Imperial Theatre

26 E. Forsyth Street,
Jacksonville, FL 32202

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

The Imperial Theater in Jacksonville, FL Circa 1958

Viewing: Photo | Street View

An early theatre designed by Jacksonville architect Roy A. Benjamin, the Imperial Theatre was located on Jacksonville’s “Great White Way”, Forsyth Street (along with the Florida Theatre and Palace Theatre, both designed by Benjamin as well).

With a fairly elegant Neo-Georgian style facade, the interior of the Imperial Theatre was not quite as ornate as the exterior. The Imperial Theatre had nearly 1,000 seats. By 1941 the Imperial Theatre was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary E.J. Sparks. The Imperial Theatre closed in the mid-1950’s and was razed in 1956, along with the nearby Palace Theatre, and today a parking garage is located on the site of both theatres.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 3, 2004 at 10:32 am

The seating capacity of the Imperial Theatre was 997 (651 Orchestra & 346 Balcony).

atlmike on September 19, 2005 at 4:04 pm

The information above that the Imperial closed and was torn down in the 1950’s is incorrect. It was still going strong during the ‘60’s as a 2nd run movie house. When I was in junior high school I often went downtown with my best friend to this theatre for horror movie double bills. The Empress theatre was right next door, a smaller theatre with similar bills. I remember seeing many of the Roger Cormon Edgar Allen Poe movies at the Imperial (Fall of the House of Usher, etc). It was not a movie palace like the Florida Theatre a couple of blocks away, but it still had vintage theatre charm from the pre-mall, pre-multi-plex days. Both the Imperial and Empress were still operating when I went away to college in the fall of 1969 and they continued to show movies for at least four or five years after that. As I moved to another part of the state after graduating, I lost track of such things, so I can’t say just when they shut down and were razed.

StanleyNorton on July 16, 2007 at 11:30 am

There was always a double feature. Alot of Cowboys (Gene Autry, Roy Rogers). It was owned by the Florida State Theatres (which used to be Publix / Paramount) which also owned theFLORIDA,PALACE,ARCADE,IMPERIAL,CAPITOL, BRENTWOOD,EMPRESS and I think the FAIRFAX, also the SAN MARCO and the EDGEWOOD — all In Jacksonville

TLSLOEWS on March 17, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Nice vintage photos.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on October 20, 2010 at 8:19 am

From the late 1930s a postcard view of Forsyth Street along with the Imperial and Palace Theatres in Jacksonville.

Retrorama on August 8, 2012 at 8:47 am

More photos of The Imperial are available on the Facebook page Pop Retrorama. You can also read about some Florida theaters and drive-ins on where we celebrate all things related to vintage pop culture.

Patsy on March 9, 2015 at 10:26 am

Two theatres for one parking garage is not a good trade off!

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater