Imperial Theatre

124 South Tryon Street,
Charlotte, NC 28280

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raysson on September 11, 2015 at 11:56 am

The very first 007 picture DOCTOR NO played here first-run as a exclusive Carolina engagement at Charlotte’s Imperial Theater.

raysson on September 11, 2015 at 11:54 am

The Imperial Theatre’s demise came in 1964 when the opening of the Park Terrace Theater brought this cinema to closed its doors. Not to mention faced strong competition from the state of the art and bigger Charlottetown Mall Cinema 1 & 2 which was the state’s first-ever twin theater that opened a year earlier in 1963.

raysson on September 11, 2015 at 11:51 am

Zelda and Susan Walker: My name is Raymond and I have in my possession from the February 28, 1957 advertisement from The Charlotte Observer for the Imperial’s showing of Cecil B. DeMille’s THE TEN COMMANDMENTS which was the only reserved seat showing of the film in the Carolinas. I also have the advertisement for its Eastern North Carolina premiere where it played in Raleigh first run which was also a reserved seat engagement. If you need to see them please contact me at Thanks.

zelda on September 11, 2015 at 9:37 am

I am so glad to see Imperial get some recognition. Went to a lot of movies there. My brother Wallace Treadway was usher there in the 1950’s after school. He graduated 1955 from East/meck.

Susan Walker
Susan Walker on September 11, 2015 at 6:42 am

This is a comment from Shannon Smith from the Facebook group “Charlotte N.C. The Past and Present” – I’m posting this with her permission. Fascinating look into the use of the Imperial after it closed. Many thanks to Shannon!

“In the summers of 1965 &1966, CMS had a theatre arts summer school in the Imperial Theatre. There were students from all over the county. The theatre was already closed for movies, but it was originally built as a performing hall. It contained all of the necessary equipment to move scenery, work lights and have wings to make it possible to get on and off the stage easily. There was a basement where dressing rooms were. We had our own full orchestra, a singing tutor and Mr Hall taught us the proper lighting techniques as well as proper theatre etiquette. For 5 of the 6 weeks of the school, we put on a 30 minute musical and even had to add "matinee” on Wednesday’s. The cost for admission was 50ยข and we usually had the house half full or better. It was because of Mr. Hall’s vision that CMS agreed to this for these two years. It made a HUGE impact on all of us who attended, pointing some to a future career.

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.

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.

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,

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 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.

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.

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.

Patsy on October 17, 2007 at 8:44 pm

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

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 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.

BrooklynJim on July 6, 2006 at 9:25 am

The Imperial Theatre is clearly shown in a 1928 half-page photo that appeared in William D, Middleton’s book, “The Time of the Trolley” (Kalmbach Publishing, 1967, p. 209). The theater’s marquee, unfortunately, is blocked by two passing Birney trolley cars, but the signage stands tall, sharp and ornate.

I lack the technical tools to scan and post photos, but Middleton’s book is available in many public libraries. Hopefully, some industrious person can get the job done and link the photo to this page. Good luck!