Carib Theatre

230 Lincoln Road,
Miami Beach, FL 33139

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Carib Theatre auditorium

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Opened on December 22, 1950, this Wometco flagship site had a moving ceiling that exposed the lobby garden to the sun.

Designed by architect Michael DeAngelis, with architect Roy F. France as associate, this was one of Florida’s best theaters and yet was allowed to deteriorate. It closed in 1977 and was gutted in 1979. The building stood as a shopping arcade of sorts until it was demolished in December 2015.

Contributed by Al Alvarez

Recent comments (view all 24 comments)

Preston33154
Preston33154 on March 6, 2013 at 3:00 pm

I just passed by this place yesterday—always wondered what it was… I thought that it was a former theatre—Miami Beach and the beach cities are littered with former theatres—all mostly converted into shopping of some sort—so I googled it. And found some information, including the “shopping mall” floor plan. It matches the current facade; very 70’s. I’ve lived in Miami Beach for 22y. And it was always covered and noted as “American Trade Center”. Now even that is boarded-over! (The current owner is still noted as “American Trade Center” and not for sale! But they’re paying the $90k in annual taxes. And it closed nearly 30y ago!)

Sad that the wonderful ‘underwater’ architecture was totally demolished. (supposing by the latest floorplan). Maybe someday I can sneak into that very-well boarded-up building!

fosterdeux
fosterdeux on September 12, 2013 at 6:54 pm

The somewhat sad new plans for the Carib. http://miami.curbed.com/archives/2013/09/11/developers-propose-vegas-style-schlock-for-lincoln-road.php

aeterna
aeterna on December 16, 2015 at 8:46 pm

This needs to be moved to the demolished category. In the last few weeks, the building has been completely razed. Although Wometco closed the doors in ‘75. Leroy Griffith took over operations for at least another year or two until at least 1977. The plans are tentatively in place for a Ross store to open in May 2016.

aeterna
aeterna on January 2, 2016 at 6:35 am

Orson Welles “Compulsion” in 1959

http://media.gettyimages.com/photos/urban-night-life-on-lincoln-road-miami-beach-florida-usa-circa-picture-id177231126

David_Schneider
David_Schneider on January 10, 2016 at 11:54 pm

I was startled to see it had been demolished when I walked by on December 30th, 2015. Several times over the years I used to gaze at the tall rectangular shape that was all that was left of the fa├žade and imagine what the Carib may have been like in its day.

Based on photos I’ve seen and stories I’ve heard, this is one of the theaters I have felt I missed out on by not getting to visit. I believe an older person told me they even kept a pet parrot in the interesting lobby, if I understood correctly.

I noticed the demolition revealed some sort of old fashioned ad for a business painted on the wall on the right of the now open space.

Wow, check out this short b&w Youtube video of the Carib called World Premiere At Miami Beach Of “Sweet Bird Of Youth” (1962):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brqp1PwQHXA

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on January 11, 2016 at 12:22 am

I was fortunate enough to have visited several times as a kid. This place was extraordinary. Although I don’t remember a parrot, the lobby was a Caribbean tropical dream with real plants, pools and a skylight roof. A parrot would not have been out of place.

aeterna
aeterna on January 12, 2016 at 2:09 pm

There were numerous statues that were in the lobby as well. Ex Miami Beach mayor Leonard Haber was involved with the development of the Carib Mall that replaced the theater (Most of the theater interior was gutted by 1979) Haber salvaged some of the statues from the lobby and had a professional sculptor restore them and had them installed in his home.

David_Schneider
David_Schneider on April 28, 2016 at 7:16 pm

I remember reading years ago in the Miami Herald that a time capsule with items associated with a premier at one of the now defunct Lincoln Road cinemas had been found during road work.

I Googled and found this article from the Sun Sentinel:

http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1997-01-04/news/9701040022_1_time-capsule-glenn-miller-jimmy-stewart

For some reason I remember reading or assuming that the capsule had been found on the pedestrian part of Lincoln Road, (maybe I saw some road work being done on the pedestrian part around that time so I thought that’s where they found it?), but the article says the items were associated with a premier at the Carib.

DrGaryDubler
DrGaryDubler on October 27, 2016 at 11:33 pm

I was born and raised in Miami Beach and lived there most of my life. The Carib Theater was unique and gorgeous. The front wall of the theater had a huge map of the Caribbean above the marquee. The entrance promenade [yes! about 80 feet long & maybe 20 feet wide] had gold-veined mirrors on both the left & right sides, waterfalls [that misted visitors with cool water], a roof that opened to let sunlight in, and 3-4 multi-colored live parrots.

Once you passed the promenade there was an escalator [unheard of in a moviehouse in 1950] leading to the balcony. There were more ushers & lobby personnel to help you than in any other theater in all of Dade County. This was a place to dress up to go to the movies. Going to this theater was an event, yet it cost no more than any other theater.

There were other gorgeous theaters in Dade County. a few blocks down from the Carib were the Beach Theater & the Lincoln Theater. Down Washington Ave. was the Cinema Theater, which had been a Vaudeville Theater in the 20’s, with a completely Art Deco theme [if there’s interest, I’ll write about them.] Across the bay in Miami, the Olympia Theater was a showplace with a panorama of a cityscape surrounding the screen.

Gary Dubler

David_Schneider
David_Schneider on October 30, 2016 at 5:11 pm

Gary Dubler: Yes, I love hearing such stories and details especially of theaters I did not get to experience, and I hope you share more. Each of the Dade County theaters you mention also have their own pages and comments sections here on Cinema Treasures.

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