Sunday, October 28, 2007

You Can't Shout Fire In A Movie Theatre

The Strand marquee (formerly the Emmett) is visible in the middle of this picture.

I had never heard of the Emmett Theatre before I found this article. The building wasn't there in 1905, but is shows up on this map. It stood on the south corner of Centre Street and Starr Lane. I wish they told us what was playing that day.

Boston Daily Globe May 4 1912

Prevents Fire-Panic By Ruse

Manager Finds Roof of Theatre Ablaze.

Dismisses Audience on Plea Picture Machine Is Broken.

People Amazed on Seeing Engines Working Outside.

Prompt action by the firemen and the coolness of the manager, Arthur Thompson, prevented the possibility of a panic when the roof of the Emmett Theatre, Jamaica Plain, took fire about 4:30 yesterday.

Mr Thompson first became aware of the danger on smelling smoke. Leaving the hall quietly so as not to disturb the audience, largely women and children, he walked out into the street, but could see no signs of fire there. His fears allayed, he started back into the building and up into the hall by a rear stairway. There he saw smoke issuing through cracks in the roof.

He ran downstairs and across the street to the house of Engine 42 and notified the firemen. A fireman who was seated at the window had seen the smoke at the same time and he hastened to notify the officer at the patrol box.

Returning to the hall, Mr Thompson found the moving picture operator reeling off the last picture of the performance and told him of the fire, and he promptly stopped the machine, cutting the picture short. Mr Thompson stepped forward on the stage and informed the audience that the moving picture machinery was out of order and that he would unfortunately be obliged to close the performance at once.

The people, a trifle disappointed, but not suspecting danger, quietly left the building, and were greatly surprised when they reached the street to see the fire apparatus pouring streams of water on the blazing roof.

The fire was quickly extinguished and the damage was slight.

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