Cecil Whitmire - Led restoration of the Alabama Theatre passes on

posted by jjmaccrimmon on August 24, 2010 at 8:01 am

BIRMINGHAM, AL — It’s with sadness that I’m noting the passing of Cecil Whitmire.

Cecil was a central figure in the successful restoration of The Alabama Theatre (“The Showplace of the South”) and was organizing the efforts to restore The Lyric Theatre nearby. He was one of the founders of Birmingham Landmarks Inc. which holds ownership of both theatres.

Cecil’s memorial service will be held at The Alabama Theatre.

“He was clearly the true believer in the potential of downtown,” said Michael Calvert, president of Operation New Birmingham. “He proved that if you give people a reason to come downtown, they will.”

Mr. Whitmire began a three-decade love affair with the Alabama in 1976, when he moved to Birmingham from Knoxville to manage a hardware company. The Alabama was still a movie theater, and Mr. Whitmire would play the Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ before shows, entertaining audiences with classic tunes, nearly always including “Stars Fell on Alabama.”

Read the full story in the Birmingham News.

Comments (1)

historiccinemas on August 24, 2010 at 9:01 am

Cecil is a great man. He, in my opinion, revolutionized the cinema restoration industry by proving a theatre can be restored with blood, sweat and tears without the crutch of state or federal funding. Rest in Peace. You have taught us well.

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