Showing 51 - 75 of 94 comments
That was the stage door of the Orpheum facing the Capitol Blvd side of the Knickerbocker. The front of the Orpheum faced 7th Avenue and there’s the rub. The Orph was opened as a vaudeville theater and vaude depended on foot traffic out front. No one ever walked up or down 7th Ave except to get uphill to the YMCA or downhill to Church Street. There was no crowd of people as there was on Church Street and so they failed as a venue for vaude.
It was then decided to make it a playhouse, in other words they booked roadshows of various kinds and in that role they prospered for a number of years. Stock companies presenting several plays, minstrel shows, magic shows, light opera companies and the occasional cinematic production were booked into the old Orpheum. Older Nashvillians know that during the Great Depression the Edward Bellamy Players went broke at the Orpheum and Mrs. Inez Bassett Alder bought the props and wardrobe for the Hume-Fogg dramatic department.
For awhile I was able to get every issue of Nashville Retropect but my wife broke her hip in December then then I had a stroke in April and we were both in a nursing home for quite awhile. Since then I have been somewhat resticted in getting around so can’t get back to the place I usually got these. I have some pix of the Paramount lobby I might be able to post someday.
tisloews: I was in that sign shop over fifty years ago. The guy who did the work up there was Monk Ferguson. Those windows above the marquee were the sign shop windows, the shop being right over the lobby entrance.
We lived in Washington in 1947 and my dad used to meet me and my mother every Friday after work to see vaudeville at the Loew’s Capitol. Of course we watched the movie too but it was the vaude we went for. My mother was once picked from the audience to direct Sammy Kaye’s orchestra and I still have the souvenir autographed baton he gave her. They also had “Follow the Bouncing Ball” singing between pictures. It was a great theater and I love to think about those days of my youth.
In checking this site out on the map I discovered an interesting tidbit that I never knew. This theater is on 1st Ave South but there is also a very short parallel street simply called 1st Avenue that only runs from Lafayette to Wharf Avenue. Both are more-or-less extensions of 1st Avenue which sort of plays out where Hermitage Ave begins.
So Cameron School is located between 1st Ave S and 1st Avenue. Odd!
Well, they did occasionally show movies as a special event but normally they had stage shows, originally vaudeville and then road shows of the type that had formerly played the Vendome.
Jack Coursey listed them in the paper he did for Mike Slate showing the various movie theaters here and I tried to write him at the e-mail address shown with the list but my e-mail came back undelivered. Must have changed addresses.
Jack, if you read this chime in and I’ll just paste the letter here.
My father always said that when the Warner Bldg was built it was planned that a theater be there but what with the Depression etc it didn’t get done for many years. I rode through town the night the Tennessee was opened and saw the crowds but didn’t get to go to the gala opening at which some movie premiered.
By the way I believe the old Capitol occupied part of the Odd Fellows building at 6th and Church. The Odd Fellows Lodge might have owned the property as I seem to recall that it was simply leased for 100 years to the builders of the Warner building and I understamnd they had a Lodge on the top floor. They might even yet own the propertty. I think the high-rise condo building there is called the Cumberland- is this correct?
The Dixie was on Fifth Avenue, not Church Street.
It opened in 1907 and according to one of Tony Sudekum’s grandsons the seating was 170 so that at 5Â¢ a seat a full house brought in $8.50.
It is said that the Dixie had Nashville’s first curved marquee featuring twelve electric light bulbs.
The Colonial was owned by one John F Marshall by 1918. In about 1926 it became the Elite (possibly having been bought by Crescent at the time) and survived under this name until demolished about 1935 or 36 and replaced by the Capitol. Note there were four Elites and two Capitols here at various times.
Why is there no listing for the Colonial Drive-In on Gallatin Road in Madison, or for that matter why not the Montague Drive-In also in Madison?
I believe that Lloyd Lawrence managed the original Madison at one time. He had two brothers who also managed Crescent houses: Johnny at the Rex and Joe at the Woodland.
The Hillsboro was operated by M A Lightman or “Malco” out of Memphis and had movies and vaudeville acts. It is said that Tony Sudekum built the Belmont on the next corner to run Lightrman out of Nashville and it worked.
The original entrance was on 21st and if you look at the tavern there called I believe the Villager you will see the name Hillsboro in the concrete and brick cornice of the building.
If you go inside the tavern and walk to the back you will see an atrium style lobby complete with a dome overhead. Worth the trip.
