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This theater was demolished on March 20th, 2018, for redevelopment. Only the restrooms from the theater’s heyday still existed, the rest had been remodeled many times. This building sported more names than any other theatre building in Shelby County.
There is community interest from several avenues in preserving it.
2017 photos of exterior and organ console just uploaded.
Presently (April 2016) the auditorium has been gutted to its original state but very little decor remains. A group is involved in trying to restore and open it. Much of the lobby and foyer is intact along with the staircase and the “colored” entrance and separated balcony are also intact. It has a very shallow stage and at least two samples of vintage carpeting. Any other photos of the auditorium are being eagerly sought by this group. If they can be posted here, they have the link to this page.
Commercial Appeal photo.
Newby’s, the bar occupying the old theatre building, just closed. The Loeb family is poised to acquire the building for renovation. There isn’t anything left, really, except one display case saved from Loew’s State.
New Photo: Architects rendering of the proposed Fare Four Cinema which has become, after several alterations, the Palace Cinema.
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 so films are shown there, though not as its primary function. The Indie Memphis Film Festival office is also housed there.
A 1934 newspaper ad shows a Hanover Theatre at this address. That’s all I know right now.
61 DRIVE-IN 1961-65, SOUTHWEST TWIN 1968-2000
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.