Tampa Theatre

711 Franklin Street,
Tampa, FL 33672

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Showing 126 - 150 of 169 comments

42ndStreetMemories on July 10, 2006 at 7:14 am

My wife and I had the pleasure of seeing IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE in 3-D yesterday as part of the Tampa’s classics series. Before the film, patrons take pictures of the palace, there is a 20 minute organ recital of movie tunes, coming attractions of next week’s CASABLANCA. What a thrill! Great atmosphere! You have to see a classic here, it’s our time machine. jerry

JimRankin on April 13, 2006 at 5:39 am

How very true and how very rare! All the more reason this jewel should be preserved and protected. If I could, I would build a flood/hurricane shield enclosure over the building, made of the strongest steel to withstand winds of force 5! I hope the building at least has adequate high volume sump pumps to remove storm water (and long life batteries to power them), and storm doors and shutters for the windows. An ‘Ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ as they say!

Ziggy on April 13, 2006 at 4:29 am

I just got a look at the photos posted on this site. What’s amazing is how well this theatre’s decoration has survived. So many things that have long since disappeared from other movie palaces are still in “in situ” as it were. The tapestries, the furnishings, the pieces of artwork, even the urns of flowers in the lobby!

DingDong on April 13, 2006 at 3:59 am

Jim: Thank you for your astute comments. You’re absolutely right, sources of information should be cited in comments so that discrepancies can be resolved. I should have disclosed that I have been the CEO of the Tampa Theatre for the past twenty years, and we have relied on two sources to fix the Theatre’s opening date: the Tampa Tribune’s 16 page special section on published on the opening day of the Theatre (October 15, 1926) with the bold headline “Magnificent New Theatre Opens Tonight”; and, copies of the original opening night program in our archives which also fix the date as October 15.

JimRankin on April 13, 2006 at 3:34 am

We have disagreement about opening date here, and while not crucial, it does beg the question as to just what is one’s Authority (source) for any information. Since it is highly unlikely that anyone here was alive and of mature years on that day, we all should get in the habit of revealing our sources for factual statements. Doing so not only enhances our reputations for accuracy, but that of this entire web site.

Sources will sometimes conflict as to facts, and then we should note such conflicts, and attempt to resolve them to the best of our abiliies. For example, opening day ads in newspapers are most reliable for dates because those ads were paid for and no one would pay for untimely ads, whereas mere book listings (as in the Film Daily Yearbook) are more prone to errors since it is a mere compilation of statistics, as are city records.

In contrast, city records of building permits and inspection reports are more reliable as to physical descriptions of the property since they are made by those somewhat expert in the area AND under a legal responsibility. For greatest accuracy in such, one should cite the architects' or builders' comments when possible in contrast to newspaper accounts written by non-experts and for the purpose of pleasing readers as much as anything else. So, your source does matter and should bear the responsibility when you say “According to ….”

DingDong on April 12, 2006 at 2:11 pm

The actual opening date for the Tampa was October 15, 1926.

William on April 12, 2006 at 6:51 am

The Tampa Theatre opened on October 26th. 1926.

ERD on March 28, 2006 at 5:26 am

The Tampa theatre is a beautiful theatre. However, comparing it to the Ziegfeld in New York is ludicrous. The Ziegfeld was built during another era, for another type of movie going generatrion. “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” Things should be put in perspective.

Patsy on February 8, 2006 at 3:03 pm

I’m viewing Tampa Theatre photos on the Cinema Tour site and the one in particular that shows a close up of the proscenium arch is 72KB.

Patsy on February 8, 2006 at 2:50 pm

JohnBell: Thanks so much for the Eberson family crest/“fist” info as the only “fist” that I have personally seen is the one at the Palace Theatre in Canton Ohio.

DingDong on February 8, 2006 at 2:14 pm

The Tampa does in fact have the Eberson family crest including the “fist”. It is located in several places throughout, most prominently on either side of the proscenium arch about 10 – 12 feet off the stage deck. The orchestra pit was covered permanently in the 1970’s to provide space for artists to perform, since the original stage depth was a shockingly shallow eight feet.

kencmcintyre on January 11, 2006 at 4:06 pm

Here is a link with some exterior photos:
View link

Patsy on January 4, 2006 at 6:05 am

The Warner relative is Cass Warner who wrote Hollywood Be Thy Name. She is the granddaughter of one of the Warner brothers. I have a signed copy of her book, but haven’t read it yet.

