Crescent Theatre

217 5th Avenue N.,
Nashville, TN 37219

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DavePrice on July 13, 2016 at 12:52 pm

I want to go back to the subject of the twin theaters which were merged to form this Crescent Theater at 215-217 Fifth Avenue.

I mentioned above that I believed the this Crescent was the result of a merger of twins called the Ruby and the Rhinestone. I have googled this matter and cannot any reference to these two names except for my comment here.

My father had an old timer friend named Delmas Jenkins who remembered many things about the Nashville theaters before my day and I used to pick his brain. The Ruby and Rhinestone story had been told him years before by an even older timer Mr James Dale of Dale Machinery, who remembered theaters before Delmas' day.

I have found in a January 1908 periodical called the Conjurer’s Magazine, for magicians that “King the Slight-of-hand King was playing the Rhinestone in Nashville. This would indicate that at least one of the twins had a stage.

Some of you may be familiar with the Crescent Amusement Company’s 1957 publication – just a folder really- honoring Mr Tony Sudekum and the fiftieth anniversary of moving pictures in Nashville. I quote the reference to the twins. “The company (Crescent Amusement) took this name from a theater on Fifth Avenue, which "Mister Tony” had acquired. Earlier it had been the Twin Theaters- two theaters served by one ticket office. “Mister Tony” removed the partitions. He changed the name to ‘Crescent’ and gave the new name to his company."

Can anyone come up with a reference to the names Ruby and Rhinestone in Nashville? I have looked (through some but certainly not all) newspaper microfilms prior to the merger and found zip.

DavePrice on February 14, 2016 at 10:55 am

You’re confusing two Princesses. The old Princess was in the next block just east of McKendree Church; it opened in 1912 and closed early 1950.

The NEW Princess opened in early 1951. Was later called Crescent Downtown (that must be your ad) then became Cinerama about 1961. Loews Crescent name wasn’t used until after Loews (Vendome) burned in 1967 and Loews Corp bought the Cinerama aka Crescent Downtown aka Princess.

All of this took place on Church Street and none of this relates to the Crescent at the top of this page and which was on Fifth Avenue.

rivest266 on February 14, 2016 at 8:34 am

December 25th, 1959 grand opening ad as Crescent in photo section. It opened on February 19th, 1912 as Princess. No ad found, only an article.

more grand opening ads to come to Nashville area cinemas

Mike Rivest
Montréal, QC

DavePrice on February 13, 2016 at 10:25 am

rivest266: I assume this must have been the one at 233
Fifth Ave North. Thanks for the into.

Does TLSLOEWS still belong to this great site?

rivest266 on February 13, 2016 at 9:59 am

December 6th, 1907 first ad for an Crescent theatre in Nashville.

DavePrice on April 7, 2014 at 6:26 pm

In Indiana there’s a LAH-feyette, in Louisiana it’s LAUGH-yet but here is La-FAY-it.

Elite has always been EEE-lite as long as I’ve been listening to the local dialect (seventy-five years).

Yes, there have been five (5) Elites here. It was 1926 that four were listed: 813 Monroe (former Central as early as 1915), 837 2nd Ave S (former Colonial as early as 1917), 239 4th Ave N and 4810 Charlotte.

By 1928 two of the Sudekum brothers were managing the Monroe and 4th Ave Elites, indicating Crescent ownership.

The Elite on 2nd Ave S was eventually replaced by the new Capitol (not to be confused with the one at 6th and Church).

The building on Monroe may still be standing- it was in recent years just a half a block down from where the State later stood. The

The Elite on Charlotte was replaced in 1927 with a new one of the same name at 4700.

The Elite at 239 4th Ave COULD have been the in the same building as the 1914 Log Cabin (later the 1915-16 Victoria) which is listed at 237 and which I have been told had an entrance into the Arcade.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 7, 2014 at 5:58 pm

The 1917 item says that the Elite was then being operated by Crescent Amusement as a five-cent house, and was being renovated.

If the Fifth Avenue Elite was missing from the 1928 list, that means there were at least five Elite Theatres in Nashville over the years.

Actually, I’m not even sure how you pronounce “Lafayette” in Nashville. It gets pronounced more than one way in California. I rhyme the first two syllables with coffee.

DavePrice on April 7, 2014 at 3:35 pm

A 1918 notice says the Dixie Amusement Company owns both the Elite and the Strand. As late at 1920 the Strand and the Elite were running separate ads in the paper.

In 1928 four (4) Elites were listed but alas none was the one at 233. The Strand at 235 lasted until 1930.

By the way, you do know how we pronounce “Elite” in Nashville, don’t you? It’s like Lafayette- just a local thing.

