Majestic Theatre

900 West Main Street,
Johnson City, TN 37601

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Majestic Theatre

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The Majestic Theatre was Johnson City’s premiere theater and was opened in 1921 with 880 seats. Operating as a first run movie house for over 50 years, it began its existence during the silent film era. Its Wurlitzer organ was used to accompany the silent films.

During the 1940’s, it was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary Wilby-Kincey. It was closed in 1981, and was demolished in 1996.

Contributed by Michael Hopson

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

flimbuff on September 30, 2004 at 1:44 pm

Great older theatre: inlaid tile entrance, free-standing ticket booth, thick-carpeted lobby, long velvet drapes and a dark, hidden balcony. I remember seeing two films there: Apocolypse Now and Earthquake with Charlton Heston. Earthquake featured some Hollywood gimmickry called
“sens-a-round”, in which large motors were placed in the rear of the auditorium that shook the building during the tremor scenes in the film. This was a little too realistic as it caused structural damage to the building which ultimately led to its closure. No one stepped up to have the old theatre renovated, so it sat for years until finally becoming condemned by the city governement. Eventually it was demolished and a small city park sits in its place. Unfortunately with its passing, so went all the beautiful old theatres in Johnson City.

kencmcintyre on August 18, 2006 at 8:42 am

Here is another circa 1920s photo:

BannerJohn1954 on December 9, 2007 at 12:29 pm

I almost cry when I pass by that big empty space,and think of the memories,and what could have been. The leaders of Johnson City are always talking about revitalizing downtown,but the fact is,unlike Bristol,Knoxville,Chattanooga…there really is no reason to come downtown anymore. Had someone stepped up and saved the Majestic (or the Tennessee),there would now be a reason.
UNfortunately,the leaders(?) in Johnson City seem to be more apt to tear things down than anything else. The Johnson City I remember of 40 years ago is mostly gone. I their zeal to make Johnson City from a small town (which it is) into a big town (which it is NOT) they are destroying the charm that brought people here in the first place. I expect a huge exodus to Bristol,Kingsport,even Greenville or Irwin,any day now.

Ripshin on March 29, 2009 at 11:28 pm

Saw many films there, when on vacation visiting my grandmother – 60s/70s. Specifically, I remember “Willy Wonka”.

Ripshin on May 24, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Unfortunately, the city powers-that-be STILL love to tear things down. They actually envision making half of downtown a PARK of some sort, demolishing further structures. Amazing. The Capri and Majestic should have been saved. The Capri was covered with one of those horrible plastic/aluminum false fronts, so popular in the 60s, for its final two decades.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 25, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Sad comment on a great East Tenn city. I am so glad we saved the IMPERIAL, MODJESKA and Miller theatres in downtown Augusta,Ga.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 25, 2012 at 3:55 am

The scan is a bit blurry, but in Boxoffice of August 17, 1946, there are two pairs of before-and-after photos depicting the results of a remodeling of the Majestic. The auditorium looked atmospheric originally, but the whole house became Art Moderne when remodeled. No architect or designer was credited in the article.

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