I remember the Bug House down on West Broadway near the corner F Street. Officially it was called Broadway Cinema but everyone called it The Bug House. I’m not really sure why but I never questioned its nickname – it’s what my parents and grandparents called it so I called it that too.
Rumor has it
The Bug House had two theaters side by side, a large concession stand and very scary bathrooms in the basement. The lovely Cher Dimanno worked in the box office and collected the money for tickets from customers. I recall Cher as being a sort of glamorous woman with lots of makeup who smoked a lot – but I could be completely off base on my description. It was rumored that if you slipped Cher some extra cash, she would let you into an R rated movie. I never had the nerve to test that rumor. I just stuck to the G and PG rated movies.
I saw Jaws at the Bug House. I also saw Freaky Friday with Jody Foster and Friday the 13th too. The movies were never new releases. They were usually released six months to a year before. But this fact was reflected in the ticket price and it was bargain for an kid living in Southie. You could bring $5 and get into the movie and have enough left over to purchase something from the concession stand.
Bringing in outside snacks or drinks was strictly prohibited. If you were suspected of smuggling in illegal contraband, you’d be frisked on site. Today, if you frisked a 12-year old girl, the cops would be called immediatly and maybe even an arrest made. But not back in the late 1970’s and early 80’s in Southie. You knew the rules going in – no outside snacks or drinks. You dealt with the consequences if you got caught. My experiences at the Bug House as a kid still causes fear and anxiety if I decide to sneak in a Kit Kat or a water in the movies to this day. #BugHouseSyndrome.
Sign of the times
I’m not exactly sure what year the Bug House closed its doors. I think I was in high school so I’m guessing the mid 1980’s. Mega-plex theaters were being built in the suburbs and us city kids were borrowing our parents cars and driving to Braintree or Randolph to go to the movies.
The building where the Bug House is currently being developed into condos.
Photo via Dirty Old Boston