Knickerbocker Theatre

219 Capitol Boulevard,
Nashville, TN 37219

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rivest266 on February 13, 2016 at 3:59 pm

March 22nd, 1916 grand opening ad in photo section.

TheatreOrgan on December 16, 2012 at 9:37 pm

According to the Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ, Vol.1, page 259, by David Junchen, published 1985, and referencing the theatre’s summary at the top of this page, a Kimball Theatre Pipe Organ was installed in 1916. Three manuals/twelve ranks, including a two rank echo chamber, probably positioned near the back of the auditorium.

mpotts on December 16, 2012 at 1:49 pm

The Kimball organ was moved to 1st Lutheran Church on 8th Avenue in the late 40s. It was removed when church bought a new organ in early 60s. I have no idea what became of it.

TLSLOEWS on June 21, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Thanks for that link Chuck.

DavePrice on June 20, 2011 at 11:34 pm

Just for the record and to whoever wrote the opening comment above, the Capitol Blvd address and the Sixth Ave address are the same building; the ole Knick had two entrances, one on each of these streets.

adreed on June 20, 2011 at 11:29 pm

Information about Knickerbocker and other Nashville theaters at

KAS on June 1, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Looks like we have lost some comments and photo links with the New C.T.

TLSLOEWS on May 9, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Thanks again Dave,that an interesting bit of Nashville History.From over 50 years ago.

DavePrice on May 9, 2011 at 4:38 pm

I believe she was a life-long artist. That’s how I met her as she was a long-time friend of Chris Tibbott who taught art here in Nashville for many years and after whom the art wing of the University School is named.

TLSLOEWS on May 9, 2011 at 4:17 pm

I thought the name was spelled wrong,but how it was spelled in the paper.The artical just called here Mrs. Porter Sudekum.(spelled wrong).She gave a watercolor of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church to Fess Parker in 1955 when he was in Nashville promoting Davy Crockett,King of the Wild Frontier.Thanks for your info Dave.

DavePrice on May 9, 2011 at 4:04 pm

He was married to Marie Sudekum (no t). I knew Marie but not Porter.

TLSLOEWS on May 9, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Porter Woolwine was a one time manager of the Knickerbocker Theatre,he was married to a daughter of the late Tony Studekum,former president of the Crescent Amusement Co,according to the May 2011 Nashville,Retrospect,Maybe Dave Price knew him?

TLSLOEWS on April 25, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Mike check out the Paramount Nashville,Nick has posted 3 photos for me also there.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 24, 2011 at 8:14 pm

thanks Nick and Tis for getting this theatre on.

TLSLOEWS on April 24, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Thanks for posting Nick.

DavePrice on April 23, 2011 at 6:22 pm

This pic looks like the mid-fifties from the THREE Fords lined up abreast at the traffic light. Boy have I been right here many times!

Nunzienick on April 23, 2011 at 5:56 pm

What great double features tlsloews! Just like the programs The Ritz in Tampa ran in the early 1960s. Here’s a long street shot of 6th Avenue North with The Knickerbocker Theatre on the left. Looks like the double feature for the day is “Hot Rod Girl” and “Girls in Prison."
View link

TLSLOEWS on November 8, 2010 at 6:58 am

According to the November 2010 Nashville Retrospect in 1926 this was the first theatre in Nashville to show a movie with sound.The theatre closed in 1961 after showing “B” movies for years such as Hot Rod Girls and Girls In Prison,Attack of the Crab Monsters, Not of this Earth, and Attack of the 50 foot Woman,showed with War of the Satellites in November of 1958.In 1959 Go Johnny Go was on the screen.In 1957 Micheal Landon starred in I was a Teenage Werewolf paired with I was a Teenage Frankenstein.In the waning days of the theatre 12 to the Moon, and Battle in Outer Space graced the screen.

DavePrice on August 30, 2010 at 3:14 pm

The name “Knickerbocker” had been painted long ago on the two ends of the Capitol Boulevard side of the building, one facing north and the other south and at the very top of the wall. Until the building was razed, the name could still be seen on both ends, though not from street level. From the garage to what was originally the Hyatt Regency Hotel (now I believe the Holiday Inn Crown Plaza), you could see the painted name facing north, and from Church Street Center, you could see the one facing south.

That side of the building was covered with white glazed brick and decorated with what I thought Terra Cotta-like trim. The drug store had covered this up of course. When the building came down, I picked up a piece of the white brick which included some of the trim. As luck would have it, this was lost or left behind when we moved several years later. Rats !!!

TLSLOEWS on August 27, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Thanks for the history Dave, its hard to find anyone who knows much about this theatre.

DavePrice on August 27, 2010 at 10:57 am

The night of June 22, 1950 I went with my parents to the Knickerbocker to see “Curtain Call at Cactus Creek” which starred Donald O'Connor. It had been announced that O'Connor would appear in person after the show.

As I mentioned before there was no stage at the Knickerbocker, simply a dais or platform formed by a series of semi-circular steps ascending to the tiny apex. Sure enough Donald O'Connor was introduced and entertained us briefly. He asked if there were any requests and my dad asked him to sing a song that he had sung in the movie we had just seen. O'Connor explained that he had learned that song just for the movie and didn’t even remember the words.

I later heard that the O'Connor family had played the Princess when Donald was a boy. I believe they had an acrobatic act of some kind.

DavePrice on August 26, 2010 at 11:35 pm

I’ll get this info on tomorrow.

Yes I very well remember Harvey’s and the licking I got for going to ride the new escalators when I had been told to come straight home from the old uptown Y.

Boy, would I like to have a piece of that Harveys (Kleeman’s) apple pie !!!

TLSLOEWS on August 26, 2010 at 8:22 pm

I am interested Dave, I am a Nashville Native and former theatre Manager would love to hear more history of the Knickerbocker, I am sure you know of Harveys Dept. store that was across from the theatre.

DavePrice on August 26, 2010 at 7:50 pm

William Henry Wassmann (1870-1928) had operated the Crystal here as early as 1912. The beam in the Knickerbocker building referred to by a writer above said “Wassmann’s Theatre.” He opened the Knickerbocker March 16, 1916 and on September 8 of the same year sold both the Crystal and the Knickerbocker to Crescent Amesement Company.

I bet I am the only one reading these lines who saw a big name movie star appear at this theater. There was no stage, just a little round platform with encircling steps, if I make myself clear. If there is any interest I will give the name and date of this appearance.

The Knickerbocker had the first “electric eye” door opener I ever saw.