Gem Theater

118 NW 1st Avenue,
Mulberry, FL 33860

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I found this theater while driving through downtown Mulberry. It’s currently a union hall. It opened as the Gem Theater in 1947, with 450 seats.

It was closed around 1957.

Contributed by Andy

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

AndyCallahanMajorMajor on November 30, 2009 at 7:08 pm

Thanks for that information. Couldn’t find anything online.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 1, 2009 at 12:54 am

This house is probably the one called the Gem Theatre. Boxoffice of September 14, 1957, reported that the International Chemical Workers Council had bought the Gem Theatre in Mulberry from its operators, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Arnold. The equipment was not included in the $20,000 sale price, but the Council was considering purchasing that as well and reopening the theater.

The Gem was not very old at the time of its sale. Boxoffice of April 5, 1947, reported under the dateline Mulberry, Fla., “R. T. Arnold’s new 450-seat Gem Theatre here is now open.” This was apparently a replacement for (or perhaps an extreme remodeling of) an earlier Gem Theatre operated at Mulberry by the Arnolds which was mentioned in a July, 1946 issue of Boxoffice.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 24, 2013 at 10:40 am

R. T. Arnold planned to rebuild the Gem as early as 1941, when the August 29 issue of The Film Daily carried this announcement:

“Gem Adds Balcony

“Mulberry, Fla. — Remodeling work on The Gem will include a balcony. Original plans did not call for this but it is being added in order to increase seating capacity of the small house. R. T. Arnold and Marvin Morris will operate the house when completed.”

I suspect that the project didn’t get under way soon enough to avoid the building restrictions imposed by the War Production Board following the entry of the United States into WWII, and that would account for the new Gem not being opened until 1947.

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