Tampa Theatre

711 Franklin Street,
Tampa, FL 33672

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Tampa Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

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 165 comments)

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.

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 on May 4, 2016 at 7:27 pm

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

Patsy on May 21, 2016 at 11:52 am

David: A great post! Thanks!

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 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 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 on April 28, 2017 at 8:28 pm

1958 photo added courtesy of Jeff Davies.

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