Showing 26 - 50 of 179 comments
I think that I have put the issue of location to bed.
The first Smithfield Theater – The Jamestown was located in the 100 block of Main Street and closed in April 1931.
In April 1932, Captain Scott opened the Smithfield in a building next to the Delk Department Store located in the 200 Block of Main. He leased the building from Mr. Delk.
In 1937, Jesse Scott, now the owner, purchased the theater building and an adjoining building from Mr. Delk and remodeled the Smithfield into a theater that sat about 60% more.
In May 1940, Pitts-Roth Chain purchased Theatre and in July, the Theatre was remodeled.. Seating of 400 on main floor and 150 in the balcony for the black community.
Added restrooms for both races.
Pitts-Roth owned the Theatre until 1955 when they sold to a local resident, Roy Richardson.
The Jamestown Theater did close in April 1931. It was located in the 100 block of Main Street in the Jamestown Hotel Building.
The Smithfield Theater opened in May 1932 in another building in the 200 block of Main Street.
The Jamestown and the Smithfield did not share a physical location though the Manager of the Smithfield was also the first Manager of the Smithfield.
The Smithfield was built by Captain Scott of Hampton who had operated the Messick Theater in Poquoson, the American in Phoebus, the Rex, The Scott and The Lyric in downtown Hampton.
I talked to the Editor of the local newspaper this a.m. He grew up in Smithfield. The Smithfield Theater did not open next to the Jamestown Theater which was in the 100 block of Main Street. The Smithfield opened next to Delk’s Department Store at 229 Main Street and was open at that location until it closed. Both the Delk building and the Theatre building remain in place being used for office and retail space.
Just added two photos of the theater – one with the fire in 1946
I do not think that it was built next to the Jamestown based on what I have seen on-line. Just my opinion. The Historical Society said that the address was 229 and is now occupied by a lawyer – would think that they would be in the know
The local historical society sent me the following message:
The Smithfield theatre was located at 229 Main Street
November 24, 1982 – Story in Norfolk Journal and Guidea.Fire heavily damaged the Magic Lantern Theater in Suffolk November 18, 1982b.Fire officials have charged three men with arson in the early morning blaze.
Note 1: The men arrested were the owners
Note 2: Arson was suspected from the outset due to the fact that the projectors had been removed from the theatre prior to the fire.
Just posted a Jan 1928 ad in the photo section
Found a story on the naming of the Broadway Theatre in Suffolk dated March 1, 1924. Posted on photo page.
I just posted a news story in the Daily Press Newspaper showing the Oct. 17, 1910 date. Check it out
The two movies shown in the display ads in front of the theatre were released in 1921 per IMDB. Thus fire must have been in 1921 and theatre closed.
per a news article that I just posted, it opened in 1917
Just found an article in a Nov 7, 1938 news article regarding the “Recently Opened Wardley Theatre”. Have posted it on the photo page.
The Palace Theatre opened on November 3, 1917.
The original building was demolished and rebuilt and opened in 1940.
The first Sunday showing at the Palace was June 2, 1940
The Palace played its first X movie, “ILSA”, in January 1976.
The Palace played a lot of Black Exploitation type movies in 1976 and 1977
The last ad for the Palace found appeared in the June 6, 1978 issue of the Daily Press
All of the other Downtown Newport News Theaters – The Warwick, The Paramount and the Downtown – were all playing XXX movies in their last days during the late 70’s
I was able to find ads in the local paper only in 1950 and 1951 other than the 1958 ad about midget races. No information to state that the Drive-In was still operating at that time. Just posted that ad.
The Lee Theatre, a part of the Pitts Circuit, opened on Oct 2, 1947 and closed on Nov 13, 1958 per news articles in the local newspaper
I found a number of ads dated from Feb 1971 to April 1971 of the Lisa Theatre that operated in the Old York Theater. No other information available. See ad that I posted on Photo Page.
I think that the information above is incorrect regarding the Regal Theater and The Rappanna.
Ad appearing in the local newspaper indicates that they were separate locations.
The address listed for the Rappanna Theatre is 235 Virginia Ave and the Regal was listed at 251 Virginia Ave.
Movie ads show the Regal operating as late as July 7, 1938 playing Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It was open as early as Feb 1983 per a story in the local news. It had 225 seats and was later used as the Town Hall.
The Rappanna Theatre was opened Oct 16, 1931 per ad in local newspaper. It had 225 seats also. During the days before integration, Blacks were allowed to attend but had to sit in the balcony. There was a fire on Feb. 24, 1949 that destroyed the building and it was rebuilt and re-opened on Oct 13, 1949.
It was operated by the Local Volunteer Fire Department from 1964 to 1982 as a fund raiser. They actually purchased the building in 1967.
In February 1982, the interior of the theater was covered with a layer of soot when the furnace malfunctioned and it was closed. Does not appear that it opened again as a movie theater
In its last days it served as a venue for community events.
It was sold in April 1984 to local businessmen who opened a Teen Club called the Balcony.
One bit of trivia that I found interesting is that in 1938,it played a short documentary demonstrating 3D -with colored glasses being supplied to the patrons.
The Jefferson was open in 1971- per newspaper ad. There is a listing for this theater in the City Directory for 1971- does not appear in 1972 City Directory. Appears that the theater closed in 1971
Found this on line in regard to the Cavalier Theatre:
In 1964 the Loth Corporation sold the theaters to the B&K Virginia Corporation, then in April, 1966, Davidson Theaters in Washington D.C. acquired the Wayne Theatre on a long-term lease but passed on the Cavalier, which was forced to close. The building was purchased and torn down by Advance Auto.
Bruton Heights Theater was held in the School auditorium at Bruton Heights School – a Black school in Williamsburg, Va
This was in the days of segregation.
The school served as a school for the Black Community from 1940 – 1966.After integration it served the community until 1989.
Prior to the opening of the Bruton Heights Theater, there were few movie venues for Blacks in Williamsburg.
The Apollo on Bypass Road operated from 1934 to 1938 before closing
The New Theater, at Nicholson & Botetourt, operated from 1934 to 1936.
The only other venue was a Black only parking section at the Stockade Drive In Theater on Richmond Road from 1941-1963.
The Bruton Heights Theater operated from 1941 to 1954 per the Motion Picture Daily Annual Publication.
Some ads appeared in the Williamsburg Gazette over the years but not on a regular basis.
Per local newspaper ads and City Directories:
Blane Twin – 1969-1973Martin Twin – 1974-1990Carmike – 1990-2002
Per the story: The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011. According to the application submitted for it’s inclusion, “Donk’s Theatre was constructed in 1946-1947 and features vernacular commercial form design with Art Deco touches.” It was originally built as a movie theater, and operated in that capacity until 1970.
Drive-In 54, these are wonderful photos. Thanks so much for sharing. First time I have ever seen shots of what it looks like. Again, thank, wsasser
Just posted a newspaper story and photo of the opening of the Jefferson Theater