Colony Theatre

129 Market Street,
Wilmington, NC 28405

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Colony Theatre

The Victoria Theatre was opened on January 12, 1914. In 1924 it was renamed Carolina Theatre. In the 1941 & 1943 editions of Film Daily Yearbook, the Carolina Theatre is listed as being operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. thru their subsidiary H.F. Kincey. The Carolina Theatre is listed at 131 Market Street in the 1950 edition of F.D.Y.

Later renamed Colony Theatre, it was also one of several movie theatres located on Market Street in downtown Wilmington that were operated under the Stewart and Everett Theatre chain (which also operated the Bailey Theatre and the Manor Theatre). The Colony Theatre was closed October 31, 1974.

Contributed by raymond

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

PatriciaCarol
PatriciaCarol on March 24, 2009 at 2:31 am

My two cents: Stewart & Everett never owned The Bailey. Stellings & Gossett owned four drive-ins (Starway, North 17, Wrightsville Rd. & Skyland) and The Manor in Wilmington. I don’t know who owned The Colony but when Stewart & Everett bought Stellings & Gossett they also purchased (or possibly leased) The Colony about 1960-61. Per Beverly Tetterton’s book “Wilmington: Lost But Not Forgotten” the three names of this theatre beginning in 1913: Victoria, Carolina, Colony. However, Beverly gets the year wrong as to when Stewart & Everett came into The Colony’s history. Mr. Roe – kiddy shows were a huge draw and Daddy (Edward Marks) played those up big! (He painted all the banners & did many of the cut-out letters on the marquee) They gave away nice prizes at some of the kids shows (like a bicycle, record player, camera) and often tied in with local soft-drink bottlers/distributers for discount (or free) admission (like bring 6 Royal Crown bottle caps & get in free). I have so many pictures (mostly of the marquee) from this time period. I hope to scan at least a few more & get them to my flickr site soon.

PatriciaCarol
PatriciaCarol on May 7, 2009 at 2:08 am

I was wrong! My mother insisted that The Bailey was never owned by Stewart & Everett and she was right in that it was never owned by them when she lived in Wilmington. At some point, I do not know when, The Bailey was operated (but probably not owned) by Stewart & Everett as I have seen it listed in some promotional literature for the managers of this chain from the 1970s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 14, 2010 at 3:29 pm

This house opened January 12, 1914, as the Victoria Theatre. It was designed by architect Burett H. Stephens, who had designed Wilmington’s first purpose-built movie house, the Bijou, opened in 1912. After closing in 1924, the Victoria was remodeled and reopened as the Carolina Theatre the following year.

The latest mention I can find of the Carolina Theatre in Boxoffice dates from December 13, 1952, and the earliest mention of the Colony I’ve found is from November 9, 1954, so the name was changed between those dates.

There is a page about the Victoria in the “Going to the Show” section of the University of North Carolina’s DocSouth project. It links to their page about the Carolina, but I don’t see anything there about the house as the Colony.

Boxoffice of November 25, 1974, recaps the history of the Victoria/Carolina/Colony in one of two articles about the closing of the house (left column, right-hand page), which took place on October 31 that year. Note that both the Boxoffice article and the UNC’s Carolina Theatre page misspell the architect’s name as Stevens rather than the correct Stephens. Additionally, Boxoffice gives the year of the name change from Victoria to Carolina as 1930, not 1925 as stated at the UNC page.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on February 23, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Here is another vintage photo of the Colony:
http://tinyurl.com/yc3zbnh

raysson
raysson on December 10, 2012 at 7:44 pm

A lot of great movies played here at the Colony Theatre in Downtown Wilmington. David Lean’s LAWRENCE OF ARABIA played here first-run on August 22,1963. It was an exclusive engagement showing.

From the ads: DIRECT FROM IT’S ROADSHOW ENGAGEMENT,NOW YOU CAN SEE LAWRENCE OF ARABIA AT POPULAR PRICES FOR IT’S EXCLUSIVE ENGAGEMENT!

raysson
raysson on January 29, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Closed on October 31,1974

rivest266
rivest266 on May 15, 2016 at 12:53 am

Trouble with the law in 1914:

https://www.newspapers.com/clip/5264722/victoria_theatre_troubles/

gadavis500
gadavis500 on June 1, 2017 at 10:36 pm

the newspaper article linked by rivest266 states that the Victoria Theatre was at 836 Market St. It was in the 100 block of Market St. Can anyone explain that?

gadavis500
gadavis500 on June 1, 2017 at 10:51 pm

Upon more research, it seems that the cited article was from The Wilmington News, of Wilmington,Delaware. Although the article was about Benny Schwarz and it was a Victoria Theatre and it was on Market St. Something is very strange here. It begs the question…. was the Benny Schwarz of Wilmington NC (who later became the mayor), ever the manager of the Victoria Theatre in Wilmington, NC? …or is all of this a pure coincidence and brought together by research on theatres.?

FlashCat
FlashCat on August 7, 2019 at 12:52 am

They are two different theaters. The Victoria in Wilmington, DE was closed in March 1920. The site was purchased by the Wilmington Savings Fund Society bank and built their new headquarters on that site. The Wilmington, DE gentlemen’s name was Benjamin Schwartz and not Schwarz (the Wilmington, NC gentlemen’s name) so they would be two totally different men.

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