Rex Art Theatre

7920 NE Second Avenue,
Miami, FL 33138

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tzwicky on May 21, 2013 at 7:39 pm

Back when a 12-YO kid could ride his bike from El Portal to Little River and see an afternoon of films, the Rosetta was it. The balcony, even back then (late 1960s to early 1970s) was where the stoners would sit. Sad when the theatre went adult and then closed.

1511 on October 10, 2012 at 8:04 am

I Remember Buying Cigarettes In The Machine In The Lobby And Getting Three Pennies Change Back Inside The Cellophane Of The Pall Mall Package. To Sit In The Smoking Section I Had To Pay An Extra 25 cents. What A ‘Funky’ Smell The Carpeting Throughout The Theater Had … WHEW!

Harvey on April 11, 2009 at 3:01 am

1985 photos of the Rex here and here.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 2, 2009 at 9:00 am

G. Burwell, I remember those little soda cups from the Wometco Vending machines at the Miami Theatre Downtown in the sixties. Sometimes the cup would flip upside down as it dropped and the soda (RC Cola?) would simply spill into the drain. Sometimes there was some ice first, most of which promptly bounced out of the cup as well when it dropped.

Burwell on April 1, 2009 at 9:55 pm

When I was in elementary school (Little River elementary 1957-1959) I never missed a Saturday matinee at the Rosetta. There would be a movie, sometimes a serial, and a scad of cartoons, all for a quarter. I saw my first horror movie (“House on Haunted Hill”), “7th Voyage of Sinbad,” “Forbidden Planet,” Northwest Passage,“ "Inn of the 6th Happiness.”

I remember it as being fairly run-down even back then. I don’t recall much of a snack bar. There was a soda machine that sold lukewarm off-brand sodas in little cups. If you pushed 2 buttons at once you could mix them into something even more awful.

I remember that the 79th St, Art Theatre was around the corner near Larry’s Luncheonette. I used to try to figure out what was going on there by the posters, but it was all pretty mysterious,

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on March 31, 2009 at 10:54 pm

Here is how I see it:

Rosetta 1926-1971
2nd Avenue Art – 1972-73
King Art – 1973
Rex Art -1974-1984

Harvey on March 31, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Ad for the Rex/Second Ave Art/Rosetta in its KING ART CINEMA incarnation.

Louis of Pompano
Louis of Pompano on August 27, 2008 at 5:36 pm

The theatre’s name was changed to Rex Theatre in the earlier 70’s. I saw “Last House on the Left” there. They tried the non-porn theatre approach, but it didn’t fly.

The Little River area went down hill in the 70’s. Porn dominated all of the theatres of the area. I can’t remember any regular theatres in Little River that had not been converted to porn. In addition to the theatres there were several Adult Book Stores, and a small mini theatre called “The Little Adult Theatre” which was right on NW 79th Street one block West of Biscayne on the south side of the street.

During those years, Little River was “Manhattan’s 42nd Street” of Miami. This is where most of the adult businesses were located. This changed once the Little River area became “Little Haiti”. The area cleaned up pretty good.

The establishment that survived the area’s porn flair, was the Playboy Club, which was there until the mid 80s. Ellis Ruben’s law office took over that building when the Playboy Club was closed.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on July 27, 2008 at 10:41 am

I think this was the New King when it tried running blaxploitaion in 1972.

Harvey on June 24, 2008 at 10:59 pm

Link to Rex Art theater ad:

View link

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on April 17, 2008 at 7:00 am

Another link to Second Avenue and the Rosetta:

View link

Harvey on March 23, 2008 at 11:40 pm

Miami Herald, The (FL) – June 2, 1983

Author: CHRIS VAUGHAN Herald Staff Writer

The Rex theater , a battered survivor of porn and neglect, is nearing yet another comeback.

The 54-year-old movie house in the 7900 block of NE Second Avenue has been closed since a failed salvation attempt four years ago. It will reopen as a Haitian-oriented theater this summer if HAYTO Services, a Haitian partnership with offices at 7220 N. Miami Ave., can obtain the city license it needs.

