Palace Theater

700 Tampa Street,
Tampa, FL 33601

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Showing 1 - 25 of 43 comments

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on July 23, 2013 at 9:24 pm

“Gone With The Wind” ad from 1968 showing posted under photos tab.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on June 8, 2013 at 4:48 pm

That’s right Dan. Also the Citizens Building was right next door to the Florida Theatre which may have been called the Franklin Theatre at the time. It opened as the Florida and later became the Franklin and was then changed back to the Florida years later.

tampapix
tampapix on June 7, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Nice work, Nick! So the soda fountain was about a block away from the Victory Theater, and same block, across from where the Tampa Theater was built in 1926.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on June 6, 2013 at 5:05 pm

I checked the city directories for 1920-1929 and found a listing for “The Palace” under Sodas-Retail at 706 Franklin Street which places the fountain in the former Citizens Bank Building. The address for the Citizens Building is listed as 702-708 Franklin St. Strangely enough the fountain doesn’t appear under the listing for Soda Fountains in any directory.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on June 4, 2013 at 9:52 pm

Great photo! The Victory Theatre became the Palace on Christmas Day 1947. If memory serves me correctly I recall reading something about a Palace cafe/restaurant in Tampa. On my next visit to the library I’ll check the 1925 city directory since it lists addresses for all businesses. Will be interesting to see where this was located at.

tampapix
tampapix on June 4, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Thanks DW! The soda fountain photo is from 1925. The write up here wasn’t clear to me when the Victory became the Palace. But if that transition didn’t take place after 1930, then as you said, it seems likely that the fountain wouldn’t have been called the Palace if it was still in the Victory in 1925.

Richard Wheeler
Richard Wheeler on June 4, 2013 at 5:53 pm

The picture looks like it was taken at an earlier time, perhaps back when the theater was called “The Victory Theatre”. I know my parents always referred to the theatre as “The Victory”, since that was the name they grew up with. If the picture was taken back in the 20s or 30s, the soda fountain certainly couldn’t have been named after the theater.

Richard Wheeler
Richard Wheeler on June 4, 2013 at 5:47 pm

I never heard of the Palace Soda Fountain, and I don’t remember anything like that at the Palace Theatre. But, perhaps I just don’t recall it!

tampapix
tampapix on June 4, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Does anyone know if the “Palace Soda Fountain” was located in the Palace Theater? Fla. State archives has a photo of this soda fountain, but doesn’t relate it to the theater: http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/29183

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on May 21, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Archived editions of the St. Petersburg Times are available online and luckily include several of Tampa’s theatres in the daily time clock listings. This makes it easy researching playdates from home rather than making a trip to the library.

I just checked the Palace listings for “Mary Poppins” and found that the film opened on January 14, 1965 and ran through April 6, 1965 when it was moved over to the Florida Theatre to continue the long engagement. The move was due to “The Sound of Music” set to open at the Palace on April 7, 1965. So the “Mary Poppins” engagement was after both “Mad Mad World” and “Circus World.”

GSVuille
GSVuille on May 21, 2013 at 3:33 pm

When did “Mary Poppins run”? Was it before “…Mad World” or after “Circus World”? Very confusing, and my memory is playing tricks on me. I suppose if a movie is presented in Cinerama, then, whether it’s a 35mm print or a 70mm print it would still technically be considered to be a ‘Cinerama’ presentation as long as it was projected on a portion of that incredible Super Cinerama screen at the Palace.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on April 2, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Just finished some additional research. I’m trying to determine exactly when the 3-projector Cinerama booth was stripped and replaced with 70mm Cinerama single lens projectors. I began a week-by-week search following the engagement of “How The West Was Won” and it appears the equipment was more than likely switched out the week beginning August 15, 1964.

Here’s the timeline:

“How The West Was Won” was the last 3-strip film to play. The run ends on November 21, 1963.

“Under The Yum Yum Tree” opens on November 22, 1963 (first 35mm attraction to play on the Cinerama screen) and runs through December 8, 1963.

