Roosevelt Theatre

770 Arthur Godfrey Road,
Miami Beach, FL 33140

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Showing 1 - 25 of 40 comments

MiamiMan
MiamiMan on September 13, 2012 at 3:45 pm

I found this from a 2012 piece in the SunPost. A few photos of the interior as it sits today.

http://www.sunpostweekly.com/2012/02/02/history-time-capsule-the-roosevelt-theater/

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on July 5, 2012 at 6:23 pm

In its early days it was mostly an art house and Cinemascope was not an issue but by 1956 this was South Florida’s first Cinerama house that proscenium obsolete.

eliasJJunior
eliasJJunior on September 6, 2011 at 2:24 pm

@davidL A Performing arts company i work for is interested in this old Roosevelt theater in turning it into a performing arts venue. if your interested on helping us restore this ancient email me @

DavidL
DavidL on March 3, 2011 at 6:20 am

Well, I’d hope to it could show whatever you wouldn’t get there!

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on February 27, 2011 at 3:40 pm

David, you would be competing with an 18 screen state-of-art multiplex on Lincoln Road just south of here.

DavidL
DavidL on February 27, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Good to find lots of info here on this cinema. Saw it on a visit to Miami and would really like to see if there’s support to re-open the place from the local community. It could be great local resource in a much different guise from it’s last incarnation.

ralvin3
ralvin3 on March 22, 2010 at 10:24 pm

I will always remember going to the Roosevelt Theater in Miami Beach with my family to see John Wayne in The Alamo, 1961. We were given a ride on the way over in a convertible with the top down.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on March 12, 2010 at 9:24 am

During its Cinerama stage this was operated by the Stanley Warner Cinerama Corp.

rivest266
rivest266 on January 16, 2010 at 8:27 pm

This opened on December 27th, 1949. grand opening ad is on this page at View link

ajcp78
ajcp78 on April 19, 2009 at 9:01 pm

Hey guys, been almost 4 years since I’ve posted on here! I still love this theater. To HARVEY, above, WHERE did you get that picture???? That is amazing!!! You must have the only picture of this unique theater in its adultfare days…thanks so much and please get back to me. Do you have anymore pics like this? Are you from Miami? At the time of the picture, 1985, I lived around the corner from the theater and was 7 years old! Thanks for bringing back the memories of my childhood even if it’s in this strange semi-smutty manner….damn i could have been walking by with my dad in that photo if it had been grocery shopping day and you’d have caught us! take care

Harvey
Harvey on April 11, 2009 at 10:40 am

1985 photo of the Roosevelt here.

What the hell is that Chocolate Juice store over to the left? I don’t remember that.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on April 7, 2009 at 11:43 pm

Announcing the Grand opening of the new Roosevelt:

View link

Sorry for the poor quality reproduction.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on April 5, 2009 at 4:27 pm

This opened with much fanfare and full-page newspaper ads in 1949.

From the Herald article posted by Harvey on Mar 23, 2008 at 11:47pm
“It’s hard to conceive that the same theater that bowed out with sex romps was originally called the Lemonade Theater when it opened in 1949 because free lemonade was served during intermission.”

The name “Lemonade” mentioned in the article must have been a nickname as the ads proclaimed it as the Roosevelt from day one.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on April 24, 2008 at 5:35 pm

According to one of Linda Lovelace’s many contradicting memoirs, this performance at the Griffith Paramount (aka Pussycat)never happened.

View link

aarfeld
aarfeld on April 16, 2008 at 10:15 pm

Indeed, as tawdry as it may be, the decade of porn years is probably an important element in why many old theaters like the Roosevelt have survived to this day. There is a beautiful 1912 example in the city where I now live that limped along on porn and then $3 second-runs for years to survive and is now being fully restored as a concert venue. The decline of the neighborhood also contributed to the Roosevelt’s mothballing for the past 20 years to still stand today intact for possible renovation. If the real estate had been more valuable it probably would have succumbed to developers' greed long ago. That may also make the economics of its transition to live-performance theater workable as well (if the neighborhood is safe, even though run-down?). Presumably the sale price and annual property taxes will be resonable, which could help a newly opened theater get off the ground and thrive in its first years, if it can attract people to venture down there for a show.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on April 16, 2008 at 8:44 pm

Not at all, Harvey. I also share your fascination with the porn era and am quite concern at the white washing of history we are seeing today. The classy Roadshow Sheridan down the street was the South Florida premier house for “Deep Throat” and Leroy Griffith kept many a theatre open well past their due date.

Harvey
Harvey on April 16, 2008 at 7:18 pm

Al,

I agree that folks, including me, are possibly underestimating the value of the Roosevelt and what it stood for in terms of classic showmanship. However, it may be a generational thing. I take very seriously the exploitation and 70’s porn genre and the theatres that used to show such films, sometimes to obsession, as you obviously do the Cinerama Roadshow aspects of this house.

I was born in North Miami in 1973 and growing up, theatres like the Roosevelt, I remember as mostly porn. I was fascinated as a child driving past these older movie theatres and seeing the marquees promoting such questionable films. I’d always imagine what it would be like inside. Sometimes, it wasn’t even the movies that got me going as much as the thought of ambiance and what the architecture must look like within. But I usually think of them in the terms of the genres I mentioned above because basically, that’s the part of film history I’m into.