City parking regulations currently stand in the way, said Fritz Henriquez, manager of the firm, but an exemption to current parking regulations — one parking space for every four seats—may be “grandfathered in,” Henriquez said.

The Rex has 700 seats, which means 175 spaces would be required if no exemption is granted. There are 25 spaces behind the building and about 50 parking meters on the street near the theater .

“We really do not need all those spots,” Henriquez said. “Most of the people who will come to the movies are from the Haitian community. They will walk.”

The Rex is at the edge of Little Haiti, which has no theater catering to the tastes of its more than 25,000 Haitian residents. Henriquez says the fare at the Rex will be mostly French movies. The theater may show English- and Spanish- language movies once a week.

“We will have to see what people want,” Henriquez says. “To show only French movies would be killing ourselves, I think.”

Admission will be $2, with some reserved seats for $2.50, Henriquez says. At those rates, he figures, “I need 1,000 people a week” to break even.

Henriquez and two partners in Haiti began efforts to buy the theater in March. They have sunk about $25,000 into renovations.

“We’re trying to open this month, but the way things are going, we will try to open the first week of July,” Henriquez said.

“It will be a clean place again,” he vowed. As he spoke, a workman swept steadily in the newly painted lobby. The candy counter was cracked and dusty, but the floors were clean. Outside, the red marquee shows its age. Inside, the red velvet seats appear in good repair.

“It will be nice for the neighborhood,” said Alma Camacho, a waitress at the El Paso Coffee Shop next door to the Rex. Camacho attended movies at the Rex “when it was good, not when they had those X movies.” But she probably will not attend shows there in the future, she said.

“When work is over, I’m on my way home. I don’t stay around here at night,” she said.

Chris Crickmore, 18, of 82nd Street by way of Dayton, Ohio, said he won’t go to the Rex, either.

“I don’t know French. I like American movies, the modern ones,” Crickmore said.

Amy Johnston, an employe at Barnett Bank across the street, was more concerned about the kind of movies the Rex will show.

“What kind of French movies?” she asked suspiciously.

Assured they would be family fare, she breathed easier. “As long as they don’t put those X-rated ones in again, I guess it’s a good thing. The neighborhood sure needs something.”

Lochard Noel, a clerk at Les Cousins Book & Record Shop, 7858 NE Second Ave., was enthusiastic about the plan. “They have a Rex in Port-au-Prince, too,” he said. “All the Haitians will go.”

But the ticket seller at United Adult Movies, 7829 NE Second Ave., offered no encouragement to the backers of the Rex.

“They’ll never make it,” he said. “They tried running straight movies before and it didn’t work. Take it from me.”

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on March 17, 2008 at 7:51 am

I do remember this operating as the Rex Art.

curtis41 on January 16, 2008 at 4:48 pm

I used to take my sister on the bus from North Miami to the Rosetta in Little River. We paid between about $.15 and $.25 for admission. The drug store on 79th street had $.25 banana splits. My dentist was down from the Rosetta on the same side of the street, on the 2nd floor. I remember after a teeth cleaning, we got to pick a lollipop from a jar. Really! I worked at Lynn’s Fashions right down the street from the theater. Got $.75 an hour after school for cleaning up and putting out stock. This was in the mid 1950s. Yes, I am a bit older than dirt, but my mind is as sharp as a tack. Also got to hear Eddie Arnold and other performers before the show at the Boulevard Drive In Theater. Had the train, horses to ride and Easter egg hunts back then.

pierdaawg on August 26, 2006 at 6:16 pm

I went to the Rosetta a lot as a kid. I think that it turned into an adult theater in the 60’s. There was also another place that was an adult theater in the sixites a little ways West on 79st called the Little River Art Theater. It also was originally a regular movie house.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 9, 2006 at 7:57 am

The Film Daily Yearbook;1950 edition lists a Rosetta Theatre, 7929 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami, FL with a seating capacity given as 981.

Both the 1941 and 1943 edition’s of F.D.Y. give the seating capacity of the Rosetta Theatre as 1,084.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on July 6, 2006 at 4:11 am

I believe this was once the Wometco Rosetta.