Theatre closes on December 9, 1963 and remains closed through April 14, 1964 for a total of nearly 19 weeks without any published explanation given for the closure that I could find.

Theatre reopens on April 15, 1964 with “Cleopatra” which runs through May 26, 1964.

Following the 19 week closure when the Palace reopened with “Cleopatra” I remember looking back towards the Cinerama booth and noticing no changes had been made to the portholes. “Cleopatra” was projected from the balcony booth.

“It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World” opens on May 27, 1964 and runs through August 14, 1964. The film was also projected from the balcony booth.

Theatre closes once again on August 15, 1964 for a total of 6 days. I believe this is the week the equipment was switched out in preparation for the next attraction.

“Circus World” opens on August 21, 1964 in 70mm Cinerama. “Photographed in Super-Technirama 70” is included in the newspaper ads in addition to “presented in Cinerama.”

So “Circus World” was the first 70mm film to play at the Palace. “The Sound of Music” which would open about 8 months later would be the second 70mm attraction. After playing for several weeks it would be exchanged for a 35mm print.

Correction and update:

In my initial post of the Palace I incorrectly stated the closing year as 1976. Between 1976 and 1978 the Palace closed and reopened at least 3 times. I verified the final day of operation was September 29, 1978 with the double feature “It’s Alive” and “Five Fingers of Death” as the final program. On September 30, 1978 the Palace closed for good. The building was demolished in December 1979.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on January 19, 2013 at 1:35 pm

I have a friend who was a former “relief” operator who worked the booths for all of Tampa’s theatres and drive-ins. The local projectionists union would contact him whenever a projectionist had vacation or sick time off. Although he never worked any of the 3- strip Cinerama films at the Palace, he was contacted one afternoon to run a matinee showing of “2001” in 70mm. According to him the management at the Palace preferred the booth be manned by two projectionists for all 70mm showings at the time. He and another projectionist ran “2001” that afternoon. Unfortunately he couldn’t recall if the 70mm projectors were capable of conversion to 35mm or not.

According to him the projectors in the balcony booth were definitely 35mm as he worked that booth many times. All attractions he ran were optical sound but he didn’t remember if those projectors had magnetic stereo heads. Under the photos tab above (on the second page) the opening day ad for “The Robe” mentions CinemaScope Stereophonic Sound so the film was in fact presented in stereo. I would guess more than likely the heads were either removed after the engagement had ended or possibly they were still attached but no longer functioning. Having seen “IAMMMMW” at least 3 times at the Palace I also do not recall the film having stereo sound—I think this proves no doubt it was 35mm optical. Also your friend having seen IAMMMMW in 70mm and noticing several scenes were missing from the print projected at the Palace is proof in itself that the Palace was running a 35mm print. I would sincerely doubt any cuts would have been made if the Palace was running a 70mm roadshow print.

Just yesterday I was browsing through the theatre ads in the St. Petersburg Times (available online) and I came across an article published around the opening date of “This Is Cinerama” at the Palace. The article highlights the rennovations made and states that the Palace was in fact a Super Cinerama Theatre—the only one in the state of Florida. I had read somewhere that “Super Cinerama” were theatres with enormous wall-to-wall and ceiling-to-floor screens—larger than standard Cinerama theatres—and projection booths constructed on the main level center section. It’s nice to know the Palace was one of these.

