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The Tower had a really awesome WTVJ Channel 4 neon clock inside. As kids we frequented the theater often. It was always a double feature (spanish subtitles or spanish language) and very cheap. At the time, it was still owned by Wometco. They used to play those spanish Mexican cowboy movies, which were in spanish, but in addition to that, they played mostly current American films with spanish subtitles. I think the last time I attended a movie there was in 71 or 72. The #5 bus took us there, as well as Downtown, where most of the more recent films played.
The Florida, Miami, and Paramount were mostly first run films, until Downtown crapped out. At that point, the aforementioned theaters became stores or small malls. Horrible choices, but Wometco was increasingly getting out of the theater business during those times.
This theater was closer to 70th Street, the entrance was circa 68th Street. The marquee was located there, but you had to drive past the marquee to get in. I have some memories of the marquee on 27th avenue. That area looks very different now. To the north of the marquee, Sears had a warehouse where you could pick up items purchased at the Sears located in the Northside Shopping Center. I remember picking up a bike my Dad bought for me in the latter 60s. I could swear that theater was already closed when I picked up the bike, but I may be wrong. The area was already going through a metamorphosis when I got that bike.
What I don’t remember is the name Liberty City Drive In. The Palm marquee was there for a few years after the theater closed. The marquee was right on NW 27th Avenue.
Very cool picture. Wish we could find one of the exterior of the Strand Theater, aka 7th Avenue Theater before it was named Strand.
Wow, who got the pic? AWESOME!!!!!
Did you happen to see any pictures of the old Strand Theater on NW 7th Avenue? Wometco owned it for a while. I have been searching for a picture of the outside of the theater for quite some time. I would like to have one so we can complete the database on the Strand. We now have some pictures of the inside, which has been renovated, given that the theater is now a church. Would be nice to have some pics of the theater.
There is some mention of this theater in the Sneaky Kitchen forum. There is a section on Allapatah, which is the neighborhood where the theater resided. Seems it was quite popular with the kids back then. The Dade was close by on NW 36th Street, just East of NW 17th Avenue on the north side of the street. I imaging it was somewhere next to the Western Auto, and Kress department store that was there. There was also a Food Fair supermarket. I never saw the Dade or the Regent Theaters, I guess they closed by the time I was old enough to remember. I grew up in the Allapatah Wynwood area, the only theater that I remember was the Strand on NW 7th Avenue.
The Rio was not a great place to go. The neighborhood surrounding it became really bad. The Rio was not on a main drag. After 1970 the streets that ran north & south in downtown were never great places to hang.
I believe the Hippodrome was on the corner of the Florida Theater. The Fotosho became the Paramount. I think the Hippdrome became the Florida.
Here is a link to a YouTube video it was taken inside the old Strand Theater after the renovations. The orientation of the theater auditorium was, north (back of the theater), and south (screen). The theater did have a stage originally, however it was extended out, and to each side, giving it the church appearance that you will see on the video. There are some pictures that show the old stage, those were taken during the renovation process. The building is close to being 100 years old, so judging by the video and the pictures they have done a really nice job renovating. Given Miami’s history of demolition, it’s nice to see that this old theater has found a new life and purpose.
Here is the link, enjoy!
Now all we need is an original picture of the exterior! I have been searching for that for quite some time. Always hoping someone posts one.
Nice shot. The marquee of this theater was much larger. It’s funny how when the marquees are removed, the structures behind it look so small in comparison to what was there.
Just added a couple of new pictures of the interior of the Strand Theater. I will keep updating these as more pictures come available. There is a massive renovation project that the church is doing. Looks very nice. Personally I am very happy that this historic landmark wasn’t demolished, or turned into stores, etc.
Even though it’s not a theater anymore, at least they didn’t demolish the building or turn it into stores, as they did with the State, Miami, Florida, and Town theaters, there is nothing left of those landmarks.
Just saw this theater yesterday. Awesome and impressive. There is a theater around the corner, named the SCAD, seems like it’s part of the Savannah College of Arts & Design, but it’s not listed. I have to assume that the original name of the theater is not SCAD. Perhaps this theater is under another name?
I lived in the area during the 80s, and I don’t remember this theater. When you say tiny, how tiny is tiny? I used to frequent the Northridge Raw Bar nightly, and I never saw this theater, maybe it was the beer and I missed it!
Oh, almost forgot. The Cinema & Drafthouse in Coconut Creek was the same type of theater. There you may have had the teenager issue because Coconut Creek is somewhat of a family area, but there are also a lot of seniors that live in the surrounding condos.
The Cinema Cafe was also named Cinema & Drafthouse. These were a combination of movie theater, and restaurant. The one on 17th Street was pretty cool. It was a dollar theater, so there no first run movies.
In these theaters you sat at a table, and there were waitresses. Not sure why this type of theater did not survive. It was a great place to watch a movie and grab a bite to eat at the same time. Very enjoyable, and comfortable. The only thing was that the screens were not full sized screens, so it was sort of watching a movie on a big screen TV, but it was viewable, I had no issues with it.
