Commodore Theatre

421 High Street,
Portsmouth, VA 23704

Unfavorite 15 people favorited this theater

Showing 13 comments

MOintLek2L
MOintLek2L on April 29, 2013 at 8:37 am

Fred, I was revamping my telephone contacts and—once again—had to pause on the listing for your Commodore Theatre. It seems like a million years ago, a veritable lifetime since I was in Portsmouth. The theatre’s classic front styling caused me to stop at the Box Office window and read the newspaper article displayed, detailing your restoration efforts. That’s when you walked up and invited me inside. You gave me a tour of the place and I couldn’t help but feel a sense of awe at the devotion to the project you exhibited. There was also a sense of lingering memories that seemed to exude from the very structure of the building and the interior appointments, so I frequently wondered if I was seeing the present-day version of the theatre, or if my mind’s eye was transporting me into the halcyon days of its prime. As our conversation continued, you asked if I’d lend you a hand with some repairs, to which I agreed. Over several days, you and I restored some wiring, both electrical and for the table telephones. You even turned me loose to tighten up some of the seating in the balcony. Between the various and sundry projects, you were the consummate host, telling me tales of the original architecture, showing me how the projectors used a continuous loop of film, and explaining how your staff handled the process of catering meals during the showings. You even allowed me to witness the fruits of your labor, letting me sit in on the current film during the evenings, “Meet Joe Black.” I helped shuttle out food to customers during the feature. It was a wonderful experience for me, and I hope some of what I contributed still remains as an integral part of the theatre’s underpinnings. I’m proud to have shared a tiny slice of its history. Since then, I’ve retired from the Air Force and taken up residence in Fulton, MO. I work at Callaway nuclear power plant, and I’ve held several different positions over the last 12 years. I’m still a “jack of all trades” and a master of a few of them. My work-a-day world doesn’t often provide the sweep and grandeur, or the historical beauty of such a place where you work, but my memories of the Commodore Theatre are always a fond reminiscence, whenever I am reminded of it. Bless you abundantly, and thanks for the memory! TJW

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on June 29, 2012 at 10:49 am

The Commodore was featured in this 1946 trade ad: boxofficemagazine

DonLewis
DonLewis on October 31, 2010 at 6:31 pm

From the 1950s a photo postcard view of the Commodore Theatre along with the Colony which is directly across the street.

SchineHistorian
SchineHistorian on December 2, 2009 at 5:42 pm

I enjoyed lunch and a movie at the Commodore over the weekend and urge everyone in, around or passing through the VA area to take the time to enjoy this unique theater!

The food was out of this world, quite reasonably priced and served quickly. The seating was delightful (main auditorium is table and comfy chairs – balcony is for popcorn and soda) and the theater is in great shape. An Art Deco delight! This is a single screen theater that is making a go of it by blending it’s historic decor with a very modern concept. They get my HIGHEST marks!!

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 9, 2006 at 11:53 am

Here is a 1958 photo. The theater was showing an Elvis movie:
http://tinyurl.com/ezlt9

althe3rd
althe3rd on August 8, 2005 at 4:48 pm

I used to take the bus downtown with my brother to see movies.Back then, there were three theatres – the State, the Colony, and of course, the Commodore (by far the best).Years later, I re-visited the Commodore with my kids.The memories of the place came flooding back.I’d forgotton how beautiful it was.It’s the only place around to really experience a movie.Excellent!

paulaclark
paulaclark on August 1, 2004 at 7:44 am

Vince, we could tell what you meant!

VinceEmmons
VinceEmmons on August 1, 2004 at 7:01 am

Terribly sorry, in the post above it should read that the staff takes great pains to see that the food sevice does not interfere with the enjoyment of the show (with deepest apologies to the fine folks at The Commodore).

VinceEmmons
VinceEmmons on July 11, 2004 at 10:03 am

The owner of the Commodore is a dedicated showman, and the management is first-rate…This place is the gem of Portsmouth. You place your order from telephones at tables in the auditorium, and the wait staff takes such great pains that the food service does interfere with the enjoyment of the show. Exceptional film presentation on a beautiful huge screen. Kudos!

paulaclark
paulaclark on May 7, 2004 at 8:51 am

Someone came in our theatre today and mentioned this theatre. She said she loves your Theatre, and always attends a movie there whenever she “goes back home”. I plan to someday visit! I was glad to see you listed on this site!

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on February 2, 2004 at 5:50 am

A long time ago I saw a 35MM print of “How The West Was Won” at the Commodore Theatre, not quite the same as seeing it over in Norfolk at the Ronsa in CINERAMA!