Palma Ceia Theater

2309 S. MacDill Avenue,
Tampa, FL 33629

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Palma Ceia Theater

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Operating since the early-1940’s, this was a neighborhood theater that was closed by the 1970’s, though probably earlier. The building survived as a Masonic lodge, but was renovated into office space in around 2008.

Contributed by Andy

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 3, 2009 at 8:12 am

The earliest mention of the Palma Ceia Theatre I’ve found in Boxoffice is from April 3, 1943, an item mentioning the failure of its operators to renew a 90-day lease they’d taken. The place was apparently fairly new then. As late as 1947 one Boxoffice item referred to it as one of Tampa’s newest neighborhood houses. I’d surmise that it was an early 1940s house, completed or at least underway before the war began and building restrictions were imposed.

By the late 1940s the Palma Ceia was being operated by Claughton Theatres. A 1953 Boxoffice item said that the Palma Ceia had launched a program of foreign movies two nights a week. The house was still being run by Claughton Theatres when Boxoffice of February 15, 1955, reported that CinemaScope was being installed. The last mention of the Palma Ceia I’ve found in Boxoffice is in an April 28, 1956, item about a lawsuit filed by State Theatres, which was seeking a leasehold interest in this house and two other Tampa theaters.

I found an un-updated web site with the old address of Mason’s lodge 317, and it was at 2309 S. MacDill. The building, at the northwest corner of San Carlos, has been thoroughly remodeled and no traces of its theatrical past is identifiable in Google Street View.

From a tiny fragment of the former facade wall seen in one of two photos at the Catalano Engineering website (the company that handled the conversion to office space) it looks like the entire top was taken off of the building and a new second floor added. The line in the accompanying text about how the building “…needed to be preserved….” might have been meant ironically. Do they still have irony in Florida?

Nunzienick on September 9, 2010 at 6:19 am

Here’s a photo dated 1942 when the Palma Ceia played the double-feature “KISS THE BOYS GOODBYE” and “BLONDIE GOES LATIN."
View link

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on September 9, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Thanls Nick.Anymore big articles set for CT.

Nunzienick on September 10, 2010 at 4:53 am

Mike, Still trying to finish up the story on the Springs Theatre. I found this photo of the Palma Ceia in USF library’s collection of Tampa scenes. They’ve added several very nice photos of local theatres to the collection that I hadn’t seen before so I linked them to CT: Palace, Florida, Ritz, State, Park, Hillsboro Drive-In.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 25, 2010 at 3:22 pm

thanks Chuck.I enjoy those old handbills.Wish I would saved the hundreds i had.

Nunzienick on February 8, 2011 at 5:44 am

Thanks Chuck! Very nice coming attraction handbills. Since the late 1960s I’ve driven past this building many times never realizing it was the Palma Ceia Theatre.

AndyCallahanMajorMajor on May 26, 2011 at 10:36 pm

Here are my two shots from May 2011.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 27, 2011 at 3:36 am

Thanks Andy,Did we see this one when you were giving me the Tour,Nick.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on August 3, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Whoever posted the nice vintage program – thanks!

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