Memphis Movie Theaters

... and the Memphis LegitimateTheatres



From the earliest days of silent movies, Memphis was considered a major "movie town".  As the city grew, plush movie palaces opened downtown and every neighborhood seemed to have its own theater.  In the 40s and 50s, it was not unusual for Hollywood to "try out" a big movie here, in spite of the city's notorious movie censor, Lloyd T. Binford.  As Memphis began spreading out, multiplexes soon opened in every shopping mall.  This, along with the increasing popularity of television, started the decline of the downtown and the neighborhood theaters.  Most of these original movie theaters eventually closed and regrettably, were demolished.  Today, all of the major theaters in downtown have been demolished except the Malco - whose name has been changed back to the Orpheum. 

 

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This page was originally begun as a tribute to the movie theaters in Memphis that I loved as a youth in the 1940's and 50's.  The theaters are all gone now and I wanted a record of them.  I quickly learned that other folks are also very passionate about their movie theaters and this page has grown... and grown, and is still growing.  Although the emphasis  is on  Movie Theaters, the page is now a comprehensive list of all Memphis theaters back to the Nickelodeons and beyond.  I make no claim about the accuracy of any information below, but I continue to verify as much as possible.  I have not included Drive-ins and Multiplexes, because my family had no car and there were no Multiplexes during my youth.  If anyone has more information, photos, or corrections, please contact me so this page can continue to be updated   Gene Gill

 
 

         
 

 Click on any theatre name below  and that page will open with photos and information about that theatre.  All movie theatres and legitimate theatres listed in the Memphis Directories from 1859 to 1958 are alphabetized below.  Many Theatres changed names throughout their lifetime  and all known names are also listed.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The individual theatre pages are frequently updated with new photos and new information
 
 
FIRST THEATRES . BROOM'S OPERA . WHITE'S OPERA . MYER'S OPERA . BELLA UNION.   39 Jefferson
 
   
FIRST THEATRES MEMPHIS . NATIONAL . VARIETIES . OLYMPIC 1 . PEOPLE'S . MAY'S BIJOU
GENTRY'S . NEW WASHINGTON . OLYMPIC 2   18 Washington
 
ACE     997 Mississippi Blvd
 
AIRDOME     2416 Summer Av
 
AIRWAY(S)     2366 Lamar Av
 
ALAMO     174 S. Main
 
AMERICAN     72-76 Cooper Av
 
AMUSE U     253 N. Main
 
AUDITORIUM   .   BIJOU     Main Street .  SE corner of Linden
 
ASSEMBLY HALL     263 Main
 
AVON  CHELSEA  .  ROXY      619 Chelsea Av
 

BEAUTY COLONIAL . RICHARD    98 N. Main
 

BIJOU   . AUDITORIUM     Main - SE corner of Linden
 
BIJOU #2  . MAJESTIC #2 . Empire #2    146 S. Main 
 
BLUE RUIN - Memphis' FIRST Theatre      Jackson and Front
 
BRISTOL      3415 Summer Av
 
BROAD STREET    2549 Broad
 
CAMEO . JOY     278 E. McLemore
 
CAPITOL     926 E. McLemore Av
 
CARROLTON     143 N. Main
 
CASINO     109-117 Adams Av
 
CHELSEA AVON . ROXY    619 Chelsea Av
 
CHURCH'S AUDITORIUM     391 Beale Av
 
COLONIAL BEAUTY  . RICHARD      98 N. Main
 
COLUMBIA . DREAMLAND  . MAJESTIC #4  . ODEON      177 S. Main . 318 Beale
 
CRISP'S GAIETY  . MEMPHIS  . LEUBRIE'S . NEW MEMPHIS   Washington ... Jefferson
 
CROSSTOWN     400 N. Cleveland
 
DESOTO     868 Arkansas
 
DIXIE .  Wonderland ?    112 S. Main
 
DREAMLAND  . MAJESTIC #4 . ODEON . COLUMBIA    177 S. Main
 
EAST END PLAYHOUSE     East End Park on Madison
 
ECHO     Cooper-Trimble
 
EDEN     229 E. McLemore
 
ELECTRIC    2575 Carnes
 
ELLIS AUDITORIUM    Poplar and Main
Ellis Auditorium  has its own major comprehensive coverage on another page of this website.  Click here. 
 
