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Sign Painters Paradise – Wells Beach, Maine

For a great way to end the week we have an excellent postcard image taken in the late-1930s of an entertainment center in Wells Beach, Maine. The seaside town is located about fifteen miles north of the Maine-New Hampshire border and is a popular summertime destination in northern New England. The white sand beach is nearly three miles long, and the village of Wells Beach is located in the middle of it.

The enlargeable photo of the parking lot below contains a mixture of cars and trucks that date from about 1930 to 1938. Tells us what you find of interest in this photo from The Old Motor archives.

Dancing-Talking Pictures-Theater 1930s Cars and Trucks


29 responses to “Sign Painters Paradise – Wells Beach, Maine

  1. All modestly priced vehicles with the exception of the LaSalle (?) on the far right. Could that be the owner’s car? The autos also have different color license plates, a summer vacation destination. Are the three boys to the left on the porch employed as pin setters for the bowling alley? These campy low-brow and inexpensive summer places have all gone upscale today.

  2. Two movies , Man about town and Hell’s Kitchen, make this the summer of ’39. Light fare for the beach community with one of my favorites as a kid ..the dead end kids or Bowery boy’s later on. Jack Benny in the Man about town as well.

  3. Hells Kitchen playing at the Theatre. 1939 starring Ronald Reagan and the Dead End Kids. I like the Talking Pictures sign. And thanks for a great site, Mike.

  4. Most cars are from the big three, except the 1934 Terraplane convertible facing the camera and the 1928 Hupmobile Century next to it.

    • I remember seeing the film “Popi” with my mother. That would put the date at July 1969. I believe the theater closed not long after that. The space is now occupied by a couple of shops. The dance hall was replaced by a hotel, Lafayette’s Oceanfront Resort. It pretty much occupies the same footprint.

    • —Going by memory from a book: large number of theaters were silent in 1929, when the talkies hit. Many of the movie houses just showed re-runs of silents from before the sound era, through 1934. The first “short” was “The Great Train Robbery” in 1903. They had a 26 year backlog of old films to show.

      —If the sign is confusing because it said “talking pictures,” maybe it was a ten year old sign at the time.

      • The poster on the wall near the pick-up truck acting as a rolling billboard is for a 1939 movie called “Man About Town.” I found a matching poster online, but cannot place a link here.

        • A collectors site called “movieposter (dot) com” is selling a copy of the poster near the rolling billboard pick up truck for $599.99.

          An article about the decline of silent films is on a website called “The Mary Sue.” it is by Natasha Simons, and dated December 15, 2011. It says that some silent movies made after 1929 were successful, and found audiences.

  5. I’ll take one of the ’37 Ford Tudor Sedans and the ’39 Ford Standard Fordor Sedan, just the way they sit….please. Who do I make the check out to ? ?

  6. Of all the cars in the photo the one to own today would be the ’34 ford rumble seat roadster or convertible – Can’t tell which one it is. ( rollup windows or not ). Either way it’s highly sought after by collectors .

  7. A favorite of stock car racers was the ’37 ford Business coupe with V-8 60 with light tubular front axle! Out came the V-8 60 & its trans. In went the V-8 85 & its trans . A very popular Winner of many races in the late 30’s & early ’40’s . Contrary to popular belief , their ’37 & ’38 Cable Mechanical brakes were excellent , — especially if they had “floating anchors”, plus a very good holding emergency brake, as it applied all four wheels! (Popular bootlegger car, also!!!)

  8. I used to go to dances , 2nd floor dance hall. I saw Chubby Checker and Freddie Cannon therein early 60’s. I also set pins in the bowling alleys for 2 summers also early 60’s. I think we were paid 10 cents a string, price to bowl was probably 25 cents. The most memorable movie I saw was Psycho directed by Alfred Hitchcock. We sat in the ” balcony” and screamed our heads off. To the right of the movie theatre was the arcade wher we played pinball machines for a nickel. They went up to a dime in the mid 60’s.

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