AIRWAY 2366 Lamar Av

The Airway opened 1942  .   Closed  1980s  .  Seats 1100  .  Demolished after 1983   

Kemmons Wilson built the Airway Theater in 1941:  Kemmons Wilson made his Airway Theater a family operation, with wife Dorothy behind the ticket window, and his mother, Doll at the candy counter.  Kemmons took the tickets himself.  Click here to read the full story in his own words.

The Airway was one of the larger neighborhood theaters. It had a spacious auditorium with a balcony.  In size it would compare favorably to the Rosemary but with less ornate decoration. In the 60s it was already a porn house, showing mostly Euro-trash.


The balcony was "reserved for couples only."   The Airway was still in operation during the early 1980's.  It has since been demolished.  Controversy exits over the name:  Is it Airways or Airway?  The Kemmons Wilson family answer is "Airway".


Click on small photos for an enlargement


Kemmons Crew at Airway


Lobby 1949 - Dottie and Doll

Airway Investment 1948


Airway 1955 1947 Ad 1953 Airway ad Airways Adult 1967

Airways Adult 1972

             Airway location...        
Vincent Astor:  "Kemmons Wilson, who later founded Holiday Innís got his start selling popcorn from a rented popcorn machine in the lobby of The Airways".  2011  (See response from the Kemmons Wilson Family below)

Kemmons Wilson Family:   "...the quote from Vincent incorrect.  The correct information is found on page 15 of  Kemmons'  book.  When Kemmons was selling popcorn outside the MEMPHIAN THEATER in 1930, the Airway(s) Theater had not been built".  7/13/2012  (Webmaster's Note:  The correct information does appear on the Memphian Theater page)

Kemmons Wilson Family:   "...discussed the issue of Airways/Airway Theater.  We also thought the name was Airways because it was at the corner of Airways Blvd and Lamar.  However, after zooming in on the photo...I see the signage above the marque reads "AIRWAY" and the emblem below the signage is a large 'A' with wings behind it, as in airmen's wings.  Kemmons was an airman during WWII.  However, he opened the Airway(s) shortly after his marriage in December 1941 and, although he was a pilot (of sorts) at that time, he did not really earn his wings until later.  Things that make you go hmmmmmm!  (I just went back to Spence with this information and he agrees that it was probably originally The Airway Theater)".  7/13/2012



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