GSVuille
GSVuille on January 18, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Yes, Nick, I do believe it was “Grand Prix” which was the first of the 70mm single-lens Cinerama films at the Palace. The installation of 70mm in the old orchestra Cinerama booth must have taken place in the period after “Mary Poppins” moved to the Tampa Theatre to make way for “The Sound of Music”. The other 35mm presentations you mentioned I did not see in 1964 or 1965—just “…Mad World” in June 1964. They had reserved seats for IAMMMMW, and sold programs with presented in Cinerama on them. My friend and I went up to peer through the balcony projection booth windows—but we couldn’t tell for sure if it was 70mm. I assumed it was 35mm because I don’t remember IAMMMMW having stereo sound. Plus, my friend had been in Cleveland, OH, and did see “…Mad World” in 70mm Cinerama in late 1963—and he pointed out during the Palace showing that many scenes had been cut out of the film. Since you mentioned the old Palace CinemaScope film “The Robe” having been presented with stereo sound it prompts me to wonder why it wasn’t present for “…Mad World”. It is true that a lot of theatres installing CinemaScope in the 1950’s didn’t put in the four channel stereo sound system, opting for cheaper mono optical sound. And it is also true that when United Artists struck the 35mm Scope prints of IAMMMMW, most all of them probably didn’t carry the four channel magnetic tracks—this was the early sixties and only first run theatres might present Scope films with stereo sound. Confusingly, I’ve also read about 35mm projectors being converted to 70mm with a special kit that Panavision, Inc. made available—so it’s entirely possible that the balcony booth could have been converted to 70mm for “…Mad World”. But honestly, I just don’t believe that happened at the Palace, as the “Mary Poppins” 35mm run as well as all the other 35mm Scope 2.35:1, and Flat 1.85:1 films at the Palace were all projected from the balcony booth. It would be great if Palace theatre projectionists could be found to comment on this—there must have been a lot of them considering the 3-strip presentations required five. Of course, they must have all lost their jobs—you only need one for 35mm or 70mm presentations. By May of 1964, the run of 70mm single lens Cinerama presentations was already seven months old—I’m sure United Artists was anxious to get the Scope prints of “…Mad World” to the theatres so as to increase their profit margins.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on January 16, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Thanks again, I enjoyed your second post. What a coincidence—I also saw “The Fox” at the Palace! Yes it’s a shame the 3-strip process only lasted a few years. I saw all the 3-strip films as well as the 70mm attractions. As I recall “Grand Prix” was the first single-lens Cinerama film to play at the Palace. The film was advertised with the tagline “the new Cinerama” although I wasn’t sure what that meant. I was unaware at the time that single-lens had replaced 3-strip. Before the film began I looked back towards the booth and saw the three glass projection panels had been replaced by two larger ones. I couldn’t figure out what was going on and was anxious for the film to begin and see what this “new Cinerama” was all about. When the film began and the curtain cleared the screen I noticed the masking had been repositioned inward on each side shortening the image by several feet. That “in-the-picture” feeling was practically lost. TIC in 70mm was so disappointing. The image was slightly grainy and the vibrant & brilliant color of the 3-strip process was gone. I remember an elderly lady (obviously familiar with the 3-strip films) was sitting behind me at the showing. During intermission she turned to her companion and gesturing with her hand she said, “the picture use to come clear around from that end of the screen to this end of the screen over here-—I don’t believe those guys up there know what their doing!” It took awhile for me to become accustomed to the single-lens process and by the time “2001” opened I had accepted it. Regardless of the shortcomings it was still the largest screen of any theatre in town.

I was always fascinated with the Cinerama strip screen. Many times when the movie ended and the curtain closed I’d go behind the curtain on the left side and slowly edge my way up to the strips near the masking. Since I was walking on a slight incline behind the curtain where the floor meets the screen I had to be careful not to loose my balance and fall out under the curtain onto the floor. When I reached the side masking I touched the strips putting my hand between and through them being careful not to damage them. In addition to being anchored at the floor and ceiling I don’t recall if they were also anchored at the mid-section. On the right side of the screen behind the curtain and just beyond the exit door there were three or four steps leading up to an open doorway and onto the original large backstage area. Several feet behind the Cinerama screen stood the huge CinemaScope screen still sitting in place. It looked massive. Also hanging high up in the fly loft was another smaller screen which I think was probably the screen installed when the theatre was renovated and renamed the Palace in 1947.

