Strand Theater

527 Duval Street,
Key West, FL 33040

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Showing 1 - 25 of 74 comments

chorne2k on December 30, 2017 at 8:29 am

A 1944 side view of the Strand Marquee:

Mikeoaklandpark on December 17, 2016 at 10:28 am

Howard I just saw your post from March 15 and yes it was. I was in Key West for 4 hours in 1998 on a cruise stop. If I can find my pictures I will try and upload them. It was awesome because it still looked like a movie theater?

Jim622 on December 15, 2016 at 7:10 am

I saw The Band there, without Robbie Roberson, in the early eighties. Also buddy rich. I came across this looking for the date. A Walgreens! Really?

HowardBHaas on March 15, 2016 at 5:09 am

I am told the ticket booth was also used by Ripley’s.

Trolleyguy on December 19, 2013 at 7:40 pm

As evidenced by the interior picture, there is really nothing left to suggest it was a movie theater at one time. The exterior has been wonderfully restored, though.

jrhine on November 28, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Did the Strand Theater have an organ? I can’t find any mention of one.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 17, 2011 at 2:32 am

The Flickr photostream of the Florida Keys Public Libraries has three interesting vintage photos of the Strand.

This 1960 photo (the year “September Storm” was released) was taken for the local property appraiser’s office, and the caption says that the Strand was built in 1924.

However, this photo from the early 1920s shows the theater with the same basic form, but a rather different style of facade. The caption of this photo dates it to 1922, but the movie on the marquee was released in 1921. A banner over the entrance says “Our First Birthday,” so perhaps the theater opened in 1921 and brought the same movie it opened with back for its anniversary in 1922. Or perhaps the caption is wrong, and the theater opened in 1920 and had its anniversary in 1921, when “The Man From Lost River” was released.

In either case, the Strand was clearly operating before 1924, but equally clearly it had a rather extensive remodeling done to its facade, probably within a few years of its opening, going from what looks to me like a stripped-down version of American Art Nouveau, to the much more ornate Mannerist-Spanish Colonial style it retained throughout the rest of its history.

What prompted the early remodeling I don’t know. Maybe the original theater was destroyed and only the front wall survived to be incorporated into a rebuilt house, with the addition of a new parapet and decoration, though I haven’t been able to find any references on the Internet to such an event.

The third photo is this color postcard, a nocturnal view of Duval Street with the Strand’s marquee in the foreground. The postcard is undated, and there is no movie name on the Strand’s marquee, but the San Carlos Theatre can also be seen, down the block on the other side of the street, and in the largest size of the photo the name “Give a Girl a Break” can be read on it’s marquee. That movie was released in 1953.

JackCoursey on January 8, 2011 at 9:23 pm

There was little to nothing left of the Strand’s original interior when Ripley’s decided to abandon the theatre and move down to the east end of Duval. Walgreen’s put a considerable amount of money and effort into restoring as much of the theatre as possible. 2010 photos of the façade and the marquee.

tere on June 30, 2009 at 6:52 pm

I worked at the Strand in ‘71 at the concession stand. My best friend worked in the ticket bubble. The concession had a window opening directly on the street so people would come by and visit and I could see all the people “crusing” What a blast back in those days!!! Does anyone know what happened to that ticket bubble? It was allready vintage in '71. The Strand was a “B” theater by then and the movie I remember distinctly was the “Last House on the Left”. Scary ! The Strand did have a balcony.

Bway on May 4, 2009 at 9:46 am

It’s nice that at least the exterior was preserved.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on July 8, 2008 at 4:34 am

A 2003 view of the Strand Theater without the Walgreens sign and with it here. How did Key West let this happen!?

DonSolosan on January 29, 2008 at 10:21 pm

I think you’re right about the Rocky Horror showings, but wrong about The Last Resort part (I checked my VHS copy). Now that I think about it, I seem to remember that The Key West Picture Show played during the day, but at night they played alternative/cult-type movies. It was my first exposure to repertory programming. I saw A Boy And His Dog there, if memory serves.

What’s weird is that I shot a lot of film while living there, but didn’t take a single picture of any of the movie theaters.

