Empress Theater

1190 Nuuanu Avenue,
Honolulu, HI 96817

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One of my favorite theaters as a kid. The Liberty Theater was right across the street where a parking lot is, and Empress Theater parking lot was in front of what was the Golden Harvest.

When I became a frequent visitor in the early-1980’s, my dad would bring my sister and I to see a kung fu movie on the weekends. To the best of my memory, the carpet and seats were red or maroon, and there was a balcony section as well. One could walk up the stairs from the left or right, and watch movies from there. I had made it to the balcony once, and every other time I visited, the balcony section had been roped off.

One could walk on the sidewalk and see what kung fu movies were playing at the time and what will/may be coming soon. I’ll forever know this theater as the place where I saw my all time favorite kung fu film, “The Shaolin Prince”.

The Empress Theater, and the other theaters in that block, was close to a manapua (char sui bao) place called Char Hun Sut, right next door to the Golden Harvest, and it remains there to this day.

Not sure when the Empress Theater stopped showing movies (mid to late-1980’s), but when it closed, it would be vacated by Calvary Chapel Honolulu. They moved to Aiea, and is now the home of New Life Church. The windows in the front are definitely “new” to the theater, as they weren’t there when it was the Empress Theater.

Contributed by John Book
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