Malco's Quartet Cinema

3473 Poplar Avenue,
Memphis, TN 38111

Unfavorite 1 person favorited this theater

Help us make this street view more accurate

Please adjust the view until the theater is clearly visible. more info

Original sign for Malco's

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Malco Theatres opened the first multiplex theatre in the region at S. Highland Street and Poplar Avenue in 1971. It was simply known as Malco’s Quartet Cinema. It lasted through a proliferation of multi-screen cinemas partially due to its proximity to the University of Memphis. It once had in its lobby the prototype to the ‘Hollywood Stars’ mural in the Ridgway Four Cinema. Malco’s Quartet Cinema closed in 2005. No trace remains and the space is now a restaurant.

Contributed by JackCoursey, Vincent Astor

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on February 2, 2006 at 10:20 am

If I’m not mistaken, the Quartet was the first purpose built multi-plex in Memphis. It is an interesting design, occupying the middle of a large square 2-story shopping center. There is no marquee and hardly any indication that a theatre exists in the building. The box office doesn’t even face the street. Inside the Quartet is very plain (a Malco trademark) draped walls with a waterfall curtain over the screen.

The Quartet was built across the street from – and to compete with -the very handsome “Mamie-Eisenhower-Modern” Plaza theatre (q.v.).

JackCoursey on March 1, 2006 at 5:43 pm

It appears that the Quartet has gone dark. Here are a few parting shots of the cinema.

Backseater on February 4, 2007 at 1:07 pm

The Quartet opened while I was in the AF, 1967-72. I went there pretty regularly while at SW for post-BS courses (make of that what you will…) 73-74 and later at MSU which was only a few blocks down Highland Street. The building also held a huge liquor store, a Mexican restaurant, a video arcade, some other small retail stores, and on the second level some offices. The theater had no marquee, just a few poster cases beside the doors.
I’d list some of the movies I saw there but that would be tedious. I do remember that when “Young Frankenstein” played in 1974 or 75, the auditorium was literally packed to the walls. Sorry to hear it’s closed.

gspragin on July 23, 2007 at 9:49 pm

The first movie I saw there was “Patton” with George C. Scott.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on August 22, 2008 at 9:50 am

The Quartet’s floor plan was pretty conventional except for one small oddity. Of the conventional parts the lobby was long, narrow and two stories tall. The four auditoria were on the right as you entered. Important as it is in any theatre, I don’t remember the candy counter at all. At the very end of the lobby was a small pair of restrooms. Here’s the odd part: there was public stairway at the far end of the lobby. Turns out there were additional public restrooms on the upper level – up there with the projection booths. There were no balconies in the Quartet. Of course, in many old movie palaces the restrooms were down a level, but I don’t think I ever saw another theater where they were up a level.

vastor on August 12, 2011 at 4:28 pm

People who remember the Hollywood Stars collage at the Ridgeway Four do not remember its predecessor which was the focal point of the Quartet. It was removed many years ago the first time Malco tried to retire the cinema (U of M students kept it open for a while).

obitguy on January 31, 2012 at 11:09 pm

My buddy Jeremy and I went to the last show at the Quartet. We saw “Munich.” The manager let us snag the poster. Got Cybill Shepherd’s autograph at the concession stand when she was in town promoting “The Last Picture Show.” Used my fake ID to get into dozens of R-rated movies back in the 70s including “Magnum Force” and “The Summer of 42.” Went to a Billy Graham matinee movie with the 9th grade of Grace St. Lukes. A number of us snuck into “Deliverance.” Since “Deliverance” started about 20 minutes after “A Time to Run” we took turns peeking out into the lobby to see if the other movie was over. I had the bad luck to stick my head out just as the principle Mr. Scoggins was standing there. He told me to get whoever else was in the theater and get on the bus. He never said a word about it too us, or told our parents. I always liked him for that. I have fond memories of seeing dozens and dzens of movies at the Quartet.

vastor on November 20, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Responding to Chuck, yes there was a Highland Cinema. It was a later name for the Studio Theatre. It had many names—Newman, Normal, Studio, Movie House (on Highland), Highland Cinema. The proof of this is in a photo at American Classic Images dating from the 1980s. It is now the concert hall for Newby’s bar next door. It still exists but isn’t lovely. It never was elaborate in my recollection but it had an interesting 1960s “art house” lobby when it was the Studio.

Backseater on October 28, 2015 at 5:41 pm

Visiting Memphis this past weekend, I went by the Quartet on Monday. The main entrance is now a sandwich shop and the auditorium exits on the South side of the building are now small storefronts.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater