Idlewild Theatre

1819 Madison Avenue,
Memphis, TN 38104

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Idlewild Theatre in 1955

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This concept of using vintage movie theatres as banquet halls appears to be a good way of preserving these gems.

Contributed by Jack Coursey

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Backseater
Backseater on October 25, 2005 at 7:58 am

This theater is on the South side of Madison Avenue just West of McLean. When I arrived in Memphis in 1963 it was operating as a live venue known as Front Street Theater, even though it was a long way from Front Street. The bar/lounge upstairs under the balcony was a local talking point. By the early 1970s it had gone to porn—and not even very high-class porn, at that—and was limping along. I lost track of it in the late 70s, but believe it was closed for a while. Glad to hear the building was saved, at least.

JackCoursey
JackCoursey on March 17, 2006 at 12:21 am

Here are a couple of photos from January 2006 of the Idlewild.

GaryB
GaryB on July 24, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Just to explain the name in the 1960’s.

The performing company got it’s start as a semi-pro company and performed in the basement of the “King Cotton Hotel” on Front Street in Memphis, when it went outgrew the confines there, a new location was needed, first the Memphian was considered, would have been a wonderful choice, but the deal fell thru, and since a midtown location was prefered, the deal with the Idlewild was made, and they brought their name with them.

As performing theater it could seat 401.

I spent many happy and sometime hard hours there when I was in High School, I learned so very much, maybe sometime I will share some of my times.

For now just wanted to explain the name and give a few facts.

vastor
vastor on August 15, 2013 at 8:28 pm

There is a beautiful old photo of the Idlewild at this link. http://www.memphisheritage.org/cms/index.php?q=node/109. All four of the buildings displayed still exist and only one is not in use or being renovated.

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