Sunshine Theatre

120 Central Avenue SW,
Albuquerque, NM 87102

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Sunshine Theatre exterior

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened on May 1, 1924, the 1,200 seat Sunshine Theatre was designed by El Paso architect Henry C. Trost, and was Albuquerque’s first big movie palace. By the early-1940’s it was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary Hoblitzelle & O'Donnell.

It continued to operate as a movie theatre into the 1980’s, and has recently been reborn as an all-ages night club, with an over-21 bar in the former balcony and a second bar called the Moonlight Lounge in one corner of the main floor.

Contributed by Joe Vogel

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

kencmcintyre on November 2, 2006 at 4:57 pm

On October 29, 1952, the Sunshine was featuring Mario Lanza in “Because You’re Mine”. The Albuquerque Journal on that day also advertised these area theaters:

Sandia, Isleta – Spanish language films

Terrace Drive-In, 66 Drive-in, Sunset Drive-In, Tesuque Twin
Drive-In, Star Drive-In

Kimo, Cactus, State, El Rey, Hiland, Lobo, Ernie Pyle

jillgatwood on December 5, 2006 at 11:38 am

The Sunshine Theater is now a disgrace. I paid $30 to see a major musician there last night. Because it was “General Admission,” I got there early and waited outside in the cold for an hour (they also opened late). Patrons were frisked like prisoners upon entry. The venue seems to be unheated; it was VERY cold inside. It is decrepid, dirty and in ill-repair. The bathrooms are like the worst bus station you’ve ever been in; stinky, no soap, stall doors don’t even close. I’ve lived in under-developed countries and have rarely been in a theater that is so gross. I am embarrassed for Albuquerque. Hopefully someone will buy this building and rennovate.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on April 30, 2008 at 12:22 pm

A 1987 view of the Sunshine Theater in Albuquerque.

MPol on May 10, 2009 at 7:34 pm

When theatres are allowed to deteriote and go down hill like that, it’s clearly a wake-up call that it’s demise is around the corner, so to speak. Not a good sign, imho.

lhl12 on October 30, 2009 at 5:17 pm

I’m at my wit’s end. I first attended the Sunshine in 1973 for GONE WITH THE WIND, and my immature mind could not put a finger on what was wrong. I attended regularly in the late 1970s when it was a repertory house, and I still could not put my finger on what was wrong. Now I can. The entire interior of the theatre was drastically remodeled in 1948 in art moderne style. The only remaining trace of architect Henry C Trost’s and the anonymous decorator’s original design is the plaster mold surrounding the proscenium. Many moons ago I went through the microfilms of the local papers from circa May 1924 and found a single illustration of the original interior: a detail of an exit door, which was framed by three arches, all traces of which have been erased forever. The Henry Trost archives appear to have nothing about the Sunshine. The Albuquerque Public Library has nothing. The Albuquerque Museum has no illustrations of the original interior, and UNM’s Center for Southwest Research has papers relating only to the hideous 1948 remodeling. Does anyone, anyone, anyone at all have illustrations of the original 1924 interior? Many thanks!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 19, 2012 at 11:44 am

Nice Theatre,interesting story by lhl12.

Lucky on September 29, 2015 at 4:34 pm

Excerpts from Irving Foy obit, Variety, 4/28/2003; “Irving Foy, the youngest and last survivor of the famed “Seven Little Foys” vaudeville act, has died. He was 94. Irving Foy moved to New Mexico in 1944 to recover from tuberculosis. He ran three movie theaters [Kimo, Lobo, and Sunshine] in Albuquerque until 1952, when the family moved to Taos. There, Foy managed a drive-in movie theater and operated an ice cream parlor. He returned to Albuquerque in 1958 …”

Lucky on September 30, 2015 at 12:56 pm

Here is a vintage Vitaphone short subject featuring the Foy family entitled ‘Chips Off the Old Block.’ Irving Foy is the well dressed lad to the far right.

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