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I saw “Back to the Future” at the Movies at Lauderhill in summer, 1985, so a “grand opening” does not necessarily mean “first day opening.”
The reason I know it was summer is because a close friend of mine moved out of the area that summer, before our first year of high school year began that late August/early September.
The Florida Theatre address was 2018 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, Florida.
I recall this theater originally being named the Loew’s Three. I saw many first-run movies there in the late 1970s and early 1980s, including “The Muppet Movie”, “The Empire Strikes Back”, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, “The Soldier”, and “To Be or Not To Be.” Fond memories, indeed.
Okay, as promised here is the link to a December 30, 1957 picture of downtown Hollywood with the Florida Theatre marquee showing “April Love.” The title isn’t visible, but Pat Boone and Shirley Jones' names are. Enjoy!
Though the link is temporarily down, the hollywoodfl.org website has some photographs of downtown Hollywood and two photos include pictures of The Florida Theatre’s marquee with “April Love” on one photo and “Some Came Running” on the other. I’ll try and post the direct link as soon as the site is working again.
By the way, I recall seeing this theatre’s “sister”, located on 30 East Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. I saw the picture on a linen-era postcard from the 1940s. It too was demolished, though I’m not sure of the date. The two theatres were identical to one another.
I found the following from THE MIAMI HERALD dated Sunday, March 7, 1954. The column is titled “Broadway in Broward” and one of the items is a write-up of the Gateway Theater:
Miller Film is Hit
“The Glenn Miller movie was the Gateway Theater’s all-time box office hit. It played to 28,313 people in 13 days. Manager Keith Hendee’s figures show. Bigger than "The Robe”…Viewers of a certain pre-war age bracket who were reared on records like “In the Mood” and and “Tuxedo Junction” took it much to heart, were slightly astonished to realize that several sets of teenagers have come and gone without knowing Miller music. Only criticism [of the movie]: The dates were switched around."
Patsy: Thanks for the kind words. It really is a shame that the building wasn’t saved, and I agree, it would be the jewel of downtown Hollywood if it were there today, especially with the improvements made to the area over the last decade.
I also wanted to mention that the spot where the Florida Theatre once stood is currently a metered parking lot wedged in between two buildings. It’s not a huge parking lot, as it can accommodate about fifteen vehicles. I make a habit of telling anyone I’m with that the parking lot used to be a wonderful movie house.
The Florida Theatre in Hollywood, Florida was destroyed in a fire in late January 1964. Go here to see photos of it being torn down.