Scoop Theatre

416 W. Muhammad Ali Boulevard,
Louisville, KY 40202

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Original Ceiling

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Walnut Street Theatre opened in Louisville on August 29, 1910 as a vaudeville house. The theatre was strongly believed to be one of the early vaudeville houses designed by John Eberson. Research of records indicate that he was the architect along with the firm of McDonald and Dodd. The theatre is described as composed of brick with decorative ornament in stone and colored tile or polychromatic terracotta. The building is a three story structure of eclectic style. Classical and arts and crafts motifs are both present in the facade.

The theatre changed hands several times as after vaudeville houses became less popular. In 1942 it became know as the Scoop Theatre and at first showed only newsreels. A broadcasting studio was set up on the first floor which broadcast news into the theatre. The canopy was replaced by a more standard marquee.

The building is currently undergoing a renovation to restore the first floor facade to be more in line with the orginal design. There is also windows being added down the side so light can reach the offices. The building has a tunnel through part of the first floor which is used by cars to reach a parking structure behind the building. This adaption was a creative way of keeping the building from the wrecking ball.

The building was listed on the National Register on Historic Places in 1978.

Contributed by Larry E. Fuller

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 12, 2006 at 9:27 am

The Walnut Street Theatre was renovated and re-named the Drury Lane Theatre in 1933. In use as a live theatre, the opening production was “Candle Light” by P.G.Woodhouse performed by a new stock company.

Incidently, in editions of Film Daily Yearbook’s that I have the seating capacity of the Drury Lane is given as 500 (closed) in both 1941 & 1943. As the Scoop Theatre in 1950 the F.D.Y. lists a seating capacity of 700.

barkas4
barkas4 on January 1, 2007 at 1:49 pm

My mother’s step sister/mother was a singer in vaudeville in Louisville in the 20’s. Are there any records for entertainers that appeared there? She was Galena Wade/Piemontesse/other. She was very young and I do have a picture of her on stage of some theater. My grandfather and grandmother also might have been in the theater as musicians: Oreste Natiello and Pauline (Winscott) Hamlin.

Jimmills
Jimmills on February 25, 2007 at 10:01 pm

My father, Lloyd M. Mills, was the Scoop Theater manager from 1949 to 1953. During this time the theater was plagued by an ongoing strike. The Scoop was the scene of frequent vandalism during this period including the release of several stench bombings. By 1953 the cumulative effect of these attacks lead to a drop off in attendance and the Scoop closed. During this time the Scoop was an “Art” theater playing many foreign films plus a few older American movies. I have many fond memories of this period and the many films that I saw there as a grade school and high school (Flaget) student.

kamiel
kamiel on April 17, 2007 at 10:37 pm

According to a Courier-Journal story, the Scoop was closed in the late 1940s and converted to convention space for the nearby Brown Hotel.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on June 28, 2008 at 8:41 pm

Here are some photos on a real estate site. I think the renovations are finished.
http://tinyurl.com/6l7kkz

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 4, 2010 at 11:30 am

Trade journal The Moving Picture World for August 2, 1913, had this to say about the conversion of the Walnut Theatre into a movie house:

“The Walnut Theater, Louisville, will shortly open as a moving picture theater, according to a recent announcement. The Gus Sun Theatrical Company, of Cincinnati, is the power behind the project, it is said. Twenty-five and fifty cents will be the fees, and the way In which this announcement is received by the Louisville public will be watched with a good deal of interest by exhibitors and others interested in the business. It is the plan of the Sun people to show only high class feature films, running from five to seven reels in length. This also is an Innovation in Louisville. Whether the public prefers the lengthy subjects to the short single reels has been a subject of discussion among exhibitors for some time, and the reception accorded the Walnut policy will be noted carefully. Women as ushers, cashiers, ticket-takers and other employees will be a feature, and about the only man around the theater will be the manager. The attaches will be attired in natty uniforms.”

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on October 9, 2012 at 6:44 am

The claim in the headnote that the Scoop was only one of five theaters in the country that showed only newsreels is very inaccurate. Almost every major city in America had one newsreel theater at one time or another from the late 1930’s up until the 1950’s when newsreels were killed off by TV. There were a dozen or more Telenews theaters in the U.S., and others with names such as Time, Newsreel, etc.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 17, 2013 at 3:52 am

The University of Louisville’s collection of digitized photos includes two depicting this house as the Scoop Theatre.

This one is dated circa 1942.

Here is a closer view from the same period.

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