Saenger Biloxi Theatre

416 Reynoir Street,
Biloxi, MS 39530

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Saenger Biloxi Theatre

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The Saenger Biloxi Theatre opened on January 15 1929 and was touted as the Pearl of the Gulf South. The $200,000 theater was owned by Julian and A.D. Saenger of New Orleans and was designed by Roy A. Benjamin and built by Arthur Perry. The Saenger Biloxi Theatre was just one of more than sixty theaters the brothers owned in America, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.

With seating for 1,245 people, the theater’s acoustics were built so that, as the local paper reported, even a whisper on stage could be heard by all. The theater also featured 3 levels of dressing rooms, which were accessed by the use of a spiral staircase, and a backstage electric control panel that could control every light in the theater.

The first movie to be shown in the Saenger was “Interference”, produced by Paramount and billed as a 100% all-talking picture and stared Clive Brooks, Evelyn Bront, William Powell, and Doris Kenyon. This was a first for Biloxi and during its early years, the Biloxi Saenger Theatre hosted talkies, travelling shows, and vaudeville performances. Eventually, though, moving pictures took over entirely and the fine Wurlitzer organ was replaced by a piano.

Over the next four decades, the theater changed hands several times and last operated as a movie house under the ABC Theaters banner. In 1974, a fire closed the theater and, in 1975, ABC deeded the theater to the city of Biloxi. The brick and steel structure remained sound and quite ready for renovation and the first phase of which was begun in that same year. The year 1981 saw the addition of a green room, and, in 1983, the Biloxi Saenger Theatre was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In the late-1990’s, the colorful electric sign was replaced with a duplicate of the original and in 2001 the lobby was restored. Further restoration was completed in 2010.

Contributed by Julian Brunt

Recent comments (view all 22 comments)

Patsy
Patsy on December 8, 2006 at 6:43 pm

Great before and after interior photos!

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 4, 2007 at 10:24 pm

A Wurlitzer theater organ opus 1765 style “E” was installed in the Saenger Theater on 1/8/1929.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 29, 2007 at 10:18 am

Here is a recent photo of the Saenger Biloxi.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on January 12, 2008 at 9:14 am

Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

Saenger Theater (added 1984 – Building – #84002200)
416 Reynoir St., Biloxi

Historic Significance: Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder, or engineer: Perry,A. H.,Co., Benjamin,Roy
Architectural Style: Classical Revival
Area of Significance: Architecture
Period of Significance: 1925-1949
Owner: Local Gov't
Historic Function: Recreation And Culture
Historic Sub-function: Theater
Current Function: Recreation And Culture
Current Sub-function: Theater

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on January 12, 2008 at 4:19 pm

Another photo of the Saenger Biloxi can be seen on this website.

DonLewis
DonLewis on July 18, 2008 at 10:53 pm

A 1986 view of the Saenger Theater in Biloxi here, here and here. Enlarged views here, here and here.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on May 1, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Here are two more 1982 photos:

Photo1

Photo2

Eltejon1
Eltejon1 on May 19, 2010 at 11:24 pm

December 25, 1961——as a young airman—-stationed at Keesler AFB at Biloxi and away from home at Christmas for the first time—on a rainy Sunday—-just before Christmas—-I went to the Saenger and saw Pocketfull of Miracles——Glen Ford and Bette Davis—-it remains one of my favorite films—flickerfan

spectrum
spectrum on November 27, 2010 at 12:08 pm

According to their website- they have finished restoring the auditorium and had their grand reopening in November 2010!

rivest266
rivest266 on February 2, 2013 at 6:33 pm

Grand opening ad of 14 pages uploaded at http://sdrv.ms/UfkHbJ

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