Florida Theatre

128 East Forsyth Street,
Jacksonville, FL 32202

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Florida Theatre

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This theater, located on Forsyth Street in downtown Jacksonville, is beautiful. It opened in 1927 and was designed to look like a Moorish courtyard at night inside, complete with dark blue sky with glowing stars, lit balconies and fountains. The theatre was designed with central heating and air conditioning. Elvis Presley made one of his first concert appearances on an indoor stage there.

Contributed by "FullMoonFm@aol.com", Ken Willey

Recent comments (view all 27 comments)

theatreorganmana on April 23, 2008 at 12:29 pm

It has been a common misconception that Elvis played his “first indoor concert” at the Florida in Jacksonville. This is simply not true! If you research his timeline in 1956 (by Robert Fontenot) you will discover that he played The Carolina Theatres in Spartanburg, Charlotte, and Winston-Salem; The Atlanta Fox, the Atlanta Paramount, and the St.-Petersburg Florida Theatre (August 7)[among many other indoor venues] BEFORE his concerts at Jacksonville’s Florida Theatre, August 10-11

atlmike on May 15, 2008 at 6:56 pm

The Florida is alive and healthy. In the summer they have a movie series that’s always fund. Last summer when we were in Jacksonville we went to see “Stranger on a Train.” Vintage movies like this in a beautiful vintage setting like the Florida are special! The place doesn’t seem as huge as it did when I was a kid…but it’s still a big, handsome theatre.

gemsroadwarrior on June 27, 2008 at 10:24 pm

I remember the Florida Theatre from it’s down and out days when it was playing “Shaft”, “Blacula”, “Cotton Comes To Harlem” and “Super Fly”. It was pretty run down then, but glad to see that it has been revived.

kencmcintyre on November 28, 2008 at 7:29 pm

Here is an August 1956 photo from Life Magazine:

Harvey on April 11, 2009 at 6:22 am

1981 photo of the Florida here.

RXD on December 19, 2009 at 8:25 am

Had the great pleasure of seeing ‘Othello’ here in the mid 1990’s (Laurence
Fishburne / Kenneth Branagh version). The experience was one of the best
blendings of film with venue that I ever had in a movie palace. The opulent,
moorish inspired architecture, classic & brooding, perfectly showcased the
bard’s ‘moor of venice’. Favorite front row center balcony seats only served
to heighten the illusion of being in another place and time. Lucky, lucky
Jacksonville to have this amazing movie palace (and still screening the
flicks that were made to be seen in just such a setting). Bravo!

AndyCallahanMajorMajor on July 24, 2010 at 7:38 am

Here are two pictures of the theater in July 2010.

CSWalczak on October 9, 2010 at 11:28 pm

This webpage has pictures of the Florida as well as a focus on Elvis Presley’s appearance there in 1956 (which was somewhat controversial): http://www.scottymoore.net/FlTheater.html

GeorgeStrum on March 30, 2011 at 8:47 pm

This theatre is haunted. A spector of a man has been seen in the upper balcony in rowE. Strange sounds come from the projection booth. There may be the spirit of little girl as well. All of this information came from the program Real or Faked on the SyFy channel.

ghamilton on March 31, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Funny you should mention spooks.I just saw the “GHOST LAB” guys doing the Florida.The place IS seriously haunted,as are so many old places.Good shots of the beauty of the place.

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