During the time when this was the Community Playhouse it also served as the Children’s Theater for plays directed at the younger set. If you went to these plays and saved your programs you could turn them in for admission to an Ice Cream Festival in the spring. I have attended many such.
One side of the Belcourt still has the beautiful proscenium arch and I believe the name Hillsboro can be seen in it.
This is a very late response to the question above about an Orpheum Theater in Nashville. Yes there was indeed an Orpheum. It faced 7th Avenue and the stage entrance was on Capitol Blvd right across from the Knickerbocker. In other words it was behind Castners and downhill from the YMCA. It was eventually torn down for a parking lot. It began life as a vaudeville house but later went to road shows and served as the playhouse here until the late 1930s, when those attractions started playing the Ryman. Why there is not a page on this program for our Orpheum I do not know. Possibly because it wasn’t a movie house, ergo not a Cinema Treasure.
The Ryman is between Commerce and Broad. The various movie theaters we have discussed on Fifth Avenue were between Union and Church. This includes the Alhambra, Rex, Fifth Avenue, Strand, one of the Elites, two of the Crescents, the Dixie, the Rialto and the Crystal.
Can someone please tell me why there is no page for Nashville’s Orpheum? I wanted to ask some questions and of course share some wisdom with the younger set.
I think that 314 address is wrong. I think the Star was at 412, being between 4th and 5th or right around the corner from the Bijou.
There was a tiny Excell next door at 416 and then a few doors up the Lincoln at 424 and then the very small Majestic at 426. All for African-American audiences and all short-lived.
The Rex was a Crescent house. I have a newspaper clipping showing the Crescent execs standing in the entrance of the Rex.
The Rex was ten (10) seats wide and showed “C” pictures if there is such a grade. They would have a double feature (both very old) and then several worn out shorts, also from years back.
It was claimed that rats were sometimes seen in the Rex.
It cost 12Â¢ to get in but the mosaic on the lobby floor said 10Â¢.
This building was behind NES and sat unused for many years after it was closed. The sides of the building were overgrown with vines and weeds.
I recall that the Sarratt was named after one Madison Sarratt. My wife and I used to go there occasionally when she worked at Vanderbilt. I finally got to see Citizen Cane or Kane there
I am not familiar with another Roxy on 6th Ave. Any info is welcome.
I once nearly got kicked out of the Roxy by putting my feet on the seat in front of me.
When my mother went there in about 1923 it was simply called Glenn Elementary School. It was an interesting old building so naturally the school board tore it down. The Roxy was in what we called Northeast Nashville but the Woodbine was not, being out on Nolensville Road.
Old family friend Delmas Jenkins told me he once went to the Peafowl and was terrified at the rough crowd in the place. At one point the manager came down the aisle cracking a bull whip to restore order!!!
Can you top that story?
The bowling alley was in a building back behind the theater.
The Inglewood also had a party room. I went to a birthday party there one time. I believe the Cry Room was on one side of the center aisle and the Party Room was on the other.
Tom Sharp, later a councilman, had a drug store just a door or two from the Inglewood. I believe the theater was built on the site of the old Creamland ice cream shop.
I was amused when the building became Joywood Salvage as the Joywood community was miles from there over near Trinity Lane.
The Four different Elites were the one on Charlotte across from Richland Park, the one on the west side of Fifth Avenue which you can see on some older postcards, the one on Monroe, which building still stands, and the one on 2nd Ave South, which was torn down when the new Capitol was built on the site.
I imagine all four were pronounced EEE-lite.
Listen to an older guy here. There were two different Crescents in the block of Fifth Avenue between Church and Union. Both on the west side. The first was up toward Union at 233 and appears in some old postcards of the neighborhood. This theater opened about 1908 or 1909 and was later about 1910 renamed the Elite, one of four Elites we had over the years. Then there was one starting about 1915 down closer to Church Street at 217 in a building that still stands. Nashville Old Timer Delmas Jenkins told me this one was formed by combining two smaller “twin” theaters that used the same box office, which is to say ticket booth. This one was still listed in 1924 but was gone by 1926. The only connection between these and the re-naming of the New Princess was that all were owned by Crescent Amusement Co.
See my comments on the other Capitol page. The Capitol was at the west end of the block and the Princess lobby was just east of McKendrie Church. The Capitol lobby was where the Warner Building, later called Sudekum Bldg and later called Tennessee Bldg was located and right next door to where the much later Tennessee Theater was built.