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I want to go back to the subject of the twin theaters which were merged to form this Crescent Theater at 215-217 Fifth Avenue.
I mentioned above that I believed the this Crescent was the result of a merger of twins called the Ruby and the Rhinestone. I have googled this matter and cannot any reference to these two names except for my comment here.
My father had an old timer friend named Delmas Jenkins who remembered many things about the Nashville theaters before my day and I used to pick his brain. The Ruby and Rhinestone story had been told him years before by an even older timer Mr James Dale of Dale Machinery, who remembered theaters before Delmas' day.
I have found in a January 1908 periodical called the Conjurer’s Magazine, for magicians that “King the Slight-of-hand King was playing the Rhinestone in Nashville. This would indicate that at least one of the twins had a stage.
Some of you may be familiar with the Crescent Amusement Company’s 1957 publication – just a folder really- honoring Mr Tony Sudekum and the fiftieth anniversary of moving pictures in Nashville. I quote the reference to the twins. “The company (Crescent Amusement) took this name from a theater on Fifth Avenue, which "Mister Tony” had acquired. Earlier it had been the Twin Theaters- two theaters served by one ticket office. “Mister Tony” removed the partitions. He changed the name to ‘Crescent’ and gave the new name to his company."
Can anyone come up with a reference to the names Ruby and Rhinestone in Nashville? I have looked (through some but certainly not all) newspaper microfilms prior to the merger and found zip.
I don’t remember Frank Bobo but I remember Bob Luck or Lux who played it in the late 40s. Delmas Jenkins was at the Paramount opening night and said the organist was named “C. Sharp Minor.” This info may be in an earlier post.
You’re confusing two Princesses. The old Princess was in the next block just east of McKendree Church; it opened in 1912 and closed early 1950.
The NEW Princess opened in early 1951. Was later called Crescent Downtown (that must be your ad) then became Cinerama about 1961. Loews Crescent name wasn’t used until after Loews (Vendome) burned in 1967 and Loews Corp bought the Cinerama aka Crescent Downtown aka Princess.
All of this took place on Church Street and none of this relates to the Crescent at the top of this page and which was on Fifth Avenue.
rivest266: I assume this must have been the one at 233Fifth Ave North. Thanks for the into.
Does TLSLOEWS still belong to this great site?
This is slightly off topic, but just across the street. There was a man who had a newsstand at the side of Armstrong’s at Church and Capitol Blvd for years. Some time in the fifties he was run off the streets by a bunch of old ladies who were offended that he sold girlie magazines. For a while he moved to a store on Commerce Street but without the foot traffic didn’t last long. Can anyone tell me his name or what became of him?
In 1947 we were living in Washington and one weekend in March we took the electric train to Baltimore to visit friends of my parents who were on the vaudeville bill at the State.
On the bill were Paul & Connie McWilliams (magician- our friends), Arthur La Fleur (muscle act), Marie Lawlor (singer) and Jack and June Blair (dancers). The movie was a western and I got to see it several times as we wanted to stay all day and visit with Paul and Connie.
In 1947 my family lived in Washington for a time. Every Friday evening we would meet my father in town and go to the Capitol, the reason being that my dad loved vaudeville. In fact he lived with the hope that someday Vaude would come back to Nashville, our home town.
One time when Sammy Kaye was playing the Capitol my mother was selected to go on stage and lead the band. I still have the signed baton that Mr Kaye gave her.
Another act I recall was Drapo, a man who would wrap lengths of cloth around models and create dresses right before you eyes. My dad had seen Drapo on stage a number of years earlier.
I wish I could remember more of the acts but at 76 my memory is failing.
Joe: You may be a year off. The Vendome burned Jan 2, 1902 and reopened Sept 12, 1902.
In Indiana there’s a LAH-feyette, in Louisiana it’s LAUGH-yet but here is La-FAY-it.
Elite has always been EEE-lite as long as I’ve been listening to the local dialect (seventy-five years).
Yes, there have been five (5) Elites here. It was 1926 that four were listed: 813 Monroe (former Central as early as 1915), 837 2nd Ave S (former Colonial as early as 1917), 239 4th Ave N and 4810 Charlotte.
By 1928 two of the Sudekum brothers were managing the Monroe and 4th Ave Elites, indicating Crescent ownership.
The Elite on 2nd Ave S was eventually replaced by the new Capitol (not to be confused with the one at 6th and Church).
