Coming Attractions . 1919 - 1920

        Memphis Theatres ... on Stage and on Screen

We recently came across a great and previously unknown stash of 1919-1920 Memphis News Scimitar newspapers.  Especially interesting were  the full pages dedicated to "Coming Attractions at Local Theatres" with ads, entertainment articles and photos.  The pages also verified the dates of these Main Street theatres, clarified the existence of some, and changed the dates of others.  This was the beginning of the Golden Age of the Motion Picture palaces.  Loew's State opened in October of 1920 and full pages are dedicate to this grand palace.  Even though Loew's Palace and Pantages are historically documented as opening in 1920, neither is advertised on these pages, although at the bottom of a December Lowe's State ad, there is a notice that Loew's Palace will open soon.  

Appearing on the pages are ads for the Orpheum, Lyric, Princess,  Loew's Princess, Loew's Lyceum, Loew's State, Strand, Majestic and Savoy.  Surprisingly, we learned that the Savoy (Majestic #1) was a major player among the downtown theatres.   



We found these "Coming Attractions" pages so interesting that we have posted a selection of 20 full pages below.  They are huge files and may load slowly,  Please be patient while waiting for them to open.     Click on small photos to enlarge them.  


Feb 1, 1919             Feb 15, 1919                Apr 5, 1919

Jul 12, 1919          

Aug 21, 1919                  Dec 12, 1919



Films really blossomed in the 1920s.   Most US film production occurred in Hollywood, although some films were still being made in New Jersey and in Astoria on Long Island. By the mid-20s, movies were big business with some theatres offering double features. By the end of the decade, there were 20 Hollywood studios, and the demand for films was greater than ever. Most people are unaware that the greatest output of feature films in the US occurred in the 1920s and 1930s (averaging about 800 film releases in a year). 

Jan 17, 1920           

Mar 15, 1920

          Jun, 1920


Jul 19, 1920          

Aug 31, 1920

         Sep 4, 1920


Sep 12, 1920         

 Oct 2, 1920


... and Lowe's State opened on October 6, 1920 ...

Oct 6, 1920        

Oct 6, 1920

         Oct 23, 1920

... although Loew's Palace didn't open until 1921, it is mentioned at the bottom of this December 25,  1920 Loew's ad.


         Dec 25, 1920

Below  are photos of the Memphis theatres featured in the ads on the 1919-1920 News Scimitar pages.   Each of them is  covered in depth on another section of this website.  Click on the red link below to visit that page:

* Memphis Theatres have their own comprehensive coverage on another section of this website >  Click here

Orpheum Lyceum Lyric Princess Strand

Majestic Majestic - Savoy Loew's Lyceum Loew's State Loews's Palace


Below are a few Posters, newspaper ads, lobby cards, and photos from the movie and stage productions featured in the Memphis newspapers ads above.




Throughout most of the 20's silent films were the predominant product of the film industry, having evolved from vaudevillian roots. But the films were becoming bigger, longer, costlier, and more polished. They were being manufactured, assembly-line style, in Hollywood's great entertainment factories.    They had also begun to make films of numerous Broadway plays.

The top box-office stars in the 1920s included Harold Lloyd, Gloria Swanson, Tom Mix, Norma Talmadge, Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Colleen Moore, Norma Shearer, John Barrymore, Greta Garbo, Lon Chaney, Sr., Clara Bow, and Mary Pickford.

... and just around the corner...




CREDITS: The "Historic-Memphis" Team would like to acknowledge and thank the following organizations for their contributions which helped make this page possible:  Memphis Public Library, University of Memphis Libraries, Memphis Commercial Appeal, Memphis Press Scimitar, Library of Congress, Greater Memphis Chamber, Memphis Flyer, Vance Lauderdale Family Archives, Memphis Heritage, Shelby County Register of Deeds, Cinema Treasures, Richard S. Brashier, Lee Askew, George Whitworth, Joe Spake,   and many other individuals whose assistance is acknowledged on individual photos.


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