The Crandell Theatre: Community living room

“The Crandell Theatre is not about making millions of dollars off of the newest box office hits. The Crandell is about making memories and sharing the experience with fellow moviegoers. As a non-profit organization, the Crandell continues to provide affordable prices and a safe place to relax and hang out with friends, family, and neighbors. Since 1926, the Crandell has been just that, the community living room: a venue made for sitting back, smiling, and enjoying the show.

Friday nights at The Crandell

is the subject of many fond memories for not only most Chathamites, but also many residents from surrounding towns. Many of the locals who were interviewed vividly remembered the excitement of a Friday night at the Crandell. Planning began at school. What movie was showing? Who was going? Should we meet at the Mini Chopper parking lot, or the bank parking lot? The lines at the Crandell provided the social media of the day. “While you waited in line, you got to hang out and talk with your friends,” said Wendy Madsen, a lifelong Chatham resident. For Sara Murray, a current Chatham teacher who grew up in Stuyvesant, going to the Crandell was the most affordable way to catch up with friends who lived in a different town. According to Mrs. Murray, when she was growing up, her mom “used to make [her] pay if [she] made a long distance call from Stuyvesant to Chatham,” so she would wait, save her money, and catch them at the Crandell instead. Another popular memory was the soda machine in the lobby. “I remember the paper cup falling out of the machine and filling up with ice and soda,” exclaimed Kristine Mackowski, who grew up going to the theatre on Friday nights. While the lobby soda machine tended to dispense more ice than soda, it still made the top of the list of memories from the Crandell amongst many attendees. Not only did the soda machine quench the thirst of many patrons, but it was also another social gathering place filled with kids chugging their beverages because open drinks were prohibited in the theatre. Although much of our world has changed since the Crandell opened in 1926, one thing that has remained the same is the importance of the Crandell Theatre in the community. Over the past ninety-two years, the Crandell has proved to be a cherished place for both movie enthusiasts and social butterflies alike.

Hidden Crandell Costs

The Crandell Theatre that you know and love is at a financial disadvantage when it comes to showing the movies you enjoy. Interviewing Annie Brody, the Executive Director of the Crandell, brought out the fact that the Crandell pays an abundance of money to show each film. To show a movie at the Crandell, expenses include renting the external hard drive, which has the movies on it, and shipping fees incurred in obtaining and returning said hard drive. On top of that, the local theatre has to give the studio a percentage of the ticket sales from the movie, ranging anywhere from thirty-five to sixty-five percent. Even with careful budget- ing, it is necessary to be able to make adjust- ments in rental costs. For example, Universal Studios recently sent a revised invoice for the rental of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom because of its popularity. The original price of 60 percent of the ticket price was changed to 65. As a small theatre that tries to keep its ticket and concession prices affordable, it is difficult to compete with the mega movie corporations.

The Crandell is a fascinating theatre, and deserves to be treated like one.

Interesting Facts about the Crandell

  • The Crandell uses real butter on its popcorn.
  • In 2017, the Crandell was listed on both the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places.
  • There is an orchestra pit under the stage.
  • There are 534 seats in the theatre, 112 of which are in the balcony.