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 157 comments)

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on May 1, 2014 at 6:03 am

Tampa Theatre has just announced the line-up for this years Summer Classics Film Series. Showings are Sundays at 3:00 with an additional showing of Mary Poppins and Casablanca on Saturdays at 3:00.

2001: A Space Odyssey (June 1) To Kill A Mockingbird (June 8) Saturday Night Fever (June 15) Sing-Along Mary Poppins (June 21-22) Raiders of the Lost Ark (June 29) North By Northwest (July 6) The Gay Divorcee (July 13) Lawrence of Arabia (July 20) Blazing Saddles (July 27) Dirty Dancing (August 3) Citizen Kane (August 10) Casablanca (August 16-17) The Black Pirate (August 24)

Mikeoaklandpark on May 2, 2014 at 5:27 am

N ick have they gone digital?

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on May 2, 2014 at 11:44 am

Mike, They went digital in April 2013 although they’re retaining the 35mm projectors. I’m guessing all the above films will be digital with possible exception of The Black Pirate which is silent. Below is a comment posted last year by Tampa Theatre on the installation of digital equipment:

Tampa Theatre

Just to be clear – we’re not switching… we’re ADDING! The 35mm projectors aren’t going anywhere, and they’ll still be used for certain archival films.

19 April 4, 2013

Mikeoaklandpark on May 4, 2014 at 7:10 am

Nick do they still use the curtains or have they gone like most with the slides?

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on May 4, 2014 at 9:38 am

Mike, They don’t use any slides at all. The curtains are closed before each showing begins. 30 minutes prior to the showing the Wurlitzer organ rises up on stage and the organist treats the audience to several tunes. At showtime the organ recedes down into the stage (usually to thunderous audience applause) and the lights are dimmed. When the image hits the screen the curtains begin opening. At the end of the showing they are closed again.

The proper screen masking is also used for each showing. For Scope presentations, following the previews, the top masking drops down slightly and the side maskings open fully once the “Feature Presentation” title card appears onscreen. For last Sunday’s showing of “Wizard of Oz” (filmed in the old 1.33 ratio) the side maskings closed a few extra feet inward to the edges of the image once the film began.

True showmanship is alive and well at the Tampa Theatre! And I’m happy to say the Sunday afternoon showings are near sell-outs every week so arriving early for a good seat is a must.

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 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 on May 8, 2015 at 12:47 pm

I loved the Sunday classics when I lived there.

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