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Goodness! Frank Theatres barely lasted 10 months? There was some hope the reopening would eventually expand with several enhancements beginning with an upgrade to digital projection and later stadium seating which would hopefully have been the catalyst for a rebirth of the mall. Wonder if they even made the first priority upgrade to digital? Assuming the rumors are true concerning demolition—University Mall will soon be 39 years old come this November—an amazing feat as far as malls go these days. I’m sorry to see the theatres are history now. I have some good memories of the former University Square Cinemas I II III & IV.
Thomas, Since opening in 1949 this theatre has always been called the Dale Mabry Drive-In. Tampa has never had a theatre called Apollo although there is a city called Apollo Beach several miles from Tampa. Maybe you’re thinking of a theatre in that area? Although the Dale Mabry probably did run all the Planet of the Apes films on one evening so it may have been this drive-in you saw them at.
GSVuille, Thanks for your post. Nice to hear from someone who went to the Palace. You’re right about the opening engagement of “Sound of Music” being in 70mm. The first time I saw the film I was seated in the orchestra. I remember looking back to see the film being projected from the Cinerama booth, and I also recall the soundtrack being in stereo. I mistakenly thought they were running a 35mm print due to the screen being masked for 35mm scope—on both sides as well as several feet at the top—although this may have been due to an agreement with Cinerama to not utilize the full screen for a non-Cinerama film. I also assumed the 70mm projectors were capable of conversion to run 35mm films with stereo soundtracks.
The last 3 times I saw SOM the film was no longer being projected from the Cinerama booth but from the upstairs 35mm booth. The screen masking remained in the same position but the soundtrack was no longer in stereo. I also noticed a very slight decrease in both sound and image quality—probably unnoticeble to many in the audience but I was aware of it. Not sure why the change was made but could have been two reasons: the 70mm print may have been needed for another engagement, or since the film was bringing in record-breaking crowds and destined for a long run management may have decided to go with a less expensive print and exchanged the 70mm for a 35mm print.
In 1973 the 70mm re-release of SOM was shown at the Palace. For this engagement the top screen masking was removed resulting in an image several feet higher from the original 1965-66 engagement. I was disappointed that “Mad Mad World” was not shown in 70mm at the Palace. I also remember being seated in the balcony and seeing the film projected from the 35mm booth with the noticable keystone effects.
Although the long engagement of “Mary Poppins” was still doing great box office at the Palace the film had to be moved over to the Florida Theatre since the Palace had “The Sound of Music” set to open on April 7, 1965. The move made headlines in the ads stating to the effect of, “Mary is packing her bags and heading over to the Florida Theatre where the engagement of Mary Poppins will continue.” If I find the ad I’ll post it under the photos tab soon.
Will, The theatre originally opened as the Florida and was later changed to the Franklin Theatre. Years later the name was changed back to the Florida. The address is listed as 710 Franklin Street in all theatre ads as well as the city directory. The 712 Franklin Street address was more than likely O'Falks Department Store—the building next door to the theatre.
Note: there were two very small shops within the theatre building itself immediately to the left and right of the theatre entrance (you can see a small portion of each store in photo above.) As I recall in the 1960s one was a jewelry store but not certain about the other one. The address of the store on the right could have been 712 but the theatre was definitely 710 Franklin Street.
A few more RITZ memories. Here are several triple features that played on the weekends. Most attractions are horror/sci-fi.
June 10 1961: “All In A Night’s Work” “Commache Station” “Village Of The Damned”
October 7 1961: “Atomic Submarine” “Konga” “The Last Sunset”
July 21 1962: “Journey To The Seventh Planet” “Treasure Of Pancho Villa” “Six Black Horses”
August 12 1962: “The Blob” “Blood Of The Vampire” “Tarantula!”
