Florida Theatre

710 Franklin Street,
Tampa, FL 33602

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Showing 1 - 25 of 44 comments

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 8, 2013 at 7:36 pm

thanks NICK.great stuff.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on December 31, 2012 at 8:01 am

Will, The theatre originally opened as the Florida and was later changed to the Franklin Theatre. Years later the name was changed back to the Florida. The address is listed as 710 Franklin Street in all theatre ads as well as the city directory. The 712 Franklin Street address was more than likely O'Falks Department Store—the building next door to the theatre.

Note: there were two very small shops within the theatre building itself immediately to the left and right of the theatre entrance (you can see a small portion of each store in photo above.) As I recall in the 1960s one was a jewelry store but not certain about the other one. The address of the store on the right could have been 712 but the theatre was definitely 710 Franklin Street.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on December 30, 2012 at 11:16 am

Wurlitzer organ opus 1332 (style D-X, a fairly small instrument) was listed as sold to the Franklin Theatre, Tampa, Florida, April 4, 1926. This website

http://historictheatresintampa.blogspot.com/2008/08/franklinflorida-theatre-downtown.html

lists the Florida Theatre as having opened as the Franklin, but the street address is 712 Franklin, not 710. Can you verify this one way or the other?

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on September 22, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Thanks John! Enjoyed reading your post. Great hearing from an employee of the Florida. Seldom do former employees of area theatres post comments. I remember the Weeki-Wachee promotions the downtown theatres would always run either before or after the feature. That was certainly a nice gesture on the part of Florida State Theatres to allow the Weeki-Wachee girls in for half-price admission. I’m sure the girls appreciated that! Thanks again for commenting.

JOHNVITCH
JOHNVITCH on September 22, 2012 at 8:03 am

WOW—HOW YOU DO BRING BACK SOME MEMORIES—I WAS AN USHER AT THE FLORIDA THEATRE FROM JAN 1963 UNTIL LATE AUGUST 63—IT WAS A GRAND TIME ESPECIALLY SINCE I GOT TO WORK AT THE PALACE AND THE TAMPA—O THE WEK END MATINEE’S SELLING CANDY—==SAW INTEGRATION COME INTO PLACE-PICKET'ERS OUTSIDE THE FLORIDA AND THE BIG MIRROR ON THE RIGHT SIDE WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN MY FINDING MY FIRST GREAT ROMANCE WITH A BEAUTIFUL BLONDE WHO WORKED NEXT DOOR AND WOULD COME IN AND EAT LUNCH-HOT DOGS AT THE COUNTER AND WATCH A FEW MINUTES OF A MOVIE WITH ME—THE LONGEST DAY AND WEST SIDE STORY WERE RESERVED SEATING AND I HAD A BALL.WE ALSO GAVE HALF PRICE ADMISSION TO THE GIRLS OF WEEKI-WACHEE..THANKS FOR THE GREAT PICTURES;;JOHN VITCH

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on September 7, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Nick ALL THe AUGUSTA theatres Closed that day and part of the next.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on August 15, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Here’s some trivia that took place on a horribly tragic day. In looking through the theatre ads for 1963 I noticed BLOOD FEAST opened at the Florida Theatre on Friday, November 22, 1963. President Kennedy was assasinated at 12:30 PM, and the first showing began at 1:00. Shortly after the news hit the air many theatres nationwide closed down for the remainder of the day and the following day as well. Not certain if the Florida or any other local theatres closed or remained open. More than likely they ran the first afternoon showing (since tickets had already been sold) and cancelled all other showings.

Although BLOOD FEAST is well known as an extremely low budget drive-in programmer, it actually opened in several first run theatres nationwide before hitting the drive-in circuit. I remember seeing the trailer at the Florida the week before it opened. Audiences that had come to see THE LEOPARD with Burt Lancaster were totally grossed out!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 7, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Nick.More power to you,the only musical I ever liked was “OLIVER”.I guess I not much of a music movie watching guy.BUt we both like 2001.

Nunzienick
Nunzienick on May 4, 2011 at 10:06 pm

The Exclusive West Coast Engagement of “WEST SIDE STORY” reopens the remodeled Florida Theatre on April 4, 1962. Admission of $1.25 to $2.00 makes this the most expensive movie ticket in town for 1962:
View link

“WEST SIDE STORY” runs for 10 weeks and is followed by a 3-week run of “STATE FAIR” which I sat through twice the first weekend, twice the second weekend, and twice the third weekend. One of my guilty pleasures and yes, I loved every minute of it!
View link
Click on image and “view all sizes” to enlarge.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 10, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Now showing April 7 1963 was “THE LONGEST DAY” two shows only at 2:30 and 8:15 pm.You even order by Mail for these tickets.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on February 5, 2011 at 9:50 am

Yes,Nick,You don’t think of the Tampa going the X-rated route.I wonder if Atlanta’s FOX played X-rated movies,I sure do not recall any.