EMPIRE #1  . MAJESTIC #3    80 N. Main
 
EMPIRE #2  . MAJESTIC #2 . BIJOU #2    146 S. Main
 
EMPRESS  . LAMAR    1656 Lamar
 
ESQUIRE     2472 Carnes Av
 
EUREKA     2826 Florida
 
FAIRYLAND THEATRE     Poplar Av
 
FLEXER     1705 Poplar Av 
 
FRONT STREET  . IDLELWILD     1819 Madison
 
GEM  .  HARLEM #1    258 N. Main 
 
GEORGIA     663 Mississippi Blvd
 
GOODWYN INSTITUTE     Madison and Third
 
GRAND     330-32 Beale
 
GRAND OPERA HOUSE  . GREENLAW OPERA HOUSE     2nd Street - Corner Union
 
GREENLAW OPERA HOUSE  . GRAND OPERA HOUSE     2nd Street - Corner Union
 
HARLEM  .  GEM      1248 Florida
 
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS     3404 Summer
 
HOLLYWOOD     2469 Chelsea
 
HOPKINS GRAND OPERA  . GRAND OPERA  . ORPHEUM (old)   Main - Beale 
 
HYDE PARK     1988 Chelsea
 
IDLE HOUR     269 N. Main
 
IDLEWILD  . FRONT STREET     1819 Madison
 
IMPERIAL  . LINCOLN . LIBERTY  . PASTIME   324 Beale Av
 
IMPERIAL DELUXE   624 S. Bellevue
 
JEFFERSON  . LYRIC . MAZDA   293-295 Madison  
 
JOY . CAMEO   278 E. McLemore
 
LAMAR   1716 Lamar  
 
LASCA   1314 Madison
 
LEUBRIE'S  . MEMPHIS  . NEW MEMPHIS  . CRISP'S GAIETY      82 Jefferson
 
LIBERTY  . IMPERIAL . PASTIME . LINCOLN     318  -  324 Beale St
 
LIBERTY #2      651 Polk
 
LINCOLN on Beale  . IMPERIAL . PASTIME . LIBERTY     318  -  324 Beale St
 
LINCOLN  on Main . SUZORE'S #2     279 Main St.
 
LINDEN CIRCLE      311 S. Somerville St.
 
LITTLE FARBAND     638 Alabama
 
LOEW'S PALACE     81 Union AV
 
LOEW'S STATE     152 S. Main        
 
LUCIANN     2432 Summer Av
 
LYCEUM   2nd and Jefferson   
 
LYRIC . JEFFERSON . MAZDA    293-295 Madison    
 
MADISON     1325 Madison
 
MADISON AIRDOME     Cleveland & Monroe
 
MAJESTICS  . EMPIRE . BIJOU . ODEON . DREAMLAND . COLUMBIA  

  49 S. Main  .  158 N. Main  .  146 S. Main  .  138 S. Main  .  177 S. Main

80 N. Main  .  135 S. Main  .  144 S. Main  .  147 S. Main  .  145 S. Main
 

MALCO  . ORPHEUM (2nd)   197 S. Main  
 
MAZDA   . JEFFERSON . LYRIC     293 Madison
 
MAZE     315 Beale Av
 
MEMPHIAN  . MALCO . PLAYHOUSE on the Square . CIRCUIT PLAYHOUSE.  51 S. Cooper
 
MEMPHIS . CRISP'S GAIETY . NEW MEMPHIS . LEUBRIES .  Washington . 80-86 Jefferson
 
MOZART AIRDOME     1128 Patton
 
NATATORIUM     8 Orleans Beale-Jessamine
 
NEW     2434 Perez
 
NEW DAISY     330-332 Beale Av
 
NEW GRAND  . METROPOLITAN  .  VENUS     336 Beale
 
NEWMAN     535 S. Highland
 
NEW MEMPHIS  . MEMPHIS  . LEUBRIE'S . CRISP'S GAIETY    Washington-Jefferson
 
NORMAL  . STUDIO     535 S. Highland
 
ODD FELLOWS HALL    NW Corner Main and Court Square
 
ODEON . DREAMLAND  . MAJESTIC #4  . COLUMBIA      177 S. Main . 318 Beale
 
OLD DAISY     327, 329, 331 Beale St
 
OPTIC      148 S. Main
 
ORPHEUM (2nd)   Malco  .  Orpheum  197 S. Main   
 
ORPHEUM (Old)   Grand Opera  .  Hopkins Grand Opera   197 S. Main   
 
PALACE on Beale     324 Beale St.
 