Given the structure of the theater auditorium, it definitely wasn’t a teenage kissy kissy type of place. Unless you wanted to kissy kissy with hamburger breath. Maybe this is the reason why it failed. Given the location, I would say that it wasn’t in an area where a lot of teenagers would frequent, but I may have it all wrong!
They could have used the old marquee, that would make perfect sense, because I saw that marquee on several occasions. I am very sure of it being west of 95. My uncle used to deliver beer to a store that was on the corner, and each time we went I was always looking up to see if a car would come off the highway, back in those days, you could hear cars & trucks buzzing by, used to freak me out, so the memory is pretty vivid! It may have very well been 14th St. The street is vague, somehow it felt further south, but maybe not.
I went to WTVJ channel 4 on a few occasions, last time was right after Andrew. If the original Capitol was there, they built all the way around it. Every time I went to channel 4, it was always around the rear entrance. I was involved with a couple of TV news spots over the years. The last one we did was a comparison of blood pressures and heart rates after driving from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami. It was an interesting piece! On the last visit I saw “the bunker” where they broadcasted throughout hurricane Andrew. That was an awesome visit, and my last one.
Al, I may have it confused, but I could swear that the Capitol theater was west of 95. I thought the old building was still there, but did a Google scan and the building I remember is gone, all new apt. buildings are in those areas. I want to say that the Capital was somewhere between NW 8th Street & NW 4th Street off 3rd Ct. which is the street that runs parallel to I-95 on the west side. As a kid I was there, just never went in the theater, but I remember it. It was already dilapidated when I saw it, maybe even closed. What sticks out in my mind is the marquee, which is the same one I see every time I see a picture of the Capitol.
As far as the I-95 project goes, I think they did not plan any of these expressways right. 836 ran right through some of the most valuable properties in Miami. A good portion of the homes that were there had canals & docks that would allow you to have a boat, access the river as well as ocean access. All of those canals had to be diverted or cut in half and filled. Pretty much ruined that entire area. With regards to 95, I don’t think they had too many options, given the downtown area. I assume that both 836 and 112 were put there to allow airport access because each of those arteries borders the airport, same as the Palmetto. Seems like their goal was access to the airport more so than anything else. I-95 on the other hand, appears to be an alternative to US-1 and 441, which were the roads traveled to go north to Ft. Lauderdale, or south to the Keys. The Palmetto & turnpike came much later than 441 & US-1.
I remember the Capitol Theater being west of 95. I want to say it was off 3rd Ct. somewhere between NW 8th Street and 3rd St. Wish I could remember the exact street. The other address off 14th Street had a theater there, but I don’t think it was the original Capitol. Channel 4 was east of 95.
Al, any idea what year they renamed it? Interestingly, the building where the Capitol was is still there. My uncle used to sell “Schlitz Beer”, he used to deliver to a little market that was on the corner to the east of the theater. At the time I was maybe 10 or 11 yrs old, and the area was going down. That whole area where I-95 went through, deteriorated exponentially.
There was a Carver Theater on NW 7th Avenue close to the old Shell’s City Supermarket. This theater was circa 62nd Street. I believe the building is still there, but it has been re-done, and there is nothing left of the original building. During the time the theater was operating, the 62nd Street & NW 7th Avenue area was mostly white, so I don’t think this was an African American movie house. It suffered the same fate as the Capitol Theater. The Capitol was in a white neighborhood when it opened. Once I-95 was built, the Capitol, Carver, and The Strand, all went through a transition, eventually closing. From what I hear, the Capitol was a very nice theater.
Almost forgot. The theater was at one time called the Strand Stag Theater. In 1970 the company that owned the theater, Little Beaver Inc. was taken to court on obscenity charges. Back then a XXX rating got you in court. Apparently some films were confiscated and the owners went to court to get them back. A google search will reveal some of the case synopsis for those who are interested.
Well after several years of research I finally was able to locate some pictures of the inside of the Strand Theater. The theater is now a church, however pictures were taken during the renovation process. The good news is, the old theater floor plan has remained unchanged, for the most part. The lobby appears to be the section that had more extensive renovations.
I am hoping to someday find a picture of the original facade of the theater. I have posted on many “old Miami” websites asking for pictures. Hopefully someone has one somewhere. It would be nice to have an original exterior picture of the theater so it will be available for all to enjoy.
Glad you posted!
I think you may find the movie list through the Miami Herald newspaper. I know that the Strand when it was part of Wometco advertised in the newspaper, I would suspect that this wouldn’t be too difficult to obtain. During the 50s it was named Strand, during the earlier years it was once known as the 7th Ave Theater.
Like you, I was tempted to contact the church that is there now to try to get some pictures of the inside. The problem is their hours are somewhat difficult for me. I live in Pompano Beach, which is about an hour north. When I am in the Miami area, this church is never open. I imagine you saw the gate and the church doors they added to the entrance. I was elated to find that the movie poster cases are still where they always were.
Given the way the building is laid out from the outside. I have to assume that the theater seats either faced north or south, the building’s larger diameter is north south, where the east west is not as big. When you enter the theater through the doors you are heading in an easterly direction, so once in, I assume the patron had to either turn right or left to get into the area where the movies played.