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March 28, 2014

Last picture show

Cabot Street Theatre, up for sale, stops showing movies

BEVERLY — For the first time in nearly a century, you can’t go to a movie in downtown Beverly.

Cabot Street Cinema Theatre owner David Bull said he and his partners have decided to stop showing movies entirely in order to concentrate on selling the historic theater, which has been up for sale since May.

Instead of the latest movie, the theater’s neon marquee now lists the name and contact information of the company handling the sale.

“It’s strange to be in town and not have the marquee lit up,” Bull said.

The decision to end movies at the Cabot follows the closing of the Le Grand David and His Own Spectacular Magic Show in 2012 after a 35-year run.

The magic company put the theater up for sale last year, then auctioned off the show’s costumes, props and other items last month. Bull said they were going to resume showing movies after the auction but ultimately decided against it.

Bull said the magic company bought the theater in 1976 primarily to stage the magic show. Showing movies was a way to keep the theater open seven days a week and to supplement their income.

“Once the magic company stopped in May of 2012, I think it was just a matter of time before the movies would stop,” he said.

The theater had been hosting movies almost continuously since it opened as the Ware Theatre on Dec. 9, 1920, with the silent movie “Behold My Wife.”

Bull said the real estate company, LandVest, suggested it might be easier to sell the theater if it is closed entirely.

“Without movies, it sends a very clear message that this really is being sold,” he said. “It’s really happening.”

Bull said potential buyers have been looking at the property, but nothing is imminent. The sale price is $1.35 million.

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