Saturday, October 1, 2011

E.M. Loew's, 261 Main St., Worcester, MA

Architect: Arlan W. Johnson

The theatre opened as the Plymouth Theatre on November 24, 1928. According to the Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ it did have a 2/8 Robert Morton organ. The newspaper article on the opening identified "Buddy" Webber at the console of Our Mighty Organ.
A venue for mainly movies and vaudeville performances.
Operated by Alfred Gottesman who sold out to Warner Bros. in 1929.(3)

The theatre then had a rectangular marquee with white letters on a black background. Attractions were “This Thing Called Love” and “Dangerous Game”. There appears to be a ticket booth in the center under the marquee. The street in front consists of cobblestones and also trolley tracks. The Report says the Plymouth is on Main St.,that it has been playing MGM product for over 10 years; is over 15 years old (in 1941) and in Fair condition. Seating is listed as 1400 on the main floor and 1200 in the balcony, total: 2600. (these figures were probably rounded up.) Competing theatres are listed as the Olympia (Art), and the Elm Street. Worcester’s population in 1941 was 193,000.

Nate Goldberg, manager of the Plymouth, discovered a Worcester GI played an extra in a scene for “Paisan” and capitalized on it, the story hitting page one of the dailies when the picture played the Plymouth. It became the  E. M. Loew Center for the Performing Arts on April 14, 1980 and the Palladium after that.(1)

It was featured on Sci-Fi's "Ghost Hunters" series on 4/6/06 (Bryan Krefft).
The marquee still has E.M. Loew's on it.

"I am the janitor of the Palladium in Worcester, MA. It holds 2160 patrons, not 2633. It is a wonderful place to work for a lover of older architecture. I will never tire of caring for my old theatre. The original chandelier from its movie palace days still lights the balcony. The bowling alley in the basement is long since defunct. Most of the old marble, (stairs, walls) is still intact. Though long unused, the screen is still perched high above the stage. My old theatre is still alive and kicking and I do love it dearly."(8)

The "upstairs" room is small and wonderful but I wonder what it was originally? It's just above lobby level and lies under the floor of the main theatre. Anyone know what it was originally?(5)

It's hand-painted architecture stands the test of time and can be still seen to this day. The velvet curtains, elegant columns, and central chandelier were all common in theatres during the early twentieth century, but it would be rare to see such detail put into a chain movie theatre being built today. Besides the Palladium’s main theatre hall, there were offices upstairs that housed dentists, dance studios, and a foot support company, and in the basement there once was a bowling alley. The main theatre went through its’ club stages, endured multiple renovations, and today has a two bars - one downstairs and one upstairs. The downstairs theatre serves as a live concert venue for mainly non-mainstream and/or up and coming bands of multiple genres and the upstairs is mainly reserved for small acts or local bands. (Adam Straughn)

There is a balcony which is rarely seen open, but the main area is tiered to allow for better viewing. The main floor is on the smaller side, but just makes the venue feel more informal. There is no AC, no ventilation.

Featured on Sci-Fi's "Ghost Hunters" television series in 2006.

Jerry performed here on
11/9/82 Early and late shows Jerry Garcia Band

1.)^Boxoffice magazine, 1949-03-19.
2.)^sat123, comments, 2012-03-12,
3.Goodkin, Barry, comments, 2007-10-09,
4.)^rsalters, comments, 2007-04-22,
5.)^ododson3, comments, 2006-09-09,
6.)^btkrefft, comments, 2006-04-06,
7.)^Goodkin, Barry, comments, 2005-10-25,
8.)^(T.R.Koski, comments, 2005-09-22,
9.)^Keenan, Walter, comments, 2012-11-09,
E. M. Loew, "Worcester Palladium (E.M. Loew’s)," in Digital Worcester, Item #192,


  1. Hey it's me the janitor Tim again. In answer to the upstairs room question (5). The upstairs room was originally not so much a separate room but more of an ornate extention of the lobby with wonderful high ceilings with awesome art deco plaster work.The bathrooms up there were there but not that bar. There was a fountain behind where the bar is. That was altered to the basic current form in I believe the early 1990s when the nightclub thing started.If anyone wants to help me fix it up we have a restoration fund link on our page Thanks guys