Princess Theater

169 S. Main Street,
Memphis, TN 38103

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Princess Theatre 1940

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Princess Theater opened in the early part of the twentieth century under the Southern Enterprises banner and was equipped with a Kimball pipe organ. The theater was later acquired by the Shelby Amusement Company and closed around 1969 and demolished around 1972. Please update if you have any additional information on this theater.

Contributed by Jack Coursey

Recent comments (view all 17 comments)

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on April 23, 2007 at 3:56 am

The cashier at the Malco (Orpheum) a half-block south was killed by a gun man around the time of the 1968 riots. I never heard anything about a murder at the Princess, but it certainly isn’t beyond the relm of possibility.

Backseater
Backseater on May 18, 2007 at 6:55 pm

I heard that about the Malco cashier too, from Bill Kendall. Sorry I don’t have more details. I do know that when I came back to Mempho in 1972, the Malco/Orpheum had bulletproof glass installed in the box office.

AndrewBarrett
AndrewBarrett on February 20, 2008 at 3:42 am

According to Bowers' “Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments” page 551, there was a Reproduco organ made by the Operators Piano Co. installed at the Princess at one time.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 18, 2010 at 6:53 pm

There was a photo of the concession stand in Boxoffice, June 1960:
http://tinyurl.com/ycbewra

ghsong
ghsong on November 27, 2010 at 7:21 pm

this theater was still in business when i was a boy of 11 or 12.this would have been in 1967 or so.in those days it was still safe and accepted for kids to ride the bus downtown and see movies at the malco,loews state etc…however we were warned not to go to movies at the princess as that was where the perverts hung out.i have no idea if that reputation was warranted or not.

vastor
vastor on August 11, 2011 at 6:54 am

The Princess probably had that reputation because it stank. It had a men’s room but it was easier to use the storm drain in the alley on the south side. The Princess was legendary because of that and convenient because the concession stand was outdoors. It stank even after it closed, inside and out, and during demolition. I remember hearing from people I knew that it was a “colored theatre” on Main St. It had some upper levels because my father bought some of the fire escape stairs for a project of his. Also some of the balcony rails from Loew’s State. That’s how I got my mementos from the State and a glimpse of the ruins of the Princess. BTW, Mary Pearcy was shot in the boxoffice of the Malco in late 1971, just before “Hair” reopened the stage in January 1972. It was an attempted robbery. After that, the bulletproof glass was installed which remains today. Malco did not use the window facing Main ever again. I was at the theatre before and after and I will never forget that night.

zzralph
zzralph on December 12, 2012 at 10:51 am

My wife and I were in the theater watching ‘Dirty Harry’ the night Mary Pearcy was shot at the Malco. Policemen everywhere and we could not exit through the front. Had to find out what happened on the news.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on December 12, 2012 at 8:46 pm

There is additional information about and pictures of the Princess on this webpage.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on March 29, 2014 at 9:26 am

There is reference to the Princess having a Kimball organ. In David Bowers “Encyclopedia of Automated Musical Instruments” p. 551 is a reference to the installation of a Reproduco organ (probably a photoplayer) at the Princess. There is no date: maybe it preceded the Kimball.

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