Suzore Theatre #1

869 Jackson Avenue,
Memphis, TN 38107

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Suzore Theatre

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Suzore #1 on Jackson Ave. in the 80s

The Suzore Theatre was opened by Fred Suzore in 1923. There are stories that an airdome was operated by Suzore previous to this, perhaps even on this lot. It still had the steel shutters on its side windows from the early days when those shutters and large fans were its only climate control.

It became the Suzore Theatre #1 after the former Lincoln Theatre on Main Street became the Suzore Theatre #2. Advertisements for these theatres are not consistent as to be exact names but the vertical signs both read ‘Suzore’s with the #1 having a small signboard at the bottom. The theatre was also involved in litigation after a shooting incident involving Fred Suzore and an alleged poacher on his farm property in 1952.

The building was demolished after 1983, having been closed since the late-1960’s or early-1970’s. The tile floor at the entry reads ‘Suzore Theatre’, and still remains in 2013, with the property still in the Suzore family.

Contributed by Jack Coursey, Vastor

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

JackCoursey on November 22, 2006 at 5:47 pm

Here is an archive photo of the theatre.

spectrum on October 18, 2007 at 8:59 pm

According to the link above, the Suzore was built in 1930 and razed in 1981.

vastor on July 17, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Jack Coursey’s photo is the #2 on N Main. Chuck’s photo is the one on Jackson, the #1. You may barely be able to see the shape of the floor and boxoffice. The tile floor is on Jackson, “in situ” as it were.

vastor on July 26, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Found an old photo of the Suzore #1 on Jackson. I actually shouted at Fred Suzore in his apartment from down on the sidewalk.

vastor on August 4, 2012 at 7:58 pm

I have been in contact with American Classic Images about use of their photos in a new project of mine. I purchased the photo of the Suzore #1 to post. The links to their site are very appropriate and welcome and I have been allowed to leave this posting with their credit.

vastor on January 12, 2013 at 8:26 pm

I finally have seen, but could not copy, a beautiful, clear photo of the Lincoln Theatre at 297 N. Main. It became the Suzore #2. It was opened in 1927, the same year the Suzore on Jackson opened. It is curious. I have now seen newspaper ads reading “Suzore Theatres” “Suzore’s Theatres” and “Suzore’s #1 and #2.” Both signs must have been repainted at the same time to read “Suzore’s” but the floor tile of the Jackson theatre reads “Suzore Theatre” to this day. Of course, Fred Suzore was somewhat eccentric. Also the vertical on Jackson appears to have a marquee.

Larryinrsm on May 30, 2015 at 10:19 pm

Does anyone know/remember which Suzore Theater was next door to a fire station? My grandfather was the projectionist there. I used to ride with him to go pick up the big film canisters and spent many hours with him in the projection booth while the movies were running.

Mr. Suzore used to give me free popcorn and soda to have while watching the movie. I only got to go to the matinees because I was so young and couldn’t stay up for the night time showings. After the movies were over I would go through the empty theater looking for coins people had dropped in the dark and rolled towards the screen because of the sloped floor. I did OK for a 7-yr old. While I was waiting for my grandfather to finish shutting down for the day I would go next door to the fire station and visit the firemen.

Years later (1957?) I would walk with my two cousins to the movies. I got $.50 for an allowance which got me in the movies, bought my popcorn, a candy bar, and a soda. And I got $.10 change.

I remember the Suzore’s being really nice to me. Great memories!

simplyfabulous on July 25, 2017 at 2:40 pm

I just purchased the Lot where the Suzore theater was. Would love comments, photos etc. This is a landmark with rich history.
Even has some Civil Right’s History. Amazing that back in the day of segregation a Black man sued a white man for damages.
Would like to know more about the Rutherford family as well.

Iceberg on October 10, 2017 at 12:12 pm

I wonder when the Suzores #1 actually closed. I think it continued to operate for a while without any ads in the newspaper. I’m pretty sure it was still in operation in 1960, but I don’t know how much longer beyond that. However, after possibly sitting empty for many years, it was reopened as a movie theater for a short while around 1976 or 1977. It was being called Jackson Street Theater or some such. I think it may have only operated a few months in that endeavor.

Iceberg on May 18, 2018 at 9:17 pm

I looked at a City Directory from 1978 and indeed saw the Jackson Street Theater at the Suzore address. I think it was open under this name in part of 1977 and perhaps it lasted into 1978. I may still have a handbill/flyer advertising the theater; I don’t think there were any newspaper ads. So, the Suzore #1 was a movie theater again in the 70’s for a short while.
As I mentioned above, the theater had closed in 1960 or maybe a year or so later. (Newspaper ads had stopped sometime in 1958, but the theater had still operated at least into 1960 to my recollection). I guess the place was empty all those years until the short-lived 1977 reopening.

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