Nunzienick
Nunzienick on December 3, 2010 at 12:28 am

Yes, I remember the Florida did play several X-rated attractions during that period. Many of these were foreign films. I remember seeing a black and white Swedish film called “Inga” which was not much more than soft-porn. Most of these films were not the typical triple-X porno films that would play at adult theatres but more of the mainstream variety. I never saw “Fuego” although I seem to recall the ad about the makers having to flee! I also remember seeing “DeSade” “Heronimus Merkin” and “Clockwork Orange” which were all major attractions rated X. But what shocked me more than these films was when the Tampa Theatre broke its long standing traditon of playing family films and ran the X-rated “Killing of Sister George” and “The Stewardesses.” I’ve always thought the Florida Theatre would have been better suited to play these two.

RickG
RickG on December 1, 2010 at 9:50 pm

There is an entire genre of films missing from the list of films that played at the Florida. In the late ‘60’s, after the rating system came into existence (1968) the Florida Theater went through a period of showing 'X’ films. I was stationed at MacDill and saw my first (and pretty much only) X’s there. My favorite (because of how bad it was) was “Fuego”. The advertising claimed that the makers of the film had to flee their home country. Maybe they snuck out under cover of darkness because the film was so lousy.

Nunzienick
Nunzienick on September 9, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Yes, it was the Tower. I haven’t scanned it yet since my scanner is out of commssion once again but should be up again soon.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on September 9, 2010 at 11:42 am

Did you print those movie ads i sent down from the Drive-in in Tampa.Can’t remember the Drive-in was it the Tower Drive-in.

Nunzienick
Nunzienick on September 9, 2010 at 12:40 am

Photo of entrance with box office and very nice poster displays dated July 14, 1942 when the double-feature of the day was “THE WIFE TAKES A FLYER” and “REMEMBER PEARL HARBOR."
View link

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 8, 2010 at 8:56 pm

Great pictures Nick.Told Bill his “JAWS” ad was on that special commentary on the movie.He was impressed and wished he could see it.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on May 31, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Thanks again for the photos,I noticed in the March 6th post, Butler Shoes sign we had one of these stores in Nashville also on Church street near all the theatres,I guess Butler Shoes used to be in most cities as I have seen there signs in many theatre photos on C.T.

Nunzienick
Nunzienick on May 31, 2010 at 12:02 pm

The Florida is demolished. I took these with a small polaroid so my apologies for the quality.

Front and side views. Note balcony outline etched in side wall.
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Portion of balcony with part of booth still standing in upper center of photo. The proscenium was hidden for many years when new wide screen was installed.
View link

Nunzienick
Nunzienick on May 12, 2010 at 11:02 pm

Thanks tlsloews. Sadly all buildings on the right side of photo are long gone along with the Florida.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on May 9, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Nice shot of both theatres Nick.

Nunzienick
Nunzienick on March 6, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Here are some shots of the Florida. Click on photos to enlarge.

Exterior shot dated 2/26/25 when theatre was known as the Franklin:
View link

Interior shot of auditorium dated 2/15/24 when theatre ran silents: View link

Nice Franklin Street shot dated 9/18/53 showing the Florida on the
right and the Tampa on the left:
View link

Nunzienick
Nunzienick on February 19, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Chuck, Although I can’t be certain as to the exact year I believe the new facade was placed on the building either just before or right after 1950. I base this on two photos I saw at the library. One
is dated late 1940s and shows the original facade with windows, and the second photo dated 1952
shows the building with the new modern facade along with the new “Florida” vertical signage which
was removed in the early 1960s. I distinctly remember this date. I was riding in my aunt’s car and
as we passed the Florida I recall the movie playing was “Psycho” and the verticle had already been
taken down.

Nunzienick
Nunzienick on December 31, 2009 at 10:19 pm

Thanks for the photo ken mc! Yes, this is the Florida. As you can see the building on the right has already been demolished and the Florida was next. So photo must’ve been taken just weeks or days before demolition. Nice angled shot.