Martin Theatre

626 Market Street,
Chattanooga, TN 37402

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sandrastephens on December 23, 2015 at 6:48 pm

My dad was a HVAC technician back when these theaters were open. His name was Bill Elrod also known as Larry Elrod. Anybody remember him? Many times they didn’t have the money to pay him and instead paid him in gold and diamond jewelry and once and Thompson Sub machine gun…lol… My father said that some were owned by the “mob”. I don’t know if there is any truth to that its just what I was told by him.

Shake_me on August 8, 2013 at 7:17 am

I lived in Chattanooga in the 50,s and worked at the Capital Theater as an usher I now live in Somerset Ky and we have a Twin Drive-in and its still going strong it shows all first runs a long with our walk in theaters.Back then their were Theaters all up and down Market Street most opened before noon and ran till 11pm and the side walks were so packed with people you could hardly move.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on July 18, 2011 at 7:38 am

KenRoe et al, I’ve heard a rumor that the II/8 Wurlitzer from this theatre survived in Chattanooga in a person’s home into the 1990’s. Any confirmation or knowledge on this topic?

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 29, 2010 at 2:17 pm

most of those guys will be glad to let you video tape. I came across one prick in Beauford,S.C. at the Hwy 21 Drive-in.Today he is gone,him and his crabby old wife, and new owners have it they gave me an extensive interview,great new owners. Hwy 21 is on CT.

bvick777 on July 29, 2010 at 11:19 am

Yes I think that is the name of it. Ill be driving downtown maybe today or tomorrow so Ill check it out and see for sure.

bvick777 on July 28, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Well so much for that then. Its sad to know its gone like so many others have gone, to be replaced by grocery stores and walmarts. There is an old theatre here in downtown Crown Point that looks like it was built in the 30`s, I have plans on going there one day hopefully and talking to the projectionist and seeing if he will let me video him starting up a movie. If I do I will post a message on here and a link to youtube so everyone can see it. This is a walk in, not a drive in.

bvick777 on July 26, 2010 at 8:57 pm

There are no more drive-ins left in Chattanooga. The only one left in the area that I know of is in Dunlap, across Signal Mountain. Last time I was there they were doing a pretty decent job of keeping the old memories alive and they got a pretty good business with regulars coming from all around. They still had the hot dogs and hamburgers, but no pizza dang But that was over 5 years since I have been there, and I have been in Indiana since then, so it may well be gone too.

CSWalczak on July 26, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Only one that I know of: the 1921 Rapp & Rapp Tivoli: /theaters/944/

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 26, 2010 at 7:47 pm

Did Chattanooga save any of the downtown Theatres.That 1978 marquee reminds me of so many black action films we played that decade in downtown theatres across the Nation.

bvick777 on March 11, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Hi all, my dad worked with Martin Theaters for a good part of his life as did my grandfather. Their names are Bill Vick Sr. and Leo Vick. Any one know them. My dad worked in his later years at Broad St. Drive-In, 23rd St. Drive-In, Marbro Drive-In and Red Bank Drive-In. Red Bank was only a short time. I helped him out a lot on the weekends changing out ripped off speakers at Broad. St and 23rd st. Drive-In. I sure miss those days. If any one out there remembers my dad or my grandfather, please email me at I am living in Crown Point, Indiana now, where John Dillinger broke out of the Crown Point jail with a gun carved out of soap.

blanks on June 27, 2007 at 2:48 pm

In the late 40’s, early 50’s, the State Theater was the home of the Roy Rogers Riders Club and the Mickey Mouse Club. Miss Tina (or Teena?) was the host and it was sponsored by Lovemans, who had the exclusive franchise for the Roy Rogers Corral (4th floor). This was the clothing line, capguns, holsters, bed spreads, curtins, etc. All were the “official” Roy Rogers signature line of stuff.
The State had a contest for “Cutest Cowboy in Chattanooga” in the early 50’s and the winner got to meet Roy and have his photo made on Trigger. This was won by my best friend, Richard Hindman. The night Roy came to Memorial Auditorium, we all went and I have copies of the photos made that night. Great memories. Anyone know Miss Tina’s real and full name?

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on April 15, 2007 at 7:27 am

The Wurlitzer factory records show that the showroom organ from the Cincinnati Wurlitzer store was sold to the State Theatre, Chattanooga, Tennessee in August 1928. It was a style 190, Opus 1751 two manuals, eight ranks.

WillardWood on November 8, 2006 at 11:01 am

RICHARD1938, you have brought back so many good memories. I never went to the Cameo Theater, but I did see one or two movies at the Capital Theater. I was graduated from City High School in 1960. . My father worked parttime at the Brainerd Theater in the fifties at night mostly. My grand mother was a manager at the Park Theater in the mid fifties. I believe the Park was in Highland Park on McCallie Ave. Jim, I do not remember the manager at the State/Martin, but wasnt the State part of the Independent Theaters? Willard.

jimgreenwalt on August 10, 2006 at 9:02 am

Richard & Willard, just to add to your knowledge of the State/Martin, Ben Landress was the manager for years in the 1950s and 1960s. Henry, didn’t I attend McCallie with you?

RICHARD1938 on August 9, 2006 at 5:18 pm

willard,you are correct. the dixie was about a block away from the rogers theater, which was across on the other side of market street. do you remember the old cameo theater? it was about around 5th or 6th street on market. i never went in it. now that i have moved back to tennessee, (oliver springs) i am gonna have to go to downtown chattanooga and check the place out. i graduated kirkman vocational h/s in 1957. you take care. thanks for answering me again. richard harris

WillardWood on August 4, 2006 at 4:14 am

Richard1938, yes there was the Mickey Mouse Club with Teena, but I saw the club at the Brainerd Theater before the Saturday kiddie matinee movies in the 1950’s. There was a Dixie Theater near the old Patton Hotel. I never went there, but it seemed as if it showed B westerns usually as a double feature. I also believe it had an entrance at each end of the theater.

RICHARD1938 on April 23, 2006 at 9:44 am


teecee on April 22, 2005 at 12:19 pm

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updated links for the 1955 photos

teecee on April 22, 2005 at 12:10 pm

I forgot to include the caption for the above photo:
“located at 628 Market Street, Chattanooga, Tennessee from 1961-1979. Formerly the State Theater. Torn down in 1979 and the lot was used for parking for the Courts Building.” From this information, I would agree that it wasn’t used for retail and should be classified as demolished.

“State” marquee is slightly visible in these 1955 photos:
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WillardWood on April 6, 2005 at 7:09 am

I agree with Mr. Aldridge that the State Theater was operating at least back to the early fifties on Market Street. I can remember riding the bus downtown to see “The Bridge Over the River Kwai” in 1957 at the State Theater.

HenryAldridge on February 24, 2005 at 1:17 pm

This is not correct. The Martin Theater was once called the State Theater and had been a movie house for decades. I saw films there in the l940’s and l950’s. I think that it had been a vaudeville theater at one time.