Tampa Theatre

711 Franklin Street,
Tampa, FL 33672

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Tampa Theatre

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The Tampa Theatre opened October 15, 1926, designed by theatre architect John Eberson as a Florida Mediterranean Atmospheric style theatre. Audiences were transported to a lavish, romantic Mediterranean courtyard, replete with old world statuary, flowers and gargoyles. Over all is a night-time sky, replete with twinkling stars and floating clouds.

The Tampa Theatre ‘Mighty Wurlitzer’ is a magnificent 3Manual/14Rank instrument maintained by the Central Florida Theater Organ Society.

In the 1940’s, the Tampa Theatre was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary E.J. Sparks. This wonderous movie palace almost faced the wrecking ball. After almost fifty years of top notch films, the Tampa Theatre was forced to eke out an existence by showing ‘B’ movies. By 1973, the Tampa Theatre was closed. People and government rallied to save the Tampa. The theatre was then donated to the city. In 1977, it was named to the National Register of Historic Places and reopened following an extensive restoration.

The Tampa Theatre presents art films, classic films, concerts and other performances. There are usually tours every month. Eberson’s magic lives on.

Recent comments (view all 162 comments)

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on May 5, 2014 at 12:55 pm

That is wonderful. I miss that theater so much. So glad it’s alive and doing well. When I lived there from 83-96 the screen actually rolled up like a shade. They had no side masking. The curtains were used in place of the masking for films that were flat. With that said did they get a new screen and masking since I left 18 years ago?

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on May 6, 2014 at 7:29 am

A new professional theatre screen with adjustable top and side masking was installed around 4 years ago. I don’t believe this screen was replaced for the digital conversion last year since it was still relatively new. The digital conversion includes a Christie CP-2220 Digital Cinema System and 5.1 Surround Sound with new laser driven speakers behind the screen. The image and audio are now greatly enhanced.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on May 7, 2014 at 5:27 am

Wow that is great. Long live the Tampa theater. Thanks Nick.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on May 6, 2015 at 9:39 am

This years Summer Classic Film Series was just announced. Showings are Sunday afternoon at 3:00 with extra showing of Casablanca on Saturday at 7:30.

The Wizard of Oz (June 7th)

Key Largo (June 14th)

Caddyshack (June 21st)

Vertigo (June 28th)

Back to the Future (July 5th)

Top Hat (July 12th)

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (July 19th)

The Sound of Music Sing-Along (July 26th)

Gone With the Wind (August 2nd)

West Side Story (August 9th)

Goodfellas (August 16th)

Casablanca (August 22nd & 23rd)

Phantom of the Opera 1925 (August 30th)

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on May 8, 2015 at 12:47 pm

I loved the Sunday classics when I lived there.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on May 4, 2016 at 4:41 pm

Here’s the lineup for 2016’s Summer Classics Series:

Fargo (6/5)

The African Queen (6/12)

Raiders of the Lost Ark (6/19)

Forbidden Planet (6/26)

Pretty in Pink (7/3)

Notorious (7/10)

The French Connection (7/17)

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (7/24)

Swing Time (7/31)

All the President’s Men (8/7)

M (8/14)

A Raisin in the Sun (8/21)

The Maltese Falcon (8/28)

The Wizard of Oz (9/4)

Gone with the Wind (9/11)

Casablanca (9/18)

Screenings are on Sunday Afternoons at 3:00, and are preceded by a mini-concert on the Mighty Wurlitzer. Admission is $10, or $8 for Tampa Theatre members.

42ndStreetMemories
42ndStreetMemories on May 4, 2016 at 7:27 pm

Disappointed that there isn’t a silent film in the lot.

Patsy
Patsy on May 21, 2016 at 11:52 am

David: A great post! Thanks!

David_Schneider
David_Schneider on May 21, 2016 at 11:58 am

On June 14th, 2015 I toured the Tampa Theater. I mentioned to the tour guide that parts of the interior, like the second floor lobby, looked something like the Olympia in downtown Miami.

After the tour, before the film began (“Key Largo”, as part of their Summer Classic Film Series), she found me in my seat to tell me she had just discovered the two theaters have the same architect, then left saying “Now I have to visit Miami”. : )

I enjoyed the history of the theater, the live organ performance (it rises from beneath the stage, descends as the music finishes), and getting to see an old film in a venue that was around during the film’s original release.

The Tampa Theater, its history and preservation, are also discussed in part of the book “The Southern Movie Palace: Rise, Fall, and Resurrection ” by Janna Jones..

David_Schneider
David_Schneider on May 21, 2016 at 12:06 pm

Patsy: Thanks, I enjoy doing them. I rewrote it slightly and reposted, then deleted the original which is why your comment now appears above mine.

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