Alhambra Theatre

1073 N. Water Street,
Decatur, IL 62523

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Alhambra Theatre - Decatur, Illinois - MARKO THE MAGICIAN (1953)

The Alhambra was located on North Water Street, and built in 1914. It was nowhere near as ornate as other Decatur movie houses like the Avon, the Empress or the Lincoln, but every bit as popular as its larger and fancier cousins. It was located next door to one of the most popular dance halls in the city, the Illini Ballroom, where couples were entertained by big bands for decades.

The Alhambra could originally seat 1000 (later much reduced), all on the orchestra level. It did have a small stage for live performances, such as visits by celebrities like Red Skelton and Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. It also hosted live children’s stage shows accompanying the onscreen entertainment during Saturday matinees.

Competition from television was a cause in the Alhambra’s gradual decline in attendance, and it was closed in late 1960. It was afterward torn down to make way for new businesses.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Circusposters on July 30, 2015 at 1:11 pm

By the looks of the crowd lined up around the block, this Midnight Spook Show, featuring MARKO THE MAGICIAN (Richard Berry) was a hit with kids of the 1950s who were also fans of “Creature of the Black Lagoon” and “I Was Teenage Werewolf.” Fantom Follies was popular with the James Dean crowd – and gave them an excuse to stay out after midnight!

rivest266 on February 11, 2016 at 2:44 pm

November 6th, 1919 first ad in photo section.

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