SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

March 1, 2014

Sign of the times

Strong showing of neon signs remains on the North Shore

(Continued)

The sign’s future at the time was unknown when the Zoning Board of Appeals denied the owners based on the building inspector’s opinion that the sign was out of compliance, but the board changed its mind based on a court case. The sign’s original red, white and blue color scheme was replaced by green and gold.

“You certainly can’t miss it,” Hanson said. “You drive down the street and it’s in your face in a classy old-fashioned sign kind of way.”

The most iconic neon sign on the North Shore is arguably the teal glow of the Cabot Street Cinema. The sign was installed in 1965 when the original marquee was removed for the Ware Theatre when it was bought and the name changed, according the Beverly Historical Society.

“It has become an iconic landmark downtown,” said David Bull, president of White Horse Productions, which bought the theater in 1976. When the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011, pictures were taken of the trophy with the sign in the background.

“The photographer asked ‘What’s the landmark in Beverly?’ and they picked the Cabot Cinema marquee,” Bull said.

With the pending sale of the building it is unknown what the future brings for the sign, he said, but the group continues to maintain it for the time being. “We had a handyman in the other week to do some small repairs,” he said, noting the sign has to be “constantly” repaired.

Another sign with its future in question is Bertini’s restaurant on Canal Street in Salem. Owner John Bertini said he has been looking to move the sign in order to add an addition to the front of the building, but city won’t allow it, he said.

“The city doesn’t want neon anymore,” Bertini said. The sign was built in the early 1950s.

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