Tampa Theatre

711 Franklin Street,
Tampa, FL 33672

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Tampa Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

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.

Recent comments (view all 169 comments)

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.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on October 3, 2016 at 7:25 pm

The films scheduled for Tampa Theatre’s 4th annual Halloween series, A Nightmare on Franklin Street:

Oct. 21: A Nightmare on Elm Street (7:30 p.m.); Friday the 13th (10 p.m.)

Oct. 22: The Innocents (2 p.m.); Beetlejuice (4:45 p.m.); The Conjuring (7:30 p.m.)

Oct. 23: Hocus Pocus (2 p.m.); Psycho (4:30 p.m.); Scream (7 p.m.); Halloween (10 p.m.).

Oct. 24: The Witch (7:30 p.m.); It Follows (10 p.m.)

Oct. 25: Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (7:30 p.m.); Poltergeist (10 p.m.)

Oct. 26: The Omen (10 p.m.)

Oct. 28: Shock Treatment (7:30 p.m.); The Rocky Horror Picture Show (10 p.m.)

Oct. 29: Ghostbusters (3 p.m.); The Haunting (6 p.m.)

Oct. 31: Hotel Transylvania (10 a.m.); I Drink Your Blood (7:30 p.m.)

Oct. 30: The Nightmare Before Christmas (2:30 p.m.); Carrie (5 p.m.); Misery (7:30 p.m.); Creepshow (10 p.m.)

RickB
RickB on December 15, 2016 at 4:56 pm

$6 million restoration project announced; new seating will be a highlight. Tampa Bay Times story here.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on April 28, 2017 at 8:28 pm

1958 photo added courtesy of Jeff Davies.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on May 20, 2017 at 3:48 pm

Upcoming “JFK In Tampa” showing and event at the Tampa Theatre.

http://tampatheatre.org/movies/jfk-in-tampa/

rivest266
rivest266 on September 25, 2017 at 2:09 pm

The grand opening ad ran over 20 pages with half of the space promoting the office space.

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