November 4 1962: “Beast With A Million Eyes” “Bride And The Beast” “Beast Of Hollow Mountain”
November 25 1962: “Monster Of Piedras Blancas” “Monster On The Campus” “Monster That Challenged The World”
December 9 1962: “Hypnotic Eye” “Mr. Sardonicus” “Burn Witch Burn”
January 6 1963: “The Fly” “The Deadly Mantis” “The Spider”
March 24 1963: “Vampire And The Ballerina” “Tormented” “Blood Of Dracula”
May 19 1963: “The Brain Eaters” “The Screaming Skull”“Brain From Planet Arous”
June 14 1963: “Attack Of The Giant Leeches” “Attack Of The 50-Foot Woman” “Attack Of The Puppet People”
July 6 1963: “Black Sunday” “The Raven” “Day Of The Triffids”
August 4 1963: “Black Pit Of Dr. M” “Beast Of Yucca Flats” “Horror Chamber Of Dr. Faustus”
September 1 1963: “House Of The Damned” “Terror In The Haunted House” “Varan The Unbelievable”
September 6 1963: “Blue Hawaii” “Wild In The Country” “Follow That Dream”
September 28 1963: “Battle Beyond The Sun” “Brain From Planet Arous” “First Spaceship On Venus”
October 5 1963: “Fancy Pants” “Dime With A Halo” “Bye Bye Birdie”
December 14 1963: “Hand Of Death” “Alligator People” “The Manster”
December 22 1963: “Night Of The Blood Beast” “Dr. Blood’s Coffin” “A Bucket Of Blood”
February 29 1964: “Straight-Jacket” “Day Mars Invaded Earth” “Cattle King”
March 14 1964: “Reptilicus” “Viking Women and The Sea Serpent” “Snake Woman”
March 29 1964: “The Terror” “Curucu, Beast Of The Amazon” “The Mummy”
May 19 1964: “Maniac” “Homicidal” “Dementia 13”
August 9 1964: “The Slime People” “Castle Of Blood” “The Crawling Hand”
October 11 1964: “Horror Of Party Beach” “Mind Benders” “Curse Of The Living Corpse”
October 26 1964: “Bride Of The Monster” “Brides Of Dracula” “Bride And The Beast”
December 13 1964: “Battle Beyond The Sun” “Atom Age Vampire” “Masque Of The Red Death”
January 2 1965: “Twice Told Tales” “Witchcraft” “The Horror Of It All”
February 6 1965: “Evil Of Frankenstein” “How To Make A Monster” “Blood Of Dracula”
November 20 1965: “Help!” “Go Go Mania” “Having A Wild Weekend”
November 27 1965: “Curse Of The Faceless Man” “Curse Of The Werewolf” “Curse Of The Living Corpse”
December 11 1965: “Village Of The Giants” “Seven Ways From Sundown” “Love And Kisses”
This was the final program I saw at the Ritz. On January 1 1966 theatre transitioned over to running triple-X adult fare.
What happened to “The Sound of Music” photo? There was a photo a couple years ago posted on this page of the Tower when it ran “The Sound of Music.” It was a great great shot showing the marquee and the entrance all decorated with huge posters of the film. Anyone know why the photo was deleted from this page?
I just posted a couple handbills for their midnight movie programs from 1974 when theatre was known as the Shirley-Duke Twins. In addition to “Night of the Living Dead” I also recall seeing “Magical Mystery Tour” here. If memory serves me right I remember the screens were installed slightly higher up than most theatres.
I had almost forgotten about the Shirley Duke Twins. I was living in Alexandria in 1974 and I remember seeing “Night of The Living Dead” here. I still have a Shirley Duke handbill that I picked up in the lobby that day. I’ll post it here shortly.
Some Ritz memories from Saturday, October 3, 1964.