Robt1951 on January 29, 2008 at 3:43 pm

Yes, I remember the Picture Show on Duval St. in the late 70’s. That was an excellent documentary about Key West that it showed. Wasn’t “The Last Resort” in the title, or am I confusing that, too? I think this theater sometimes played “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” late at night.


DonSolosan on January 29, 2008 at 12:32 am

I added a listing for the Islander. Then I remembered the Picture Show, which as I remember it, was a storefront converted to a theater for all day showings of “The Key West Picture Show,” a very good 40 minute documentary/travelogue on the island. Do you recall that at all?

Robt1951 on January 28, 2008 at 6:47 am

Don, I think you’re right. The Monroe wasn’t far from the Strand Theatre on Duval St. and I must have gotten them them mixed up in my memory. The Monroe is listed as showing adult movies in the 70’s.


DonSolosan on January 27, 2008 at 7:22 pm

Robt, wasn’t it the Monroe that showed Deep Throat/Devil in Miss Jones every night? I was there in the late 70s as well, and don’t remember the Strand being open as a movie house at that time.

The main places you could see regular movies was at that shopping center along Roosevelt Blvd, at the Islander Drive-In on Stock Island, and if you were military (I was), then on base.

Bway on January 16, 2008 at 8:40 am

Actually I think the first photo from Dec 11th is more recent than the second one from the 14th. When I was in key west about two years ago, it was already the Walgreens drug store, because I went in there to check the place out. I think it was the Ripleys before that.

TopGunUsNavy1 on September 18, 2007 at 8:31 pm

I know Im getting older, but not much. For so they call em mature years.. My history with this MAGICAL BUILDING, began in 83. The building was renovated and opened as a up-scale nite club. I was the guy who worked at this playland until Ray …. over Xtended himself..
I worked from the opening till closing in 85. I have many stories of all the big bands, and oh remembeing those tacky polyester Tux suits,,,, and for key West yes.. Tie and jacket………I was the man behind the scenes.. .

When Key West, you knew your friends,,,,,,,,,,, Lady Pinky & Lester and his Caddy of La Te Da, God rest thier soles. Vouge and Vital.

When Vouge & I spon Vynal at the Stand in 84 it seemed liked pink purubian was leagal……..The OP had 50Cent happy Hour..WAIL 95 was radio king. But best of all me working for Peter, taking care of this peter pan building. Day to day, nite to nite. I polished all that brass and hung markee letters evey monday, lugged and set tables & chairs for every concert and them some..Polish & polish .. I had such a love for this building, till this day I can not even tell you. I only wanted to be there all the time. I herd so many first hand history upon reopeing and was mesmerized at the beauty of this building. I loved my job.. On my 22nd birthday, Jimmy Buffet perfomed, I was plastered on the main spotlite, I barfed all over it and the can swong……. I left my post and past out in the projection booth.. at this time it was used for storage.. When I awoke later at 5am, Buffet and bartender Debbie & lover were sitting at the bar laughing at me stumbeling down the strairs… *Some nite kid * Buffet said …
I had a Debbie,, Gin Marteneeee with Buffet and stumbled home up to White Head Street…………
I have so many fond memmories,,, I was so saddened in 85 … I was the guy that put on the markkeee,, CLOSED FOR VECATION…. Only to know we would never reopen.. but wanting to hold on to the DIGNITY AND CLASS OF LADY NOT GOING….
Interested in much history first hand and mennnnnny origanl programs and stories of the 80s Strand & Key West , Drop me a note, ALL EMAILS WILL BE RETURNED and maybe old friends will come together in this magical memmory of the past …

Former Lighting DJ and caretaker of the Strand…..

ladyparadise on April 20, 2007 at 11:03 am

I found the theater. It is located on the corner Eaton and Bahama St.
There is no name on it. It is still closed.