Thanks for mentioning something I hadn’t been able to figure out for years. When the engagement of “HTWWW” ended the Palace opened “Under the Yum Yum Tree” which ran for maybe 2 or 3 weeks. Afterwards the theatre closed for a period of time reopening with “Cleopatra” as I recall. I’ve always wondered what the reason was for the closure. As you mentioned it was for the installation of the 70mm single-lens system. So I would venture to guess the very first 70mm attraction the Palace played was “The Sound of Music” in 1965.

I remember the programs for sale during the Cinerama attractions. The ushers carried them around while directing patrons to their reserved seats. Interestingly the Palace management never had guys as ushers during the reserved seat attractions. They always had young ladies.

GSVuille
GSVuille on January 16, 2013 at 12:23 pm

It’s so nice to have you respond to my comment about the Palace Theatre in Tampa. Yes, I think at the time, Todd-AO 70mm prints were not allowed contractually to be presented on the screen as large as the Cinerama Single-Lens films. And yes, all the 70mm projectors I’ve read about show 35mm as well—so why Palace management kept using that balcony booth, I’ll never know, because for the orchestra audience, the keystone distortion was pretty bad—sitting in the balcony helped to solve the problem for viewers. I wish I’d seen the rerun of SOM later in 1973 when the full 70mm screen area was used—same as that projecting “Grand Prix”, & “2001, A Space Odyssey” which I also saw. The screen being masked down length wise to a lesser 120 degrees was a disappointment. On a couple of occasions I went behind the screen to see how the louvers were attached—they were always visible to me from the audience, but it was such a unique design & perfect for a curved screen to prevent light being scattered back on itself. Also, in the late 1960’s early 1970’s I saw a couple other films, again projected from the balcony booth in 35mm—“A Clockwork Orange”,& one with actress Sandy Dennis titled “The Fox”. The 1964 35mm presentation of “IAMMMMW” was such a disappointment, & I can understand why the Palace didn’t have time to get the 70mm equipment because “HTWWW” was such a long run before it finally closed to make way for the ‘new’ single-lens system. What bothered me at the time was that the “…Mad World” programs were sold with ‘presented in Cinerama’ on the covers, & the tickets were ‘reserved seat’ prices. Though I didn’t see “Circus World” I did write to the Palace theatre management & have them send me a program—It also states on the cover ‘presented in Cinerama’. Once “Mary Poppins” began no other Cinerama engagements ran for a long time. I’ve always felt sorry for 3-strip Cinerama theatres like the Palace having to convert to the less satisfactory 70mm process which didn’t utilize the entire 146 degree screen or have the visceral impact of the original 3-strip process.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on January 13, 2013 at 11:45 pm

GSVuille, Thanks for your post. Nice to hear from someone who went to the Palace. You’re right about the opening engagement of “Sound of Music” being in 70mm. The first time I saw the film I was seated in the orchestra. I remember looking back to see the film being projected from the Cinerama booth, and I also recall the soundtrack being in stereo. I mistakenly thought they were running a 35mm print due to the screen being masked for 35mm scope—on both sides as well as several feet at the top—although this may have been due to an agreement with Cinerama to not utilize the full screen for a non-Cinerama film. I also assumed the 70mm projectors were capable of conversion to run 35mm films with stereo soundtracks.

The last 3 times I saw SOM the film was no longer being projected from the Cinerama booth but from the upstairs 35mm booth. The screen masking remained in the same position but the soundtrack was no longer in stereo. I also noticed a very slight decrease in both sound and image quality—probably unnoticeble to many in the audience but I was aware of it. Not sure why the change was made but could have been two reasons: the 70mm print may have been needed for another engagement, or since the film was bringing in record-breaking crowds and destined for a long run management may have decided to go with a less expensive print and exchanged the 70mm for a 35mm print.

In 1973 the 70mm re-release of SOM was shown at the Palace. For this engagement the top screen masking was removed resulting in an image several feet higher from the original 1965-66 engagement. I was disappointed that “Mad Mad World” was not shown in 70mm at the Palace. I also remember being seated in the balcony and seeing the film projected from the 35mm booth with the noticable keystone effects.

