711 Franklin Street,
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The Tampa Theatre opened by Publix on October 15, 1926 with Adolph Menjou in “The Ace of Cads”. It was designed by noted 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.
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