OLD DAISY  327, 329, 331 Beale St
 

Opened 1913  .     Seats 600  

The Daisy is a prime surviving example of nickelodeon architecture from the early cinema era. The tiny hall features a grand half dome entrance on Beale Street.  It's unusual in that the stage and screen are on the sidewalk end. Double doors on either side of the half-dome enter into small vestibules one on either side of the stage. Emerging from the vestibules, you have the audience looking at you!  There is a small balcony, vaguely horse-shoe shaped, supported from above with iron rods.  During the 20th century Beale Street served as the business and entertainment center for African-Americans from all over the Mid-South. Despite its tiny stage, the Daisy was a prime performing venue on the "Chitlin' Circuit" from the 1930's up into the 1960's.  In the 1930's the New Daisy Theatre was built directly across the street.  It too survives and is used as a concert venue.

 

In 1917 Sam Zerilla built the Daisy Theater, a year after he closed the Pastime Theater.  The Old Daisy's plan was "backwards".  It was built between two other buildings and the balcony fire escape was in the back alley, the only place it could be.  The photo, below, shows the back of the Old Daisy, with the "ghosts" of the balcony fire-escapes.    During the 1930s and 1940s, a popular feature was "Money Night", held every Wednesday with a pot that increased each week until someone won.      

 

Daisy C. 1970s

Ticket Office

 

Tile floor of Daisy

1954 Ad

 

The Daisy is frist listed in the Memphis Directories as the "NEW Daisy" at 151 Beale in 1913.  In 1914 it is listed as "DAISY #2" at 327 Beale and after 1915-18 it is the only DAISY listed - and the address is still 327 Beale. In 1919 the listing address changes to 329-331 Beale.  The listing continues through 1958 although sometimes the address  rotates from 329 to 331 Beale.  In the1980's the "Old Daisy" was extensively renovated and reopened as a Beale Street Blues Museum. Today it is in use as a banquet hall providing live entertainment. 

 

Back: Fire-Escape Ghosts

Ticket

1939 Rental Receipt from Columbia

Original Daisy

 
 
 

 

 

Historic Memphis Website

 

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.

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