“A Hard Day’s Night” finally comes to the Ritz on a triple feature program along with “He Rides Tall” and “Summer Holiday.” The Beatle film is scheduled to run as the third feature. During the running of “He Rides Tall” theatre begins filling with hundreds of teens and pre-teens and a few adults. As I turned to look around the theatre I notice that just about every seat was filled. There were several people standing against the side walls as well as the rear of the auditorium. This was the first time I had seen the Ritz at full capacity…sold-out to the walls.
Not very many are interested in watching the first feature. The audience is noisy. Many kids are talking and laughing among themselves. Suddenly the feature goes off the screen, the house lights are turned up, and the manager walks onstage yelling, “quiet…quiet!” The noise finally subsides and he makes the following announcement, “several people have come to me saying they can’t hear the movie because of all the noise you people are making. I’m warning you…if you don’t quiet down and this noise continues I will shut the theatre down and give everyone a refund.” He walks off the stage, the house lights are turned off, and the film continues.
Aside from some mild whispering the audience is fairly quiet through the remainder of the film as well as the second feature, “Summer Holiday.” Near the end of the film the house lights are turned up again, the manager and assistant walk onstage and stand near the right side of the screen watching the audience. The film ends followed by several trailers. The United Artists logo for “A Hard Day’s Night” then appears onscreen. The opening scene showing the running Beatles incites screams from several girls which are suddenly cut short by the manager’s raised arms with hands outstretched as a warning. They ran the entire film with the house lights turned up and the manager onstage.
I believe management made a poor decision in running the Beatle film as the last feature. Had they run it first many kids would probably have left afterwards and those who were interested in the other two features would have been able to watch them in peace and quiet.
I updated the street view to show building at 2809 Martin Luther King Street North.
Address in header is incorrect. Please change to 129 Orange Ave. Verified correct location with theatre ad in Daytona Beach Morning Journal.
See front page for article on fire that destroyed theatre on April 2, 1956: http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=OWslULmvb_UC&dat=19560403&printsec=frontpage&hl=en
Street view updated.
I think this may be the drive-in that appears near the climax of 1972’s “Night of the Lepus.” A brief shot of the marquee and the bottom portion of the screen are shown (a cartoon is playing) along with shots of cars parked on the lot as well as exiting the theatre under instructions from the sheriff. According to the Internet Movie Database the film was shot in Ajo, and unless the town had another drive-in this must be the one they used.
Just updated the street view although it took me awhile to locate the drive-in. Based on the address in the header Google maps the location at least a couple miles from the drive-in. I was finally able to locate the site based on the info furnished by jwmovies – thanks!
falcon3147, Great hearing from a former employee. I had applied for a job at both the drive-in and the new indoor in 1969 but they never called me. The drive-in and the rocking chair theatre were Tampa’s best showplaces at the time. I wish they were both still here. Yes, the indoor theatre had its grand opening with “The Undefeated.” A beautiful theatre that lasted about 9 years before it was ruined by twinning.
hispeed54, Appreciate the nice comment…thanks!
Just did some research on this theatre. It opened as the Playhouse Theatre in August of 1935. The last day of operation as a standard theatre was on September 6, 1966. It remained closed until October 12, 1966 when it reopened as the Playhouse Adult Theatre. It finally closed for good on May 22, 1973.
I didn’t see any ads for a Reno Theatre around the time the Playhouse opened. Since Andy has found evidence of a Reno Theatre either at or near this location a search of the 1933 ads will hopefully clear this up.
I’ll post a few ads from the Playhouse shortly.
Thanks John! Enjoyed reading your post. Great hearing from an employee of the Florida. Seldom do former employees of area theatres post comments. I remember the Weeki-Wachee promotions the downtown theatres would always run either before or after the feature. That was certainly a nice gesture on the part of Florida State Theatres to allow the Weeki-Wachee girls in for half-price admission. I’m sure the girls appreciated that! Thanks again for commenting.
In researching the closing date of the Capitol I found the theatre had changed names twice. January 5 1965 was the theatre’s final day as the Capitol. The last two features were “Love on Credit” and “Burlesque Girls.” Based on the daily ads adult entertainment had evidently been the Capitol’s standard fare for some time.
