Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


February 13, 2014

No movie theater, no problem

Film screenings popping up all across town

Andover may not have a movie theater, but that doesn’t mean you can’t catch a movie in town.

Every month, movies are rolling in some unexpected places — the senior center, the college at the town line and even at the local churches.

Faith Lutheran Church is the latest to get into show business — showing movies that is.

The South Main Street church launched the monthly series in January thanks to the efforts of Alan Thoday of Andover, who made his living in special effects for movies, theme parks and museums.

Thoday, who lives on Mayflower Drive, was part owner of a long fibre modacrylic fabric company in Lawrence. His company provided special effects needs for numerous Hollywood characters, including King Kong and the Muppets.

His company was eventually sold to a branch of Disney, but he keeps in touch with two pals from the old days, David Janzow and Dick Wells, owners of a special effects company in Hollywood called Shafton, Inc.

The pair share Thoday’s attraction with classic movies and regularly send them his way to enjoy.

Now, Thoday is sharing them with the community by organizing a free monthly movie night at Faith Lutheran that is open to the public.

The inaugural screening of “The Heiress,” the 1949 Academy Award winner starring Olivia De Havilland and Montgomery Clift, brought an audience of more than 20 viewers to watch it on the church’s 72-inch screen.

“We think there is a lot of interest for this ... members have expressed an interest in seeing classic movies and getting to know each other through this medium,” said Roland Jacobson of Andover, another church member who is helping to organize the movie club.

Thoday said Andover at one time boasted its own movie houses. Take a closer look at the entrance to retail stores at 7 Elm St. It once was home to Wonderland theater and its column entrance can barely be seen if you look just right between the hair salon and nail shop.

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