Unfortunately, it seems the only time news outlets would mention these theatres is in porn raids or closings of theatres. I’ve recently become fascinated with Leroy Griffith and think what a documentary on him would be like.

Once again, I agree with you on your above comment. I’d also like to say that your thoughtful and historically informative posts on Miami theatres have educated me on past glories these theatres once had, opening my mind to more than just the more lurid aspects that I seem to crave.

I think there’s room for all kinds of comments but I hope in no way have I, or any of my posts, detracted from your enjoyment here.

Sincerely,

Eric Harvey

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on April 16, 2008 at 10:09 am

I agree the future is dim for this location and the neighborhood has greatly changed as well, but it was once a luxury reserved seat house. The posts above, including mine, refer only to its deteriorated subrun, rock and porn years.

aarfeld
aarfeld on April 16, 2008 at 12:09 am

Al, I don’t think that there’s much of a market today for Cinerama Roadshows. So, for what purpose will these lovely old theaters be preserved—if any? Look at how many are listed as closed and demolished. Single-screen theaters simply can’t survive in today’s multiplex film business, unless their auditoriums are broken up into smaller screening rooms (which doesn’t preserve these gorgeous interiors) or they are converted to live-performance theaters for music or plays. It’s the only way to save a theater’s architectural integrity.

AlAlvarez
AlAlvarez on April 15, 2008 at 11:29 pm

I think the posts above greatly underestimate the value of this early Miami Beach Cinerama Roadshow house.

aarfeld
aarfeld on April 15, 2008 at 11:23 pm

In 1974 I traveled up from Perrine to this theater to see “Ladies and Gentlemen: The Rolling Stones,” as Al Alvarez mentioned above. I think that it was the only theater in the Miami area showing the film. I, being a very big Stones fan, returned several times to see the film during it’s run at the Roosevelt. I’d love to see the theater reborn as an intimate venue for live music performances with a cafe in the lobby, but I think it might better attract such a business if it were located down on Lincoln Road or among the many Art Deco hotels by the beach, where people stroll looking for entertainment.

aarfeld
aarfeld on April 15, 2008 at 11:03 pm

Sorry to disappoint you, ghamilton, but there are no more distributors for classic pictures—video stores and cable stations have that niche all locked up. And art house operators have lost much of their business to the multiplexes, who now dedicate at least one screen to that market, and at cheaper prices than the foreign movie theaters can afford to offer. Live performance: that’s the only hope for these lovely old movie houses.

Harvey
Harvey on March 24, 2008 at 2:47 am

Okay, right theatre.

XXX TURNS TO ZZZZZZ: BEACH ADULT CINEMA SHUT
Miami Herald, The (FL) – June 26, 1989
Author: DAVID ZEMAN Herald Staff Writer

For more than a decade, the Roosevelt Theater has leered lasciviously at passing motorists as they slide across the Julia Tuttle Causeway into Miami Beach’s business district.

But the adult movie theater closed with scarcely a whimper this month, canceling — perhaps forever — the South Florida showing of Seven Minutes in Heaven.

Merchants along 41st Street wonder what took so long.

“In two years here, I don’t think I saw a half-dozen people go into that theater,” said Paul Steinberg, a lawyer who works across the street.

His figures do not include the lawyers in his office who used to jokingly don raincoats when they crossed the road for popcorn. Only for popcorn.

It’s hard to conceive that the same theater that bowed out with sex romps was originally called the Lemonade Theater when it opened in 1949 because free lemonade was served during intermission. The Roosevelt showed first-run movies then and even put on plays before converting to “adult” flicks about 15 years ago.

Yet even its detractors concede that the sex palace has become a part of the local fabric.

Thomas Coltrane, who runs a realty office next door, said the theater has guided many customers to his otherwise nondescript office.

“A 75-year-old lady once called me and said, ‘I just can’t imagine how to get to your place,’ ” said Coltrane. “I told her we were right next to the dirty movie theater. She said, ‘Oh, I know exactly where you are.’ ”

The marquee has been empty since building owner Ted Konover bought out the lease from the theater’s operator, Irwin Knohl, the first week in June. Konover, who purchased the building in 1985, and Knohl both refused to be interviewed.

However, Steinberg said Konover has shown him plans to build a restaurant, stores and offices where the Roosevelt stands abandoned at 770 41st St.

Peeking inside the fingerprint-smudged glass doors, visitors can still ogle the posters promoting coming attractions.

There’s the sentimental Legend of Lady Blue, a movie “for those who still remember the first time”; Satin Suite, a “film” that won the praise of Hustler’s discerning art critic; and a medical docudrama, The Naughty Nurse.

Rabbi Gary Glickstein of nearby Temple Beth Sholom recalled when the Roosevelt began promoting Debbie Does Dallas two days before the temple was to host an Israeli Independence Day festival in 1975.

Panicky elders from the temple prevailed on the Roosevelt to delay the ad campaign for a week.

“It’s probably the best thing that’s happened to Arthur Godfrey Road in the last 10 years,” said Steinberg of the closing. “This is the gateway to Miami Beach and the business district. To have a large marquee advertising triple X-rated movies is not the first impression you want people to have.”

The Roosevelt might have fallen victim to a take-out mentality, said Joe Bueno, manager of Video Variety in Miami Beach. Bueno said adult movies make up 50 percent of his store’s weekend rentals.

ghamilton
ghamilton on September 28, 2006 at 6:16 pm

Went by it several times last week.Big metal gate in front now.For sale sign up.