Florida Theatre

5th Street South and 1st Avenue South,
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

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Internet references state this was the first air conditioned theatre in St. Petersburg. It was certainly the largest movie theatre in the town and was designed by architects; Roy A. Benjamin & Robert E. Hall.

Contributed by John Evans

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 12, 2007 at 9:59 am

Here’s a 1926 photo of the office building. A slither of the theatre’s auditorium behind the building can be seen at right. This must have been quite a demolition project. Shame on those responsible!

spectrum on September 9, 2007 at 5:20 pm

According to the Motion Picture Yearbook for 1936, this seated 2,400.

theatreorganmana on April 23, 2008 at 12:54 pm

Elvis Presley appeared here on August 7, 1956, PRIOR to his engagement at the Florida Theatre in Jacksonville Aug. 10-11!

rivest266 on September 9, 2008 at 5:00 pm

Grand opening ad at View link
there are about 10 pages

rivest266 on September 9, 2008 at 5:11 pm

Lost Memory The article starts at View link

rivest266 on September 10, 2008 at 5:04 pm

The world premiere for 101 Dalmantions was held on January 25th, 1961 here.
ad at
View link

theatreorganmana on October 30, 2008 at 6:38 am

Research shows that the following organists have been known to have played the Florida Theatre Wurlitzer: Zita O'Brien (orignally from Chicago and featured at the Picadilly Theatre; in St. Pete, she organized the “St. Patrick’s Morning Musical” in the early fifties at the Florida—featuring area musicians including her console work);
John H. Miller (c. 1951, who featured daily programs at the Florida and also served as registrar for the A.G.O.); Don Berger (c. mid-forties, who was also organist at WTSP Radio. Mr. Berger made news when he was discovered in a car in which he had rigged a hose to end his life with carbon monoxide poisioning in October of 1945; a “Mrs. Crowther” was featured in advertising on June 20, 1927; George Henninger was also featured in the early years of the Florida.

theatreorganmana on October 30, 2008 at 6:58 am

William J. Gilroy was featured organist at the theatre’s grand opening.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on October 30, 2008 at 7:16 am

Here’s a new link to an early view of the entrance, which had a lobby that cut through the office building and connected to the auditorium behind it. This was similar to the arrangement of the Paramount Theatre in Times Square, New York City, which also had its auditorium behind an office building: View link

CSWalczak on October 9, 2010 at 11:20 pm

This page includes the photo above and some others, including some of Elvis’s appearance there: http://www.scottymoore.net/StPete.html

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