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I don’t see any mention of restoring the organ or maybe it’s in with “replacement of ALL mechanical, HVAC, and electrical systems”.???
According to a friend of mine in Meridian, the theatre has been sold to a man from Dallas. Big plans are being made to restore the theatre, even adding a lift for the organ console and a few additional ranks of pipes.
The theatre still has its original 3m/8r Robert Morton organ.
Things are slowly happening at the Delta. The old roof was about 80% gone and now a new roof is on. All the old decorations on the walls and trash on the floor has been cleaned out. Everything has been torn out except they left the projection booth. Possibly this means that maybe someday it might be a theatre again. The marquee has been redone and painted however the front of the theatre is sealed off with a pull down door. Being a theatre nut, I saw all this in a crack in the back door! Will keep you posted.
For a history of downtown Birmingham, AL theatres, go to to birminghamrewound.com.
This past weekend I was at the beautifully restored Alabama Theatre in Birmingham for one of the summer classic movies and featuring the Mighty Wurlitzer. What a day! On a table in the lobby was a handout sheet about the Lyric Theatre which is just across the street but has been closed for some time. This is part of it.
RESTORING THE LYRIC
The Lyric Theatre is now owned by Birmingham Landmarks Inc. Landmarks owns and operates the Alabama Theatre complex. Landmarks' plans are to restore the Lyric Theatre to its former glory and operate the theatre as a performing arts house. The Lyric will seat approximately 1,200 patrons with an excellent view of the stage. In addition, the stage has wing space needed for plays, opera, and musical presentations.
Considering that the Lyric has not been used and has sat idle for many years, the theatre is structurally sound and maintains much of its original decor. The balcony rails, the proscenium and side decorations, fire curtain, and mural “Allegories Of Spring,” painted by local artist and interior diesigner Harry H. Hawkins, give the viewer a hint of the Lyric’s glory days.
The Lyric Theatre was advertised to open its doors on Jan. 12, 1914. Due to an injunction filed by the Orpheum Theatre (Third Ave. and Seventeenth St.) the Lyric opened Jan. 14, 1914. The dispute centered around the fact that both the Orpheum and Lyric Theatres had a vaudeville booking contract with B.F. Keith Shows. The Lyric would present B.F. Keith Big Time Vaudeville from 1914 until the opening of the Ritz Theatre in 1926. Some of the show business legends to perform on the Lyric stage were Sophie Tucker (during second week the threatre opened) Gus Edward’s Kid Kabaret with George Jessel and Eddie Cantor, Will Rogers, Buster Keaton with the Keaton Family acrobats, Milton Berle, and Mae West. In the fifties, both Roy Rogers and Gene Autry appeared live on stage at the Lyric.
Changes in ownership and the depression took their toll. From time to time, the Lyric showed lower grade movies and was not the best place to go to see a movie. In the late 50’s the Lyric closed its doors. The lobby would be used for retail space and the theatre would be vacant. In 1972, a group of young businessmen reopened the theatre as the Grand Bijou Theatre showing classic movies. After the Grand Bijou closed, the Lyric ended its operation as the Foxy and later Roxy Adult Clnema, now closed.
Yes, according to the Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ, Vol. II, this theatre had a 2m/6r Robert Morton organ installed in the 1920’s.
Cinema III was in the Kmart shopping center when Kmart was on Louisville Ave.
The theatre has been vacant for the last 30 years. Now demolition has finally started due to the roof falling in.
The last movies we saw at the Delta was “Splendor In The Grass” with Warren Beaty and “Fanny” with Leslie Caron and Maurice Chevalier. Most always there was a double feature unless it was a special like “The Ten Commandments”.
The Dixie opened as the New Astor Theatre. It had a 2 manual/4 rank Wicks theatre pipe organ.
The Delta was at 115 N. 3rd St. in Monroe, LA. Opened Jan. 17, 1942 and closed 1966.
Does anyone know if there are plans to restore the Robert Morton organ?
Does the theatre still have the Robert Morton organ?