The building on Monroe may still be standing- it was in recent years just a half a block down from where the State later stood. The
The Elite on Charlotte was replaced in 1927 with a new one of the same name at 4700.
The Elite at 239 4th Ave COULD have been the in the same building as the 1914 Log Cabin (later the 1915-16 Victoria) which is listed at 237 and which I have been told had an entrance into the Arcade.
A 1918 notice says the Dixie Amusement Company owns both the Elite and the Strand. As late at 1920 the Strand and the Elite were running separate ads in the paper.
In 1928 four (4) Elites were listed but alas none was the one at 233. The Strand at 235 lasted until 1930.
By the way, you do know how we pronounce “Elite” in Nashville, don’t you? It’s like Lafayette- just a local thing.
Hold everything- I told that wrong. I have confused the two Crescents. The Crescent at 233 opened at least by 1909, became the Elite during 1910 and was listed through 1916.
The Crescent that was the result of the merger of the twins was opened in 1915 at 215-217.
Incidentally when the property at 215- 217 was being remodeled in the 1980s I spoke to Jimmy Glascock who was involved in the project and he verified that a wall had been knocked out between the two addresses (the twin theater common wall). He also referred me to a local historian (whom I will not name lest I embarrass him) who argued that there had never been a theater at 215-217!
No, Joe, they were different houses. The Crescent at 233 started in 1909 and I believe was a merger of the two “twin” theaters which are mentioned in a 1957 Crescent Amusement Co publication, though not named. I cannot prove but believe they were called the Ruby and the Rhinestone, operating side-by-side with one ticket office.
The Strand at 235 is not listed until 1915 when managed by Roy Shelton. A late 1916 newspaper article said that after Tony Sudekum had bought W H Wassmann’s Knickerbocker and Crystal the Strand was his only opposition, indicating that not only was it a different theater but that it was independent of Sudekum.
I believe the theater had begun to show movies prior to 1941. There was a Pete Smith Specialty shot at Clyde Beatty’s Jungle Zoo north of town where Gateway Shopping Center is now located. The short was said to have premiered at the Florida in June of 1940. Can anyone add to or correct this info? Thanks.
If I’m not mistaken “To Kill A Mockingbird” premiered in Mobile before playing Monroeville.
Do you remember where on the square the theater was located? Thanks, Dave
The Loew’s Melrose was in the community of Melrose; Green Hills is on Hillsboro Road.
Does anyone know what theater or theatre “Hobson’s Choice” played here in 1954?
TheatreOrgan: I just noticed you mentioned Leon Cole- I think it was spelled without the S – He was a very well-known organist around here in my youth, played the Centennial Park concerts etc. I believe he had a son who was killed in the war. Very talented musician.
Somewhere there is a mention of a “talkie” sound system being bought for the Capitol about the time it burned and the system then being installed in the Fifth Avenue.
Butch: The Paramount, the Tennessee, Loew’s and the “New Princess” were all operating during the 1960s. The New Princess was for a time called the Cinerama and after Loew’s burned in 1967, they took over the New Princess and called it Loew’s Crescent. I know the Fifth Avenue was out of business before the sixties but I cannot remember when the Knickerbocker closed. Some other oldster ought to chime in here on this.
Can anyone tell me if the Paradise still had vaudeville acts between the pictures in 1947?
TLSLOEWS- good to see you so far from Nashville.
Vastor: I hope you saw the name “Hillsboro” on the cornice of the old entrance. If you had walked inside you could still see sort of an atrium near the back of the present establishment, which served as a small lobby to the Hillsboro.
The Parthenon does not have a page here. It was at 411 Church St and only lasted about a year from mid-1915 to mid-1916.
Harry Sudekum died young in 1930. His widow Lucille did not die until 1954 but is buried or entombed with him in the old Mausoleum at Spring Hill. Harry managed the Princess in its early days.
Clarence"Hap" Sudekum was the youngest of the Sudekum brothers and managed the Roxy all through the 1940s.
There’s an old Nashville story of which several versions have been told. Put simply it has been said that when Emma Abbott (mentioned above) was here to open the new Vendome, she went to Sunday service at McKendree Methodist in the next block and was shocked to hear the minister attack the opening of the new theater and the acting profession in general. The story goes that Miss Abbott rose to her feet and defended her profession and the people in it. Varying reactions from the congregation have been reported. Some claim that when the closing hymn was sung, everyone else remained silent so they could hear Miss Abbott’s voice.