What Went On After Hours at New Bedford’s Cinema 140
Every now and again, an old ghost is conjured up bringing with it memories of the past. Who better to conjure up old ghosts than my friend and colleague, ghost chaser Tim Weisberg?
Tim's recent piece on these pages reflects on his memories of New Bedford's long-lost Cinema 140 and rekindled some of my own.
I recall my former company assisting the needy during the holiday season by offering free admission to the screening of the Disney classic Song of the South in exchange for some non-perishable food items. It was always a popular fundraiser. Song of the South is no longer considered socially acceptable and is seldom seen anywhere.
Cinema 140 closed in 2000 and the building was demolished.
My friend Nancy Beberness also has fond memories of Cinema 140. She ran the overnight cleaning crew at the theater for almost eight years. Beberness, born in Acushnet, has lived in New Bedford since marrying her husband 27 years ago. The couple has two sons.
When the curtain fell after the final performance each evening, Beberness and her cleaning crew moved in "cleaning the entire building, bathrooms, floors." In addition to her wages, Nancy got one free movie per week.
One might imagine that when the lights come up in a darkened movie theater and the crowd goes home, the cleaning crew would find some interesting things left behind.
"OMG! Interesting to say the least," Beberness said, noting her clean-up crew would find "false teeth, clothing, you name it."
"I once had a guy call me at 2 a.m. because his wife lost her gold tooth, and he offered me $100 if I found it," she said.
That was after a presentation of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. She didn't find the gold tooth.
Beberness said her cleaning crew also found wallets, pocketbooks, cash, coins, and "lots of underwear." She said empty booze bottles were a common find as was the occasional needle.
She said cleaning up after moviegoers at Cinema 140 was the "best job ever."
"The boss was great, and so were the co-workers," she said.
Beberness, who has worked at Walmart in North Dartmouth for the last 15 years, is also president of the Tavares Fan Club since 1981.