Melba Theatre

1016 Leopard Street,
Corpus Christi, TX 78401

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Robb & Rowley-United Inc., Rowley United Theatres Inc.

Firms: Hardy & Curran

Styles: Spanish Colonial

Nearby Theaters

Melba Theater (2012)

The Melba Theatre was opened in 1927. At some point of time in was operated by Robb & Rowley-United Inc. By 1957 it was operated by Rowley United Theatres Inc. It was demolished in summer of 2014.

Contributed by Dave Bonan

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

kencmcintyre on July 11, 2007 at 12:55 pm

Hard to figure how a municipality could be called “Body of Christ”. Doesn’t that seem like a church/state separation issue?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 3, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Numerous web sites say that the Melba Theatre was built in the 1930s, but an article by Kenneth L. Anthony says that it was built by Edward and Simon Grossman in 1927. I don’t have access to the article, but it is on one of those web sites that allows access to the holders of cards from some public and institutional libraries, so perhaps someone else can read it. Here is the link.

The Melba was already looking a bit dowdy when this photo was taken in August, 1937.

The Melba was directly across the street from another theater, the Grande, built by Bruce Collins in 1928, and by the 1930s both houses were being operated by the Robb & Rowley chain. Neither was first run. The Grande eventually got an Art Moderne facade, while the Melba retained its Spanish Colonial front throughout its history.

The title of Anthony’s article, Moving Pictures and Migrant Pickers: The Melba Theatre and Spanish Language Movies in Corpus Christi, Texas, 1927-1966 suggests that the Melba operated longer than the Grande, which was converted into retail space for a furniture store in 1961. Judging from satellite view, the Melba is in rough shape, as its roof looks very sketchy. The Grande’s roof looks to be in better shape, as its building was used for retail space until fairly recently.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 3, 2013 at 7:28 pm

The most likely opening date of the Melba Theatre is November 31, 1927, as the following day the Corpus Christi Times published an article about the event. I can’t find the article itself on the Internet, but it was cited in a paper about the proposed Leopard Street Historic District.

falseName on August 2, 2014 at 6:52 am

I was homeless in Corpus Christi Tx around 2004-2005. There was a entrance in the back covered with sheet metal. This building may have saved my life. (it got really cold a few times) The floor in the theater room is almost non existent, had to lay boards down to cross the room. there are a few offices and a projection room upstairs, the roof in one room caved in years ago. It was an awesome place for me and my friends to sleep, away from the crackheads that frequent the shelters.

trailerjoh on October 7, 2014 at 4:01 pm

The building was torn down and the lot cleared this summer. It’s all gone including the building across the street from it.

photos of the building by the local paper before destruction in the 2nd week of Aug 2014.

rivest266 on November 27, 2020 at 2:18 pm

Opened on October 3rd, 1927 as Melba and closed in 1976. Reopened as the Queen Adult Cinema on January 8th, 1971, and closed in 1973. Reopened as Sun on November 11th, 1975, and closed in the early 1980s. Grand opening ads posted.

dallasmovietheaters on December 26, 2022 at 10:17 am

The Melba Theatre opened on September 30, 1927 with Ramon Navarro in “The Road to Romance.” The $75,000 venue opened for Grossman Brothers with the adjoining Melba Shoppe Confectionery as its de facto concession stand. The Melba replaced the Ideal Theatre / Leopard Street Theatre (see ad in photos). On the books as the New Leopard Theatre, the project was renamed as the Melba. It was part of a five-building project that included a Nueces Drug Store and a Morris Variety dime to dollar Store. The architect of the theater and adjoining buildings was Hardy and Curran.

Corpus Christi Theatres Circuit took on the venue along with the Ritz, Amusu, Harlem, Centre, Ayers, Grande and Port. On February 4, 1954, the Melba began a policy of Spanish language films. The Melba closed at the end of a leasing period on February 27, 1966 with “The Caddy” and “You’re Never Too Young.” On December 16, 1970, the venue had its grand reopening as the Queen Cinne Arts, an adult theater. It reopened as the Sun Adult Theatre in 1975k and closed. It then became a mission and was razed in 2014.

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