Imperial Theatre

124 South Tryon Street,
Charlotte, NC 28280

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Imperial Marquee

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Imperial Theatre opened in 1919 and was Charlotte’s top movie theatre until the larger and more ornate Carolina Theatre opened in 1927. A fire closed the building in 1931 but after an extensive remodeling in 1932, it reopened as Charlotte’s only Atmospheric style theatre. The rather narrow auditorium had a balcony and the side walls were decorated in a Spanish style. Overhead was a blue plaster sky with electric stars and projected clouds.

The Imperial Theatre was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary H.F. Kincey in the 1940’s. It had a successful run showing mostly first run movies for several decades until the opening of the Park Terrace Theatre in the suburbs forced its closing in 1964. The building sat empty for a few years and was torn down in the late-1960’s.

Contributed by Mark Huffstetler

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

Patsy on February 1, 2007 at 2:39 pm

This theatre is featured in a small postcard photo within the pages of Remembering Charlotte. “Stars and constellations were wondrously projected onto the ceiling. Its narrow entrance wedged between the Bank of Charlotte and Tate-Brown Co. did not deter moviegoers. The Imperial was one of four or five profitable theaters within two blocks of the Square before suburban theaters opened.” Then in the ‘urban renewal 60’s, it was demolished due to suburban theaters. Such a shame. Fortunately, the City of Charlotte still has the Carolina Theatre, but it needs to be completely restored.

Patsy on February 1, 2007 at 2:41 pm

And yes, I hope that we can all view the photo of this theatre that is within the pages of “The Time of the Trolley”.

Patsy on October 17, 2007 at 8:44 pm

Lost Memory: Found any photos other than the one I found in Remembering Charlotte?

ncmark on November 30, 2008 at 9:51 am

The World Premier of the movie ‘The Vanishing American’ took place at the Imperial on September 21, 1925.

PatriciaCarol on March 4, 2009 at 9:07 pm

I’m not positive, but I believe there was an art department downstairs (basement?) in the Imperial. They were responsible for the lobby cards and other signs for directing/informing theatre patrons.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on October 13, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Couldn’t Charlotte save any of her theatres? What’s wrong with you folks. We saved three downtown theatres in Augusta. And even Atlanta has sense enought to saved a few of their old theatres.

Susan Walker
Susan Walker on May 25, 2011 at 9:35 am

I remember riding by the Imperial Theatre during shopping trips to Charlotte with my grandmother; by that time it had been closed. Patsy, I plan to order “Remembering Charlotte” and I’ll scan the photo and post it.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 25, 2011 at 9:45 am

Thanks it will be great to see the lost theatres.I have a shot of the Thunderbird Drive-in There,too,

Carmichael on February 19, 2012 at 9:41 am

This was a tragic loss to the culture and heritage of 20th Century Charlotte. I saw several films there, but by far the most memorable was: Dr. No. The first James Bond thriller had just been released, and it was scintillating – every school boy’s dream. What a pity that this gem of a theater has been lost.

raysson on November 16, 2012 at 7:56 am

Cecil B. DeMille’s “THE TEN COMMANDMENTS” played here as a Reserved Seat Exclusive Engagement Showing at the Imperial Theatre on February 28,1957. It was in fact the only showing of the film in the Carolinas. Tickets for this event when on sale in advance for its premiere showing in the Carolinas with two performances daily. Presented in Stereophonic Sound.

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