Although the long engagement of “Mary Poppins” was still doing great box office at the Palace the film had to be moved over to the Florida Theatre since the Palace had “The Sound of Music” set to open on April 7, 1965. The move made headlines in the ads stating to the effect of, “Mary is packing her bags and heading over to the Florida Theatre where the engagement of Mary Poppins will continue.” If I find the ad I’ll post it under the photos tab soon.

GSVuille
GSVuille on January 10, 2013 at 12:22 pm

Palace in Tampa, circa 1962/1963. I saw “Seven Wonders of the World” & “How the West was Won” in 3-strip Cinerama. Over a year later, in June of 1964, I saw the ‘roadshow presentation’ of “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”, seemingly in 35mm Scope projected from the balcony booth—NOT the orchestra 3-strip booth. The Cinerama screen was cropped severely. The image had terrible keystone effects—deep arching of horizontal lines. I didn’t see the very next ‘faux’ Cinerama film “Circus World”, though management did sell the programs and charge roadshow prices for both ‘Cinerama’ films. “Mary Poppins” long 35mm engagement was next, projected from the same balcony booth, and I had to sit up there where the distortion was not as apparent. Disney’s run ended with the 70mm—not 35mm Scope as suggested—1965 presentation of “The Sound of Music”, projected from the orchestra’s 3-strip Cinerama booth with the three projector windows now finally removed & replaced with two larger ones to accommodate dual 70mm projection. The Todd-AO logo is not present in a 35mm scope print. edited out.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on July 6, 2012 at 9:40 am

PREVIOUSLY OPERATED BY:

FLORIDA STATE THEATRES, INC.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on August 16, 2011 at 12:10 am

Mike: Yes, CLEOPATRA was a four hour movie (including intermission.) I finally saw it a week or two afterwards. I don’t recall if we made it to another movie that night. I’d have to check the ads to see what was playing at the Florida and the Tampa. That might clue me in on whether or not we saw another film. Hard to believe that was 48 years ago!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 7, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Thanks NIck, hope you made it to another movie,wasn’t “CLEOPATRA” a four hour movie.I have a one-sheet,original.

Nunzienick
Nunzienick on May 5, 2011 at 1:25 am

The long-awaited “CLEOPATRA” opens at the Palace on April 15, 1964. Two friends and I stood in a very long line waiting to buy tickets on a Friday evening. Just as we were approaching the box-office they sold out! And there were still about 200 people behind us:
View link

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! “THE SOUND OF MUSIC” reaches a milestone one full year of showings on April 6, 1966. Unprecedented in Tampa theatre history. The film would run for another 5 months. The one year anniversay celebration featured skylights, music by Mary Help of Christians School Band, free orchid corsages for the first 200 ladies, and free birthday cake:
View link

Nunzienick
Nunzienick on February 3, 2011 at 1:58 am

Dick: Your post on the Saturday morning shows of late 40s and early 50s sounds like great fun! I was around during the early 50s but unfortunately too young to be aware of movies and theatres. But I do remember the kiddie shows several theatres had every Saturday morning in the late 50s and early 60s. Fun times!

Your mention of these bring to mind the special appreciation shows the Palace Theatre occasionally had for kids who were school patrols. I think these shows were also on a Saturday morning. I was never a patrol but a friend of mine was and he invited me one Saturday. Made me feel sorta out-of-place since nearly everyone there was a patrol proudly displaying their badge except me. Following a special stage presentation they ran the feature film “Yellowstone Kelly” along with a cartoon or comedy. If kids today only knew what they missed!

Mike: Yes, once again I’m back. I don’t think I’ve been on CT since before Christmas. Time to catch up now so keep an eye out!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 28, 2011 at 2:35 pm

thanks Dick W. for the added info, most Towns of any size pretty much did this; in Augusta two TV stations did the same thing in the Sixties at the Imperial.Hope Nick spots it one day.