Elba Theatre

231 Court Street,
Elba, AL 36323

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The Elba Theatre was opened around 1935. Brackin Theaters operated the Elba Theatre in the early-1960’s. It is currently (2015) owned by non-profit Restoration 154. The group is seeking grants and raising funds towards its restoration.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

martgray on March 5, 2008 at 10:14 am

The building that once housed The Claire Theater was given to Covenant Community Church in 2007. The church, working together with the community, is renovating the building and it will open as Just Folk Coffehouse and Arts Center this Spring.

One section of a wall that had the original paint from the theater has been preserved as a “conversation piece” regarding the history of the building.

If you have further information on The Claire or are interested in inquiring, please contact Covenant Community Church.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 2, 2015 at 7:26 pm

Walter Brackin got in trouble with the film distributors in 1938, according to this item from the September 3 issue of Motion Picture Herald:


“Four Companies Ask Injunction

“The Peoples Theaters of Alabama, Inc. and Walter J. Brackin, operating a motion picture house at Elba, Ala., were named in a petition filed at Montgomery in U. S. district court by four film producing or film distributing companies this week. The petitioners sought an order to restrain by injunction the defendants from using copyrighted films without licenses from the plaintiffs, and also sought damages for several alleged infringements of copyright laws.

“The complaint charged the Elba Theatre at Elba with showing films for longer periods than contracted for, and urged damages of not less than $250 for each violation. The petitioners were: RKO Pictures, Inc.; the 20th Century-Fox Film Corporation and 20th Century-Fox Distributing Corporation; Paramount Pictures, Inc., and the Paramount Pictures Distributing Company, Inc.; Warner Brothers Pictures, Inc., and the Vitaphone and Vitagraph Company. None of the companies signing the petition are incorporated in Alabama.”

The January 17, 1941, issue of The Film Daily reported a fire at the Elba Theatre:
“Elba, Ala. — Fire on Jan. 7 caused considerable damage to the local Elba Theater. House plans to reopen at an early date, Manager Dozier Roberts states.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 2, 2015 at 8:05 pm

A 250-seat Elba Theatre was listed at Elba, Alabama, in the 1927 FDY. In 1915, Elba had a house called the Photoplay, and in 1924 it had a Strand Theatre. I think the Elba Theatre listed in 1927 might have been either enlarged or moved to a new building later. The modern building of the Elba is about twice as wide as the building the 260-seat Claire Theatre was in. The Elba’s facade looks to date from the 1930s.

The Elba Theatre is undergoing gradual renovation and has already presented a few movies. In 2015, their goal is to have one movie a month, according to Their Facebook page.

Recent photos show that the interior of the auditorium has been stripped to the bare brick walls, but the stage is still there and folding chairs are in use. The floor was flattened during the period the building was used for retail stores and has not been re-sloped, but the ceiling looks high enough that stadium seating could be installed.

restoration154 on October 27, 2017 at 7:27 pm

Joe, we are looking for a source to reference for the Photoplay. Could you share that?

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