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#98: Bellmore 'Much More Than' Movies Theater

Not one thing to do, but so many in this one very special "showplace!"

The Bellmore Movies is a one-of-a-kind treasure sometimes overlooked by native Bellmorites, who once knew it as “the Itch” before it was restored and revitalized by current owners Anne and Henry Stampfel.

Built in 1917, it was a silent movie house in its earliest days, but became known for second-run films and the occasional double-feature through the 1980s. This modestly designed and decorated gem is reportedly the oldest operating theater on Long Island, and is the last single-screen movie house around, replete with a 32-inch high, 18-foot wide stage. 

Today, it has truly become the place -- now also dubbed “The Showplace” on its marquee -- where the strange, the sublime, and everything in between, converge to entertain. Where else on Long Island can you enjoy single-screen feature films, live Broadway-like musicals, children’s plays, variety shows … in other words, who knows what’s next?

Some examples of our Bellmore “not just” movie theater's offerings:

  • “Broadway in Bellmore” musicals: most recently "Cabaret" and "It Had to Be You." Coming soon: "Nunsense" (March); "Bye Bye Birdie" (May & June).
  • Live children's stage shows offered by Plaza Theatrical Productions:  currently "Sleeping Beauty", "Cinderella" coming in March, "Dora the Explorer" in April,  and entertaining specials during school vacations -- February's "Blues Clues Live!" and April's "Dora."
  • The imagined and unimaginable: Dr. Frank-n-Furter fans have come at midnight for the “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” classic movie mavens have come for revivals or classics, mystery lovers have viewed Long Island ghost story films -- just imagine what future offerings there might be!
  • The Long Island International Film Expo: the 14th annual film expo returns this year, July 8-14. (This might just deserve its own "thing to do" posting later this year!)
  • Live entertainment: local bands, singers or musicians, the spry octogenarian Mickey Rooney performing  his tribute to Judy Garland a few years back ... and the tradition continues as "Stevie GB's Bigger Variety Show" arrives Feb. 20.
  • First-run feature films:  Usually the season’s quality pick, shown one at a time, of course, on the theater’s single-screen!  Now playing? Oscar-nominated "The King’s Speech".

Oh, and don't forget, they also have great popcorn!  

Come back here next Tuesday for idea #97!

Do you have any comments about this week's "thing to do"? Share your thoughts below!

What's your favorite thing to do Bellmore? Please let me know by e-mailing me at nhiler@optonline.net.

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