PALACE on Main  .  Plaza   135 N. Main St  
 
PANTAGES  . WARNERS    52 S. Main
 
PARAMOUNT     827 White Station Rd
 
PARK     3527 Park Av
 
PARKVIEW    2424 Summer Av
 
PASTIME  . IMPERIAL . LIBERTY . LINCOLN     318  -  324 Beale St
 
PEABODY     878 S. Cooper
 
PEKIN     298 S. Fourth
 
PLAZA     3402 Poplar Av
 
PLAZA #2     135 N. Main
 
PERSICA'S GARDEN  . NEW GARDEN     121-125 S. Second
 
POPLAR      737 Poplar Av
 
PRINCESS   LOEW'S PRINCESS  .  PARAMOUNT     169 S. Main
 
QUEEN      90 N. Main
 
REX      268 McLemore
 
RIALTO      983 Jackson
 
RICHARD COLONIAL . BEAUTY      98 N. Main
 
RITZ      1705 Poplar Av
 
RIVERSIDE AIRDOME      1274 Florida
 
ROSEMARY      1396 Jackson Av
 
ROSEWOOD      1905 S. Lauderdale
 
ROYAL #1       101 S. Main 1912
 
ROYAL #2     1320 Lauderdale
 
ROXY AVON . CHELSEA    619 Chelsea Av
 
RUBY  . NICKELODEON  .  STAR      129 N. Main
 
SAVOY      1268 Thomas
 
SCENIC     212 S. Main
 
SHAMROCK     1320 Lauderdale
 
STAR  . NICKELODEON  .  RUBY      129 N. Main
 
STRAND   MAJESTIC  .  LOEW'S STRAND    138 S. Main
 
STUDIO  . NORMAL     535 S. Highland
 
SUZORES #1     869 Jackson
 
SUZORES #2 . LINCOLN    279 N. Main
 
SYDNEY HALL     123 S. Fourth
 
THEATORIUM  . MAJESTIC #1      158 N. Main
 
TROCADERO    56-58 Hernando
 
VENUS  . METROPOLITAN  . NEW GRAND    336 Beale
 
WARNER  . PANTAGES    52 S. Main 
 
W. C. HANDY    2353 Park Av            
 
WILLIAMSON    342 Beale
 
YOUNG AIRDOME    Cooper-Young
 
 


 
  Early History of Theatres in Memphis ... Edited by Judge J. P. Young, 1912 ... Click Here
 
 
  Memphis THEATRE SHOWMEN ... The Early Theatre Impresarios and Moguls
 

 

 
 

Credits

 

The Historic-Memphis website does not intentionally post copyrighted photos and material without permission or credit.  On occasion a "non-credited" photo might possibly be posted because we were unable to find a name to give credit.  Because of the nature of our non-commercial, non-profit, educational website, we strongly believe that these photos would be considered "Fair Use.  We have certainly made no monetary gain, although those using this website for historic or Genealogy research have certainly profited.  If by chance, we have posted your copyrighted photo, please contact us, and we'll remove it immediately, or we'll add your credit if that's your choice.  In the past, we have found that many photographers volunteer to have their works included on these pages and we'll  also do that if you contact us with a photo that fits a particular page. 

 

The "Historic-Memphis" website would like to acknowledge and thank the following for their contributions which helped make this website possible:  Memphis Public Library, Memphis University Library, Memphis Law Library, Memphis Commercial Appeal, Memphis Press Scimitar, Shelby County Register of Deeds, Memphis City Schools, Memphis Business Men's Club, Memphis Chamber of Commerce, Memphis City Park Commission, Memphis Film Commission, Carnival Memphis, Memphis Historical Railroad Page, Memphis Heritage Inc, Beale Street Historic District, Cobblestone Historic District, Memphis Historic Districts, Vance Lauderdale Family Archives, Tennessee State Archives, Library of Congress, Kemmons Wilson Family, Richard S. Brashier, Lee Askew, George Whitworth, Woody Savage and many individuals whose assistance is acknowledged on the pages of their contributions.  Special thanks to Memphis Realtor, Joe Spake, for giving us carte blanche access to his outstanding collection of contemporary Memphis photos.

We do not have high definition  copies of the photos on these pages.  If anyone wishes to secure high definition photos,  you'll have to contact the photographer  or the collector.  (To avoid any possibility of contributing to SPAM, we do not maintain a file of email addresses for anyone who contacts us).