Suzore Theatre #1

869 Jackson Avenue,
Memphis, TN 38107

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Showing 15 comments

Iceberg on May 18, 2018 at 9:17 pm

I looked at a City Directory from 1978 and indeed saw the Jackson Street Theater at the Suzore address. I think it was open under this name in part of 1977 and perhaps it lasted into 1978. I may still have a handbill/flyer advertising the theater; I don’t think there were any newspaper ads. So, the Suzore #1 was a movie theater again in the 70’s for a short while.
As I mentioned above, the theater had closed in 1960 or maybe a year or so later. (Newspaper ads had stopped sometime in 1958, but the theater had still operated at least into 1960 to my recollection). I guess the place was empty all those years until the short-lived 1977 reopening.

Iceberg on October 10, 2017 at 12:12 pm

I wonder when the Suzores #1 actually closed. I think it continued to operate for a while without any ads in the newspaper. I’m pretty sure it was still in operation in 1960, but I don’t know how much longer beyond that. However, after possibly sitting empty for many years, it was reopened as a movie theater for a short while around 1976 or 1977. It was being called Jackson Street Theater or some such. I think it may have only operated a few months in that endeavor.

simplyfabulous on July 25, 2017 at 2:40 pm

I just purchased the Lot where the Suzore theater was. Would love comments, photos etc. This is a landmark with rich history.
Even has some Civil Right’s History. Amazing that back in the day of segregation a Black man sued a white man for damages.
Would like to know more about the Rutherford family as well.

Larryinrsm on May 30, 2015 at 10:19 pm

Does anyone know/remember which Suzore Theater was next door to a fire station? My grandfather was the projectionist there. I used to ride with him to go pick up the big film canisters and spent many hours with him in the projection booth while the movies were running.

Mr. Suzore used to give me free popcorn and soda to have while watching the movie. I only got to go to the matinees because I was so young and couldn’t stay up for the night time showings. After the movies were over I would go through the empty theater looking for coins people had dropped in the dark and rolled towards the screen because of the sloped floor. I did OK for a 7-yr old. While I was waiting for my grandfather to finish shutting down for the day I would go next door to the fire station and visit the firemen.

Years later (1957?) I would walk with my two cousins to the movies. I got $.50 for an allowance which got me in the movies, bought my popcorn, a candy bar, and a soda. And I got $.10 change.

I remember the Suzore’s being really nice to me. Great memories!

vastor on January 12, 2013 at 8:26 pm

I finally have seen, but could not copy, a beautiful, clear photo of the Lincoln Theatre at 297 N. Main. It became the Suzore #2. It was opened in 1927, the same year the Suzore on Jackson opened. It is curious. I have now seen newspaper ads reading “Suzore Theatres” “Suzore’s Theatres” and “Suzore’s #1 and #2.” Both signs must have been repainted at the same time to read “Suzore’s” but the floor tile of the Jackson theatre reads “Suzore Theatre” to this day. Of course, Fred Suzore was somewhat eccentric. Also the vertical on Jackson appears to have a marquee.

vastor on August 4, 2012 at 7:58 pm

I have been in contact with American Classic Images about use of their photos in a new project of mine. I purchased the photo of the Suzore #1 to post. The links to their site are very appropriate and welcome and I have been allowed to leave this posting with their credit.

vastor on July 26, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Found an old photo of the Suzore #1 on Jackson. I actually shouted at Fred Suzore in his apartment from down on the sidewalk.

vastor on July 17, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Jack Coursey’s photo is the #2 on N Main. Chuck’s photo is the one on Jackson, the #1. You may barely be able to see the shape of the floor and boxoffice. The tile floor is on Jackson, “in situ” as it were.

spectrum on October 18, 2007 at 8:59 pm

According to the link above, the Suzore was built in 1930 and razed in 1981.

JackCoursey on November 22, 2006 at 5:47 pm

Here is an archive photo of the theatre.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on November 4, 2005 at 10:29 am

I was told that the Suzores lived in an apartment above this theatre into the 1960’s and that there was a photoplayer still sitting at the front of the hall at that late date. That would imply the theatre dated from the silent era. When I saw the site it was a weedy lot: the building completely gone.

Backseater on October 16, 2005 at 6:15 am

Re: Elvis' boyhood favorite (see comments above and also for the other Suzore theater).
Careful study of the maps indicates that the Suzore No. 2 on North Main St. was only a few blocks from the Lauderdale Courts projects. This theater, The Suzore No. 1 on Jackson Avenue was farther away, although still within walking distance. This supports the idea that it was the Suzore No. 2 that Elvis attended as a child, so the old-timers who told me it was the other way round were probably mistaken and Mr. Goldman was probably correct.

Backseater on October 11, 2005 at 3:51 pm

That’s probably right then; my information was relayed from others, and maybe they or I (and Mr. Goldman, too) remembered it wrong. The building and sign were so far gone when I saw them that there was no way to tell. Thanks.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on October 11, 2005 at 9:20 am

According to Film Daily Yearbook; 1950 edition this is the Sozore Theater No. 1, 869 Jackson Avenue, Memphis TN. Seats: 950

The F.D.Y. 1950 edition lists the Suzore Theater No. 2, 279 North Main Street, Memphis. TN. Seats: 1,000

Backseater on October 11, 2005 at 7:26 am

This was the one known as the Suzore No. 2. Albert Goldman’s highly uncomplimentary and controversial biography of Elvis Presley (which I neither endorse nor condemn personally) states that while living in the Lauderdale Court projects nearby, Elvis went often to the Suzore No. 2. There, supposedly, he saw several early 1950s Tony Curtis movies that had a major role in shaping his image. In the late 1970s I occasionaly went biking down Jackson Avenue and would go right past the remains—or ruins—of the Suzore No. 2. It had obviously been closed a long time and was literally collapsing in slow motion. The large once-vertical sign was lying on its side in the grass beside the building, rusting away.