Empress Theatre

18 E. Forsyth Street,
Jacksonville, FL

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The Empress was a downtown grind house. Three theatres were lined up in a row on Forsyth Street, the Palace, the Imperial and the Empress.

Contributed by Irv Lipscomb

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 3, 2006 at 1:54 am

In 1921 the Empress Theatre is listed as being in use as a 600 seat capacity Vaudeville and picture house for Negro audiences. The manager was an African-American;R. Chase.

In the 1943 edition of Film Daily Yearbook it is listed with a seating capacity of 600 and was under the control of Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary E.J. Sparks. In the 1950 edition of F.D.Y. the seating capacity had been reduced to 534.

atlmike
atlmike on May 1, 2007 at 5:25 pm

In the mid to late ‘60’s the Empress, along with the Imperial next door, was a two-bill second run house. I saw a number of good horror movies there. I recall it as being fairly small compared to the Imperial.

StanleyNorton
StanleyNorton on July 16, 2007 at 1:40 pm

The Empress was a strange little theatre with an ugly marquee and small interior, You entered the auditorium through a kind of tunnel which put you out in the middle of the theatre. The orchestra seating was in front of you and the semi-balcony was behind you. Actually it wasn’t a balcony but an elevated area. I remember you could always hear the projectionist changing reels. I saw a film there called the SECRET Lives behind theIRON CURTAIN.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 20, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Sept 7 1964,Al Hildreth is managing here.He came from Howard Pettingill who used AL as an Assitant.

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