75th anniversary of Maplewood Theatre fire

By Jennifer McClain Movies were magic in December 1942. Bette Davis and Gary Cooper were superstars; the Academy Awards were handed out for both black and white and color films. Disney’s sophisticated animated film, “Fantasia,” hit the screens that year. Women’s eyebrows were perfect, sharp dark lines and men’s suits were fitted and double-breasted. This was also the year that film screenings ended on Lebanon Street in Malden — at least for a short time The night of December 18, 1942, was very cold and the sidewalks were icy and dangerous. Despite that, the Maplewood Theatre was packed. Was it because the theater was playing “Kitty Foyle,” the film that gave Ginger Rogers a Best Actress Oscar? The class-crossing romance started a whole new dress style known as the “Kitty Foyle Dress.” Or was it a packed theater because many there had dreams of rising above their class status by competing in “Bank Night.” “Bank Night” contributed to the ability of the film industry to survive during the Great Depression. This was an ingenious idea […]