DavePrice on April 7, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Hold everything- I told that wrong. I have confused the two Crescents. The Crescent at 233 opened at least by 1909, became the Elite during 1910 and was listed through 1916.

The Crescent that was the result of the merger of the twins was opened in 1915 at 215-217.

Incidentally when the property at 215- 217 was being remodeled in the 1980s I spoke to Jimmy Glascock who was involved in the project and he verified that a wall had been knocked out between the two addresses (the twin theater common wall). He also referred me to a local historian (whom I will not name lest I embarrass him) who argued that there had never been a theater at 215-217!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 7, 2014 at 2:59 pm

I was wondering because I found an item about the Elite Theatre on Fifth Avenue in the August 25, 1917, issue of The Moving Picture World. If it wasn’t the same house as the Strand then it isn’t listed at Cinema Treasures yet. Do you know what become of that Elite? The 1917 item is the only mention of it I’ve been able to find.

DavePrice on April 7, 2014 at 2:52 pm

No, Joe, they were different houses. The Crescent at 233 started in 1909 and I believe was a merger of the two “twin” theaters which are mentioned in a 1957 Crescent Amusement Co publication, though not named. I cannot prove but believe they were called the Ruby and the Rhinestone, operating side-by-side with one ticket office.

The Strand at 235 is not listed until 1915 when managed by Roy Shelton. A late 1916 newspaper article said that after Tony Sudekum had bought W H Wassmann’s Knickerbocker and Crystal the Strand was his only opposition, indicating that not only was it a different theater but that it was independent of Sudekum.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 7, 2014 at 2:15 pm

DavePrice: Is there any chance that the Crescent/Elite Theatre at 233 Fifth Avenue is the house that we have listed as the Strand Theatre at 235 Fifth Avenue?

TLSLOEWS on August 22, 2011 at 5:51 am

The photo posted on this page is the wrong Crescent.The theatre in the photo was at 415 Church Street.

DavePrice on September 18, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Listen to an older guy here. There were two different Crescents in the block of Fifth Avenue between Church and Union. Both on the west side. The first was up toward Union at 233 and appears in some old postcards of the neighborhood. This theater opened about 1908 or 1909 and was later about 1910 renamed the Elite, one of four Elites we had over the years. Then there was one starting about 1915 down closer to Church Street at 217 in a building that still stands. Nashville Old Timer Delmas Jenkins told me this one was formed by combining two smaller “twin” theaters that used the same box office, which is to say ticket booth. This one was still listed in 1924 but was gone by 1926. The only connection between these and the re-naming of the New Princess was that all were owned by Crescent Amusement Co.

TLSLOEWS on September 1, 2010 at 10:29 am

Another site lists this Crescent Theatre as operating 1921-1928.Of course these dates could be wrong.

TLSLOEWS on July 13, 2010 at 10:24 am

Listed at this address now: Arts Company Nashville, Eastway Lock and Key, and Gibbell Hayes Partners.

TLSLOEWS on May 20, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Lost Memorys post of 9-10-06 is correct information.

TLSLOEWS on November 6, 2009 at 10:29 am

You are right CWalczac C.T. just updated this info, thanks again to them.They do a great job.They sent me an e-mail confirming these changes.

CSWalczak on November 6, 2009 at 10:19 am

It’s some of comments that are in the wrong place, as the headnote indicates that the theater was not operating after 1925 and locates it correctly on Fifth Avenue. It might be a good idea if the headnote included something such as “This Crescent should not be confused with the later Loew’s Crescent which was on Church Street.”

TLSLOEWS on November 6, 2009 at 10:15 am

Thanks for the up date C.T. The pictures links above are not the 1st. Crescent on 5th. ave. They are of the Crescent on 415 Church St.Known as the LOEWS CRESCENT at that time. I know this info is correct because I was the Asst. Manager at that time.Met my wife to be there also.

TLSLOEWS on November 6, 2009 at 9:49 am

The info on this page is wrong this Crescent theater is long gone at 217 Fifth Ave.The Crescent at 415 church street was aka the Princess, Crescent and Loews Crescent, also Crescent Cineramia for a while. C.T. has a page calles Loews Crescent that has much better info.Needs to be updated.

bauhaus on April 21, 2007 at 11:15 pm

It was on Church Street – at the end – down by the L&C Tower.

bauhaus on April 21, 2007 at 11:14 pm

It was a Loews theatre before it was a Martin Theatre. This was Nashville’s only Cinerama Theater, but Cinerama didn’t last very long because of expense of production and lack of commercial appeal. Mary Poppins played there as did Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? And an off-duty cop shut the movie down and arrested the owner during the movie’s first night. The Baptists picketed outside. All because of the use of the word, “Goddamn.”