ladyparadise on April 19, 2007 at 5:27 pm

I will see if I can find out the facts

ladyparadise on April 19, 2007 at 5:25 pm

I just remembered that about 3 years ago I went on a Ghost Tour in Key West. There was another Theater that caught on fire in old town. It was not far from the Strand. This theater was a playhouse. I can’t remember the name, but I believe it was near Bahama Village. The story was told that there were many children in this theater and the nuns were trying to protect the children. Many children were in the fire. This was an act of arson.
It is believed that many souls are still there. This theater has been closed since then, maybe in the 1950s. I did see something there but I am not sure what it was.

ladyparadise on April 19, 2007 at 12:02 pm

I have lived in Key West for 5 years and I HATE what Walgreen’s has done to the Strand. The Strand always reminded me of a place in the board game Candy Land. I always wondered what it used to look like on the inside. If anyone has any pictures of the inside, I would love to see them. I have always been connected to the Strand from the first day I arrived on this Island. ( I think it was Rippleys then.) I work at a Guest House that used to be the home of the Carbonell family. They were the original owners of the Strand. The grand daughters drop in to see me and their family home from time to time. They have told me many stories about the Strand and their family. I even believe their spirits are still there. I have even tried to talk to them about writing down some of the family history for the Guest House. Nothing has come of it yet. Carbonell family home was built somewhere around 1893. The home was sold to a man named Mickey Hollinsed (I met him too! Now he has passed.) Mickey converted the house into apartments, which are now called Condos.
The Guest House is now called the Hollinsed House. It is 2 blocks from the Strand. Each Condo is individually owned, and rented on a daily basis like a hotel. In one of the Condos, was a painting of the Strand by a local artist. The same exact picture on the web site that holywood90038 has already posted. I wanted that painting in the worse way. The Condo was sold and the painting was removed. I have no Idea what they did with it. What a shame, just like the Strand.
The RICH come to Key West and tear down our history, then build new homes and paint them purple. So sad, he who has the most money wins.

MoonScorch on March 13, 2007 at 9:48 pm

Does anybody know anything about a former Strand Theatre in Miami?

One morning while communting from my home in Hollywood down to my job in Coral Gables, I decided to avoid the terrible traffic on I-95 and find some avenue that ran parallel to the interstate. And somewhere between NW 29th Street and NW 14th Street along NW 7th Avenue I found a small theatre with a marquee and classic double doors. It was labeled the STRAND with the S having fallen off some time ago. It currently seems to be a small church/prayer home now. I will try to take some pictures of it. Can anybody here identify what part of town/neighborhood we would call this area? It’s definitely industrial and very poor. Perhaps that might help with some research (where I’m finding NO luck).

Robt1951 on March 4, 2007 at 2:27 am

There were a number of other theatres in Key West in the years 1978-80. I remember a small movie theatre on the other side of Duvall St. where I saw The Rocky Picture Horror Show. There was another historical theatre on Duvall St. whose name I can’t remember but we called it the Cuban Opera House with an austere interior where I saw Phyllis Diller perform live after it had been closed for many years. There was a movie theatre on N. Roosevelt Blvd. in the Searstown shopping mall. There was the Greene Street Theatre where plays were performed. I saw a wonderful performance of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire there. The Greene Street Theatre moved from Greene St. to the Navy Base off of Whitehead St. and featured plays like Cabaret and A Thousand Clowns (in which I was involved.) The Red Barn Theatre opened during this time on Duvall St. which featured plays. I saw the single most hilarious performance I’ve ever seen there which was an evening of scenes from Shakespeare’s tragediesâ€"not meant to be funnyâ€"with a rowdy audience. There was a theatre on Front St. which performed plays. And finally a beautiful, modern theatre opened in 1980 as The Tennessee Williams’ Art Center on Stock Island adjacent to Key West at the Community College where Tennessee Williams donated an old play of his to be performed for the opening titled Will Mr. Merriweather Return From Memphis? (never before performed.) I met Tennessee Williams’ there during the auditions and again later for a follow up audition at his home on Duncan St. I was in Key West in 1983 when Tennessee Williams died and attended a memorial service for him at this theatre where locals reminisced about him, a number of them falling down drunk. Ah, Key West.

Bway on March 4, 2007 at 2:20 am

Ah thanks, that clears up my question. So I assume the Copa was never a theater, so the photos are irrelevant.