New Lyric Theater

305 W. Washington Street,
Charleston, WV 25302

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P. K. "Budd" Ballard
P. K. "Budd" Ballard on December 1, 2016 at 9:03 pm

As a post script, the LYRIC THEATRE referred to here was on the East side of the Elk River and was in downdown Charleston. When I lived there, the theatre was always called THE NEW LYRIC and showed 2nd run features.

P. K. "Budd" Ballard
P. K. "Budd" Ballard on December 1, 2016 at 8:58 pm

I was born and raised in Charleston and went to the CUSTER THEATRE every Saturday for years. I also went with my parents on Saturday nights. On Saturday afternoons, the CUSTER showed a cartoon, a newsreel ( remember them ?)and two features. One was always a cowboy movie and the other one was always a comedy AND … there was always a serial to keep you coming back next Saturday afternoon. The Saturday evening show was a current 2nd run feature. The CUSTER was a lovely theatre with a balcony. In later years it was used as a showcase for live “country & western” performances. I have interior photos of when it was used for live performances.

Erasmusinwv2 on July 4, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Is this theater still around? I am in the process of buying and rehabbing the Philippi Grand and if it proves profitable I want to work on reopening other theaters in WV, KY, OH, PA, MD, and VA. There are so many wonderful old theaters with more character than any modern cookie cutter places.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 15, 2010 at 4:00 am

Boxoffice of February 5, 1938, said that the Custer Theatre at Charleston would open February 16. The theater was owned by Gene Custer. The house originally seated 575, according to Boxoffice of February 26.

WolfDreamer on March 14, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Here is a link to a Google street view of the building as it appears now. As said above, there is an architect firm there now, but they’ve done a good job of recreating a “theater” look to the building. I love the “Custer” sign above the entrance.

kencmcintyre on September 12, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Here is a December 1975 article from the Charleston Daily Mail:

Keep X-rated movies downtown, the West Side doesn’t want them, say a businessman and clergyman who reacted with disdain to a proposal that the Custer Theater show skin flicks on a temporary basis. “We need a porno house over here like we need a hole in the head,” said Jack Freeland. president of the West Side Businessmen’s Assn., reacting to published reports that the management of the burned-out Lyric Theater is contemplating a move to the old Custer Theater at 305 Washington St. W.

The association includes about 100 businessmen, and Freeland said, “I think I can speak for all of them when I say that we are going to discourage this proposal in every way we can.” Protests notwithstanding, Mrs. Lydia Bowring said she and her husband plan to crank up projectors and begin showing X-rated films Wednesday afternoon. “I’ve got a right to make a living,” she said. “Look, our patrons are working class people and your higher-up types too. And by the time we open up. the church service will be over.”

Mrs. Bowring said no lurid signs will be displayed on the West Side cinema, which she and her husband have purchased. “We tried to show Walt Disney movies there for $1 a person and no one came,” she said. No one, she said, will be forced to enter the theater. The Rev. John Parks, pastor of Bream Memorial Presbyterian Church, envisions X-rated movies as an affront to his parishioners. A sporting goods shop and an alley separate Parks' church, at 317 Washington St. W.. from the theater, he said.

Freeland said he had received about 10 calls this morning from protesting residents, while Parks had had about three, he said. “I guess we have a feeling about the West Side as a special community.” Parks said. “There is a lot of concern about this.” As to X-rated movies. Parks said he is very wary of denying freedom to film-makers. “Don’t misunderstand. I’m not all for them. Some of these films are socially redeeming while others border on pornography,” Parks said. Parks said. “I’m very disappointed. This theater is so close to the church.”

Attempts to contact the theater management were unsuccessful. Freeland could not say what form the businessmen’s association protest will take.

wvm40 on July 16, 2009 at 1:46 pm

I was there many times in the 80’s—great old building and a lot of good memories ;)