Between May and June of 1965 the theatre reopened as the Family Theatre with 2nd-run double and triple features. Then on February 18 1967 the Family Theatre became known as the 1st Street Theatre featuring (once again) adult films. The opening day double feature was “Love on Credit” and “Burlesque Girls.”
According to a published ad that appeared on July 4 1967, the theatre was to feature live burlesque beginning July 19th. But this never occured as the theatre closed a few days before the 19th and evidently never reopened. The theatre time clock listed the 1st Street Theatre as “closed for the summer.” A review of the listings through December of 1967 did not show any reopening date.
I’ll post some ads under the photos tab shortly.
You’re right Chuck. This theatre did in fact open as the Britton. I just found a photo of the entrance and signage on another site but unfortunately can’t post here due to copyright. In looking at the photo this was definitely the theatre I visited in 1972. But I don’t remember seeing the name at the time so not certain if it was still called the Britton then or if name had already been changed to Plant City Mall Theatre.
Chuck, I don’t recall that Plant City ever had a Britton Theatre but I could be wrong. It may well have opened as the Britton and was later changed to Plant City Mall Theatre, and later to the Mall I & II.
I had almost forgotten about this place. It was originally a single screen house and was later twinned. If I remember correctly this is the theatre some friends and I visited on a Saturday evening back around 1972. The theatre entrance was inside the mall and at the time it was a very nice single screen house with wall-to-wall drapery and curtains over the screen. We had driven over from Tampa one evening to see a horror double feature. I remember the theatre was packed. 500 seats is about right for the size of the single screen. Although I’m not positive about the title of the first feature—it was something along the lines of “Sasquach.” But I clearly recall the second film, “Frankenstein Conquers the World.”
Driving in the area around the early 1990s I stopped at the mall which was now a flea market. The theatre interior was completed stripped. The wall dividing the twins had been torn down. Walking to the back wall where the single screen had once stood, I looked up to see the original curtain rod was amazingly still attached to the ceiling!
Tampa Tribune/August 16, 1956. Portion of ad for the new Britton Plaza describing the new theatre.
Tinseltoes, I knew about the film being shot in the Tampa area but just realized I didn’t mention it in my post. I had also forgotten that during this period the Tampa Theatre was in the midst of it’s downward spiral and had already been playing 2nd run double features as well as blaxploitation films. So in hindsight I guess it’s not surprising at all that the film had it’s premiere at the Tampa Theatre.
Thanks jrock1956. Great to hear from someone who went to the Lincoln. I enjoyed reading your post—evidently there weren’t any Stones fans in the audience!
Thanks for posting this article Tinseltoes! I had almost forgotten about this film and the local premiere (matter of fact I’m probably standing somewhere in that crowd.) I remember seeing Terry Moore being escorted from the limo onto the red carpet and into the theatre amid flashbulbs popping. As for “The Daredevil” well, I can’t say I remember much at all other than it being a low budget production made for the drive-in market. The fact that the film was booked at the Tampa Theatre was a miracle in itself—probably the high point of it’s exhibition history. Interestingly I just checked the IMDB and there are only 4 reviews of “The Daredevil” with all reviewers giving the film surprisingly high marks.
Whenever I think about those poor people excitedly settling into their seats to see this latest blockbuster, unaware of the horror to come, it almost makes me physically ill. My heart goes out to all those affected by this tragedy especially to the victims and their families.
I cannot fathom how anyone would want to see a movie here again whether it’s weeks or months from now. I too feel they should level the complex. One option would be to demolish the theatre where the incident took place and build a memorial or small park in honor of those who died here. The one drawback is that this theater is at the rear of the complex so the memorial wouldn’t be visible from the front of the building.
But I suspect Cinemark may eventually reopen this location following a complete renovation of the affected theatre and/or the entire complex.