Patsy on January 4, 2006 at 6:03 am

I just now read your post on the Warner Crest topic. I haven’t been able to research much about these historical crests, but am still very much interested! Even a Warner relative couldn’t help me much, which surprised me.

carolgrau on November 7, 2005 at 11:02 am

Patsy: I remember a few Warner Crest, they were usually at the top of the stage right smack dab in the center of the arch. Yes I can imagine all the idiots I have been around over the years. How some of them painted over beautiful wall murials, one idiot even painted over a ceiling picture of clouds and the little lights that were stars. The best one was the clown who started to paint the ladies room a God awfull green, ran out of paint and never finished the job, or the moron who tried to paint the water fountains, this all happened in different theatres I have worked over the years. It would take something very different to surprise me.
Have a good one!

Patsy on November 7, 2005 at 7:20 am

norcelco: Glad that I was able to jog your memory concerning the Eberson ‘fist’! I’ve only seen one, but will keep my eyes and ears open for another along my theatre travels. And I’m still trying to confirm the Warner Crest that was in some Warner theatres. One of the Warner family members that I have emailed was not aware of a crest so perhaps my source was incorrect in what he told me. This source owns and operates a theatre in NYS, but at the time of my visit to this theatre the crest was mentioned until AFTER I left so I didn’t get to actually see it. It had been painted over with black paint by a previous owner. Can you imagine? Anyway the current owner was going to restore it.

carolgrau on November 7, 2005 at 5:44 am

Now there is a saying I have not heard in years, the Eberson fist, when I started out in this business the old time projectionist would talk about this. Me being the dummy that I am thought they were joking, until one day one of them showed me where it was in a theatre I worked in the 60`s. I forgot about it till now.

Patsy on October 4, 2005 at 8:26 am

The Eberson ‘fist’ was above the right organ chamber in the Palace Theatre. I’m trying to locate a possible ‘fist’ in the Tampa Theatre interior photos that are on the Cinema Tour website, but haven’t spotted it as yet.

Patsy on October 4, 2005 at 8:20 am

Does anyone know if this Eberson atmospheric has the Eberson ‘fist’ somewhere? I visited the atmospheric Palace Theatre in Canton Ohio this summer and was shown the fist in that theatre. Sorry that I can’t post my digital photo of this Eberson ‘touch’!

Patsy on October 4, 2005 at 6:24 am

lostmemory: Fantastic photos!

Patsy on September 15, 2005 at 4:47 am

Sam: It saddens me to think that the orchestra pit no longer exists!

PGlenat on September 15, 2005 at 4:07 am

Excellent photos of the Tampa theatre. Seeing the ornate interior reminds me immediately of the tongue-in-cheek comment in Ben M Hall’s book that the theatre “is replete with a statue of Christopher Columbus discovering the orchestra pit…”
It would appear that the orchestra pit exists no longer since the organ console now rises through a trap in the stage apron. I assume that at some point the stage was extended and the pit covered over.

JimRankin on September 15, 2005 at 1:58 am

I am happy to report that the fellows at the site: Cinema Tour have added some 40 current color photos of the interior of the wonderful TAMPA. They are at: http://www.cinematour.com/tour.php?db=us&id=6760 Here is my comment there on this wonderful addition:

Indeed, you shouldn’t miss the Tampa Theatre tour; Scott is to be praised for the fine photos of this “Anadalusian Bon-bon” as the late Ben M. Hall forever christened it in his landmark book: “The Best Remaining Seats” in 1961. For those who forgot their geography, Andalusia is a district in Spain, and for those not a terrible ‘sweet tooth’ as I am, ‘Bon-bons’ are little balls of soft, sweet somethings coated in chocolate or another flavor of glaze, hard to find now, but a favorite of the 19th century! The term means “good, good” in French.

That photo of the double-headed drinking fountain is especially good, in that it records what may be a one-of-a-kind, with the two water heads apparently voiding down into an ornate bowl.

CelluloidHero2 on September 8, 2005 at 4:57 pm

This is a wonderful theater. My wife and I have lived in the Tampa Bay area for about 8 years now and going to the Tampa theater brings back memories of some of the wonderful theaters from where I grew up in New York. We have seen a wide variety of films here like The Bicycle Thief, Adam’s Rib, Mark of Zorro (silent verison with the wonderful Rosa Rio on the organ), The Spanish Prisoner, In The Bedroom, Winged Migration, Rabbit Proof Fence and most recently, Born in Brothels and Ladies in Lavender. A real treasure!

DougM on May 11, 2005 at 5:21 pm

Last fall (2004), I had the pleasure of watching the original Phantom of the Opera, accompanied on the Mighty Wurlitzer by Rosa Rio herself! There were children there in awe of the experience, squealing with delight at the film and the sounds of the organ!

An awesome experience, since I listened to my Mother’s Rosa Rio recordings while growing up! I shall return to this magnificent theater