a member of the South Portland Historical Society for 2013. Our local historical society is supported by the voluntary donations of residents and businesses in our community. An individual membership is $15 – please make your check out to South Portland Historical Society and mail to 55 Bug Light Park, South Portland, ME 04106. If you’d like to donate by credit card, call us at 767-7299 or go to our website at http://www.sphistory.org/ and use the “donate now” button. Thanks for your support.

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