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I have revised the history of both of these theatres after doing some cross-researching and unraveling.
New research shows the Bellevue open as early as 1951.
By comparing addresses I found a fourth theatre on Chelsea, at Fifth St. It was named the Chelsea and was operating in the teens (1914-1917) and was probably a storefront.
Opened by General Cinema in 1975, expanded by Malco in 2002.
Opened in 1996.
I am so sorry, I forgot to post the details of Bill’s gathering. A few friends from all over gathered at the former Guild Theatre on Monday, June 10. We watched his documentary “Return to the Ritz, or, Thrilled to the Guild” and all present enjoyed listening to his inimitable voice and delivery once again. The documentary was made in 1990. Several friends from far and wide donated to have a cenotaph placed in his memory at Elmwood Cemetery. It has been ordered but not yet placed. The event is no longer posted on Facebook but a photo of the marker will be posted after it is placed.
The Queen’s actual address, 90 N Main, is the vacant lot just out of frame on the left.
Row of buildings on North Main taken in 2013. The orange sign at the end is the building which housed the Majestic/Empire theatre. A building formerly on the vacant lot just out of frame once housed the Queen Theatre. No traces of either remain.
When this was shown to me at the archives I heard the comment that it had burned.
A new photo of the entire front and vertical from 1961 has been posted. From the Fire Museum of Memphis, used with permission.
It appears that the commercial section of Fort Pickering, the town/suburb where the DeSoto was, has become industrial development and interstate highway. No trace of just about anything before the interstate construction.
I was finally out that way and took photos. The mall and grounds are beautifully kept though the former cinema is boarded up. The outside shots show the rear of the cinema section with its manicured bushes. The mall was struck by a tornado on February 5, 2008, which caused damage to the center court atrium and adjacent tenant spaces. The Sears store, the Macy’s store, and the mall’s main entrance were heavily damaged; temporary repairs made at record speed allowed Sears to reopen on Sunday, February 10, 2008. Later in 2008, World Overcomers Outreach Ministries Church began to progressively purchase the property, totaling $2.7M, including the empty Macy’s and Dillard’s stores. It is now a combination of retail and community services offices.
Jimmy Tashie at Malco commissioned this display and wanted it to resemble a hood ornament. It does.
A new night photo of the State has been posted.
If you haven’t seen it already, the Memphis Orpheum is on both front and back covers of this quarter’s Marquee magazine from the Theatre Historical Society.
That is a very interesting photo of the Orpheum, have not seen that one before. Whatever is on the marquee has been carefully retouched out. Note Milton Slosser’s name on the reader board.
The Stagedoor was a restaurant which was run by Malco for a short while. I have a matchbook from there. It was not open very long.
I am not surprised. Most of the “colored” movie theatres had some live entertainment and/or talent shows. I need to find that book since I have published a piece on “colored” balconies in this month’s Marquee magazine and have a book coming out with that included.
Also, it was the so-so business at the DeSoto and Kemmons' knack for the theatre business that led to the construction of the Airway, Summer Drive-In, and the W C Handy. Kemmons had a theatre serving each racial community within a few blocks of one another. The Airway on Lamar and the Handy on Park.
The people at the Wilson Companies are cataloguing a lot of old photos for the first time. The very nice woman in charge of that said she will let me know if any turned up.
I just posted a new photo. This is a drawing of a theatre addition from the Memphis and Shelby County Board of Adjustment now in the Memphis and Shelby County Room of the Memphis Public Library and Information Center. Used with permission.
It is titled as a prospective addition to the Lamar Theatre but it is not the addition that was actually built. It is dated 1934 and greatly resembles the only image I have ever seen of the Rialto Theatre on Jackson in newsreel footage.
A photo of the Bristol has been posted.
Marks are visible in the brickwork where the marquee supports were.
And he previewed them there!
The Williamson has disappeared without a trace. There might be an old picture of a building which housed it once upon a time. That building fell to urban renewal.