Melba Theatre

115 W. Main Street,
Batesville, AR 72501

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MELBA Theatre; Batesville, Arkansas, April 1958.

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Melba Theatre opened in 1940, a Streamline Moderne style movie house on Batesville’s Main Street. The theatre features a large vertical sign flush to the facade and a triangular marquee, both spelling out the theater’s name in neon-lit letters.

Though the Melba Theatre closed in the early-1990s, it was renovated and reopened in 2000 and today functions both as a concert venue and movies on weekends. It has also been a host theater for the Ozark Foothills Film Festival.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

teecee
teecee on March 14, 2005 at 12:38 pm

Small color photo on this link (don’t try to expand without a password:
View link

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on March 14, 2005 at 1:03 pm

The Film Daily Yearbook, 1950 gives a seating capacity of 779.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on May 27, 2006 at 7:51 am

Here is an interesting article about the renovation of the Melba:
http://tinyurl.com/mnc2r

krorie
krorie on October 1, 2006 at 6:26 pm

In the early 1950’s, I saw Tex Ritter and his band live on stage at the Melba. He sang songs he had made famous. The one most requested by the youngsters was “Rye Whiskey.” Before the show was over, he led his horse, White Flash, upon stage and had him do tricks, such as counting to ten and shaking his head yes or no to questions Tex asked him. Around 1958, a live magic show was held on stage at the Melba with audience participation. In 1956, the local radio station, KBTA, staged a talent show on the Melba stage every Saturday just before the matinee. The most popular attraction was always the owl show at midnight on Saturday nights which gave teens a good excuse to stay out late.

krorie
krorie on November 12, 2006 at 10:00 am

As I remember, the first CinemaScope film, “The Robe,” starring Richard Burton, played at the Landers, not the Melba, in 1953.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 25, 2010 at 5:44 pm

There was a photo of the Melba in Boxoffice, May 1958:
http://tinyurl.com/yemldz2

Jay1971
Jay1971 on June 5, 2012 at 1:22 pm

I remember seeing Disney’s The Rescuers there and Popeye as a kid in the late 70’s. It was pretty cool to take my kids there to see Schreck 2 around 2004

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