Alabama Theatre

1817 Third Avenue North,
Birmingham, AL 35203

Unfavorite 16 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 43 comments

davidfhale
davidfhale on November 10, 2011 at 5:16 pm

The Birmingham Rewound link has changed, this should work for now.

Lots of info and photos on the Alabama and other Bham theatres. Seems like the Melba was demolished.

http://www.birminghamrewound.com/features/bham_theaters.htm

wally 75
wally 75 on December 12, 2010 at 2:58 am

I was watching GAC 12/11/10…The Gaithers had a show that was taped in 2000….What a theatre!

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on August 23, 2010 at 12:40 am

Cecil Whitmire, a former organist at this theater and the man credited with leading the efforts to get it restored, passed away recently; story here: View link

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 11, 2009 at 12:59 am

No, thst’s the architectural firm, Graven & Mayger.

jjmaccrimmon
jjmaccrimmon on July 28, 2009 at 7:40 am

On July 18th, accompanied by two assistants, I had the opportunity extensively photograph the Alabama and Lyric Theater (across the street). The photos were taken to compare and contrast the condition of the two theaters and includes a number of wide angle, long exposure images that bring out the detail and vivid color on the inside of both grand old theaters. I’ll post links here to the site the images will be uploaded to. Over 400 photos were taken between the two sites, including backstage, below the stage, storage and mechanical areas, balconies and more. It’s taking a bit to sort out.

raysson
raysson on June 10, 2009 at 2:51 pm

Wasn’t this theatre part of the Civil Rights Movement since the Alabama at the time was segregated at the time Birmingham was catching hell during the 1950’s and early 1960’s.

GeorgeTobor
GeorgeTobor on June 10, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Indeed I too enjoy viewing these marvelous photographs. Your contributions are very much appreciated Lost Memory. Do not be discouraged by the verbal assault of one disgruntled person. When an individual resorts to name calling that person has already admitted defeat.

Yes ERD, the Alabama Theatre is a beautiful theatre. If you have the opportunity to attend the Alabama Theatre please do so. You will not be disappointed.
George

ERD
ERD on June 10, 2009 at 11:56 am

What a stunning theatre! I am so glad it was restored and will be seen by many generations to come.

ERD
ERD on June 10, 2009 at 11:54 am

Lost Memory, I really appreciate all the wonderful photos you post. Thank you!

jjmaccrimmon
jjmaccrimmon on May 19, 2009 at 10:01 am

Open House FREE!

Start Date: 6/7/2009 2:00:00 PM
Details
Tours will include the new Hill Arts Center Banquet Hall, the new Hill Center Meeting Room still under construction and tours of the Alabama and Lyric Theatres. Walk on the Lyric stage and walk back in history where the greats of Vaudeville walked.
You will hear music from the Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ all afternoon played by members of the theatre organ staff. Our organ crew chief Larry Donaldson will be on hand to answer questions and let you peek into the secret organ chambers to see how it all works. Our Technical Director Jeff Kizziah will be in the projection booth to let you see how the picture gets on the screen. Volunteers will be stationed throughout the theatre to answer questions.

Refreshments will be in the Alabama Theatre and Hill Center. Holly Burrow of the Hill Center will be available to answer questions and provide literature about the new center.

** From the Alabama Theatre Calendar (5/19/09)

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 20, 2009 at 11:53 am

The best views of the Alabama are at its official website, which includes this one of the auditorium:
View link

Patsy
Patsy on March 1, 2009 at 7:35 pm

The Melba is not listed on CT, but it is listed on Cinema Tour with no information other than it is supposedly “closed” so hopefully it hasn’t been demolished.

Patsy
Patsy on March 1, 2009 at 6:44 pm

Can anyone tell me whether the Melba Theatre in Birmingham still exists today as I have read that it is “closed” on Cinema Tour and elsewhere that it was demolished? It premiered the movie, To Kill A Mockingbird with Scout (Mary Badlam) and Jem (Philip Alford) as they were both Birmingham residents at the time the movie was filmed in Los Angeles CA.

BamaFnNTn
BamaFnNTn on September 23, 2008 at 11:57 am

I moved from Birmingham in 2007. I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s going to the Alabama, Empire, Melba and Ritz. I saw many animated Disney movies at the Alabama. And I saw the original DR. DOOLITTLE there. Sitting near the front, the giant pink snail nearly blinded me with the brightness. I also saw the first HERBIE THE LOVE BUG movie there as a kid and they had the HERBIE CAR OUTSIDE when we came out. The last first run I saw there was the 70’s remake of King Kong…. what a waste of grand theater usage. When I was in High School in early 1980’s it was the site for the Cult Classic Rocky Horror Picture Show… every weekend it seemed.

My mother was a product of the Depression and WWII. She went to the Mickey Mouse Club at the Alabama every Saturday, and she has told me that the high back balcony of the Alabama was used by the Black community before desegregation.
Now living near Knoxville, the Tennessee (last surviving sister of the Alabama is still functional in much the same way as the Alabama is today) is used for classic festivals, live entertainment, etc.

The Lyric is just a legend to me. It was gone before I was born.

By the 1970’s the other downtown theaters were basicly B run theaters… showing Chinese KungFu movies, Blacksploitation films, etc; along with occasional classic re- releases. There were the African American theaters like the Carver… that are still used as African American Cultural Centers

Can anybody tell me about other theaters in Birmingham… I know about the Homewood.. (Homewood Cycle and Hobby through my lifetime; but there were also theaters on Southside, East Lake and West End at one time. I think the Southside theater was the Jupiter. It was still operational in 1990s as a XXX venue but I think it too is gone. And I think the East Lake theater is still also operational as a XXX venue. But what about West End? I think I remember a defunct theater near Princeton Hospital. There were other neighborhood theaters scattered around town I am sure. Ensley and Hueytown are noted in this website.

There was an ABC theater in Roebuck Shopping Center. It was also originally a widescreen theater. It also showed alot of First run Disney movies. It was converted to a church in the 1980’s. I am not sure what is in the site now. Several twin and quad theaters came and went throughout the city between 1970 and 2000…not worth noting too much… they were pretty cookie cutter.

And the Eastwood Mall Theater… built in the mid 1960’s was originally a cinemascope venue and had super plush rocking chair seats. It converted to a twin (think proto-multiplex) somewhere around 1980. The last fullscreen show I saw there was Raiders of the Lost Ark. It closed a few years ago and was demolished along with Eastwood Mall and replaced with a Walmart in 2006 or 07. The Eastwood was not particularly elegant in any form or fashion, but it was unique in that it was one of the first IN-mall theaters in the country, and it was NOT A twin or multiplex. A similar theater was built in Jackson, Tennessee at the Old Hickory Mall a few years later.

willsanders
willsanders on September 16, 2008 at 10:23 pm

I moved away from home about 4 years ago and have missed the Alabama Theatre ever since. I am also I movie theatre junkie and a horror film buff as well. I decided to get a tattoo to honor my home, my home’s theatre and my favorite horror film of all time Night Of The Living Dead. When I did a promotion with Weinstein Co for Diary of the Dead this Feb. I finally showed George Romero the tattoo, he just humbly shook his head and smiled. He and Bill Hinzman from NOTLD said that they had been to the theater with a film in one of the many great film festivals Birmingham has. Here’s to the Alabama. Here is a picture of the tattoo. View link

View link

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on February 16, 2007 at 6:42 pm

Those are obviously pre-restoration photos. The place looks like it was a time capsule, with the exception of some dirt on the walls.

Quite a photo collection. Thank you for sharing.

Backseater
Backseater on October 9, 2006 at 3:28 pm

The following web site that I just discovered:

View link

is a real treasure-trove of Birmingham lore. A 3-part section covers the B'ham theater scene for almost the entire 20th century, with information on the transition from “legitimate” theater to vaudeville to silent movies to talkies to the inevitable decline and fall.

Many of the theaters changed names and identities through this period. For example: the Strand on 2nd Ave. N., built about 1914 and one of the first dedicated silent-film theaters in town, was right next to the Capitol which had previously been named the Alcazar. In the late 1940s the Capitol renamed itself the Newmar, then later took over the Strand and took the name with it. That’s why I remember it as the Newmar in the 1950s. Then in the early 1960s it was renamed back to the Strand—perhaps the old signage was still there under the plaster? Also, the Melba was on 2nd Ave. N. right next to the Comer (later City Federal) building; and the Empire was on 3rd Ave. N. It opened in 1927 as a silent film house, but they put in dressing rooms just in case these new-fangled “movies” didn’t catch on…. (See my previous post above.)

The site has excellent historical notes on the Alabama, Lyric, Ritz, Melba, Empire, and Temple theaters, including period photographs and statistics. By all means check it out if you are into old Birmingham theaters.

And thanks very much to Lost Memory for the link immediately above. It lead to some photos of the interior of the old Lyric, which I hadn’t seen in nearly 50 years. They are planning to restore it at a cost of $11 mill, and I’m glad—but they’ve got their work cut out for them.

Best wishes.

jmgargis
jmgargis on June 30, 2006 at 11:36 am

I remember seeing the local opening of “The Shining' at the Alabama. Great place to see such an atmospheric movie. I still have my ‘Helped Save the Alabama’ t-shirt from the campaign back in the mid 80s. Garrison Keeler’s Prairie Home Companion was there in March of ‘93. The reason I remember was because they were post-poned 2 weeks by the Birmingham Blizzard of '93, which surprised the Minnesotans.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on May 30, 2006 at 5:36 pm

Here is an article about the organist at the Alabama:
http://tinyurl.com/rlu62

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 11, 2006 at 7:26 pm

This link has 106 photos of the theater:
View link