400 N. Cleveland Street,
4 people favorited this theater
Previously operated by: Malco Theatres Inc., Martin Theatres
Architects: Edward F. Brueggeman, Guy W. Swaim
Firms: Brueggeman, Swaim & Allen
Styles: Streamline Moderne
- Mid-Town Adult Cinema
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- Cleveland St. Adult Theatre
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- Evergreen Theatre
News About This Theater
- Dec 9, 2012 — Happy 50th, “Lawrence of Arabia”
- Oct 19, 2011 — Happy 50th, "West Side Story"
- Oct 30, 2009 — Happy 50th, "Sleeping Beauty"
The Crosstown Theatre was opened on May 18, 1951 with David Wayne in “Up Front”. It had a huge 90 feet tall (when measured from the sidewalk) vertical name sign attached to the front of the building. According to an article in Boxoffice Magazine a mile of neon tubing was used in the marquee and vertical. Seating was provided in orchestra and balcony levels. It was the largest neighbourhood theatre ever constructed in Memphis, with 1,400 seats (the Plaza Theatre had 1,200 seats). It began as a standard double-feature neighbourhood theatre and continued with blockbusters such as “Cleopatra”, “My Fair Lady”, “The Poseidon Adventure” and others. It was sold in August 1976 and was taken over by the Jehovah’s Witnesses who have occupied the building ever since. A recent renovation completely remodelled the auditorium, but left the lobby in near pristine condition.
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Recent comments (view all 34 comments)
I worked at the Crosstown when the “Agony and the Ecstacy” opened. I was in junior high at Humes. My art teacher Mrs. Thweet and her daughter were my guests one night. I later worked at the Malco theater on Main St. The Malco at one time had a side entrance for blacks only where their seating was in the highest balcony in the theatre. I also worked at the Princess to let people go on their lunch breaks. Very seedy place and I don’t think that many people knew that it was owned by the same people.
my first real job ever was at the A&P grocery store across cleveland from the crosstown in 1969.right next door to the crosstown was a drug store that had a great lunch counter with wonderful greasy cheeseburgers!…so so long ago and yet just yesterday.
This was such a beautiful theater. It is a disgrace that it was allowed to end up like it did. I remember my sister and I having to sit through “Dr. Dolittle” back in the late 60s. Saw “Fiddler on the Roof” with my mom, “Day of the Jackal” with my grandmother. My 7th grade buddies from Auburndale and I saw “The Poseidon Adventure” several times. I must have seen “Billy Jack” a dozen times. So many movies: “2001,” “Tora,Tora, Tora,” “Z,” “The Cross and the Switchblade.” Many great times.
Went by there the other day, it is newly painted and remodeled. The main feature I could see through the doors were the twin sweeping staircases from the lobby to the balcony. They are still beautiful.
A new photo of the entire front and vertical from 1961 has been posted. From the Fire Museum of Memphis, used with permission.
2014 photos of the lobby staircases have been posted.
The Crosstown theatre opened as “The Theatre of Tomorrow” on May 18th, 1951. Grand opening ad posted.
Malco closed it in August 1976 and sold it to Gil Delugach. Another ad posted.
Higher quality ad: Malco Crosstown opening 18 May 1951, Fri The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee) Newspapers.com
Here’s a new 4-page 50th anniversary FIDDLER ON THE ROOF retrospective featuring a roadshow playdate chronology and historian Q&A. The Crosstown’s run is mentioned in the piece.