Smyrna Theatre

106 W. Commerce Street,
Smyrna, DE 19977

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The Smyrna Theatre opened in 1948. It has a rather plain exterior. Inside the auditorium there is a wealth of decoration, and two murals are set on the splay walls each side of the proscenium. Seating was provided in orchestra level, with a small balcony.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 23, 2009 at 8:56 pm

This is a 1980 photo, assuming this is the 1940s Smyrna and not the other one.
http://tinyurl.com/kuvlpx

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 18, 2010 at 7:58 am

Though they placed it in nearby Dover, Delaware, Boxoffice did report the opening of the Smyrna Theatre in its issue of April 10, 1948. It said the house had opened “last week.”

A decade earlier, Boxoffice of February 26, 1938, said that the Roxy Theatre at Smyrna had escaped damage when a car parked in front of it caught fire.

Also, Commerce Street runs east and west. The building was still standing at 106 W. Commerce when the Google street view truck last went through town. It has lost its marquee to one of those absurd shingled mansardettes that were popular in the 1960s and 1970s. It must have closed by then.

The building appears to be vacant in street view, but Internet directory sites list it as the location of Slaughter’s Plumbing & Heating. It’s a wholesale outfit so maybe it looks empty because they just don’t have window displays.

atmos
atmos on May 13, 2010 at 12:53 am

The architects were John J Zink and F L W Moeble.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on May 13, 2010 at 12:17 pm

So it should be W. Commerce instead of S. Commerce.

Jack Oberleitner
Jack Oberleitner on August 21, 2010 at 3:28 pm

The Smyrna was a lovely theatre. Far nicer than you might expect in a town of that size. The exterior was streamline-modern with a tiny, very plain lobby. Concessions were served through a window that connected an adjacent coffee shop. Eventually concessions were available through vending machines only.

On the other hand, the standee area, small balcony and main auditorium were bordering on spectacular. A great adaptation of a classic design. I remember the front curtain was especially stylish and was used in a proper, professional way with stage lighting.

The average audience (in the mid and late 60’s) was another issue. Of the many hundreds of theatres I have seen or been associated with, in large and small towns, the Smyrna audience was one of the rudest and most disrespectful I have ever encountered. While not malicious, they were loud and unruly. The part-time managers, usually Dover AFB moonlighters) were more “bouncers” than anything. Truly a shame since the theatre itself was such a gem. As in many other places, when the teens take over, everyone else leaves…then the teens leave and the theatre closes.

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