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Marquee photo taken during Fire Prevention Week 1961, courtesy of the Memphis Fire Museum, used with permission.
The photo shows the American Theatre during the short period when it was the Sunday home of East End Christian Church (now Central Christian Church)from January of 1923 to March 29, 1924. This is the only known photo. This image has a mark the original does not have so any theft can be recognized. Courtesy of Central Christian Church.
That would be correct. The indoor Rex did not become the Royal until converted to sound. The original name was the Shamrock. One source says it had an interim name of Savoy for a time.
According to the Royal Studios (Royal Theatre) website, the Rex was an airdome which moved into the building later renamed the Royal.
The posted aerial is from 1938. The theatre was long gone and the lot developed.
Commericial buildings began to disappear from this block in the 1930s. An aerial from 1963 shows the block bounded by Poplar, Manassas, Washington and Orleans cleared to become Morris Park. No trace of any structure remains in the present day park.
2014 photos of the lobby staircases have been posted.
The address was in the row of smaller buildings. Whatever building it may have occupied was demolished before the large Memphis Light Gas and Water headquarters was built in the 1960s.
From the Memphis Public Library and Information Center, Memphis and Shelby County Room. Used with permission. An older photo from 1930 was located in 2013.
http://www.malco.com/olive/ This is a link to photos of the new Olive Branch Cinema on the Malco website.
Both of the drive-ins in this neighborhood now have photos and pages of their own.
The original American stood approximately across the street from Circuit Playhouse (Memphian Theatre). Before the new Playhouse on the Square was built, a portion of the building on the site was higher than the rest. That has been verified as the former auditorium of the American, the oldest of the three structures (which was also said to have had its screen behind the box office like the Old Daisy). The building torn down to build the new Playhouse on the Square was three connected buildings with different street addresses. I didn’t remember one area was taller and oblong until I first saw a mention of the American Theatre at that address. When the building was removed it had been remodeled many, many times and no real trace of its former uses was apparent. The only thing you could tell is that it was pretty old and decrepit.
A theatre with this name is also listed in the 1929 City Directory at 51 S Cooper, the actual site of Circuit Playhouse (Memphian). The primary reason Playhouse on the Square is on Cinema Treasures is that it moved from the Memphian where it was previously listed. Playhouse also hosts part of the Indie Memphis Film Festival.
A link to a vintage photo. Scroll through the book.
Here is the row where the former theatre building is. Will try for a better photo.
The building with the same address listed for the Cobb Theatre has been posted. Remnants of exits below ground level appear that it was either a twin or a tiny four-plex.
Got inside today, roof damage caused a lot of water leaks but the auditoriums look very much the same. The lobby is a shambles but the new mall management is looking to re-open the theatre after renovating. The original UA Southbrook 4 Theatre was expanded to 7 screens (really another tiny separate theatre using the same box office) and was last operated by Regal.
I have revised the history of both of these theatres after doing some cross-researching and unraveling.
There is a beautiful old photo of the Idlewild at this link. http://www.memphisheritage.org/cms/index.php?q=node/109. All four of the buildings displayed still exist and only one is not in use or being renovated.
New research shows the Bellevue open as early as 1951.
By comparing addresses I found a fourth theatre on Chelsea, at Fifth St. It was named the Chelsea and was operating in the teens (1914-1917) and was probably a storefront.
Opened by General Cinema in 1975, expanded by Malco in 2002.
Opened in 1996.
I am so sorry, I forgot to post the details of Bill’s gathering. A few friends from all over gathered at the former Guild Theatre on Monday, June 10. We watched his documentary “Return to the Ritz, or, Thrilled to the Guild” and all present enjoyed listening to his inimitable voice and delivery once again. The documentary was made in 1990. Several friends from far and wide donated to have a cenotaph placed in his memory at Elmwood Cemetery. It has been ordered but not yet placed. The event is no longer posted on Facebook but a photo of the marker will be posted after it is placed.
The Queen’s actual address, 90 N Main, is the vacant lot just out of frame on the left.
Row of buildings on North Main taken in 2013. The orange sign at the end is the building which housed the Majestic/Empire theatre. A building formerly on the vacant lot just out of frame once housed the Queen Theatre. No traces of either remain.