PALACE on Beale PASTIME 324 Beale St    

Opened 1920  .     Closed 1955  .  Seats 1080 .   Demolished in 1972

The Palace was the South's largest theatre for African Americans.  In 1926 a Wurlizer Theatre Organ was installed.  Count Basie performed here and "Midnight Rambles" were held on Thursday nights for whites at the Palace for 21 years. Whites were seated in the balcony and Blacks downstairs. They were discontinued in 1941 because of WWII.  Nat D. Williams began "Amateur Night on Beale" in 1935 at the Palace.  There is a Historical Marker on Beale mentioning this event.


The first theatre in this building was originally named PASTIME and it was the first African American MOVIE Theater in Memphis.  It was opened by Sam Zerilla, a member of the Sousa Orchestra.  This is the same address as the Beale Palace which didn't open until 1920 In 1919, two years after the Pastime closed, Anselmo Barrasso and the Pacini Brothers, Lorezzo and Angelo opened the Palace Theatre at this address.  They retained the original building as a lobby, used the upper floors for offices, and built an extension to the rear which contained the main part of the auditorium.  The third floor was removed in 1949, along with other changes.


The Pastime is listed continuously at 324 Beale in the Memphis Directories from 1909-1917.   The PALACE opened at the same address in 1920 and is listed in the directories from 1920 up to 1958.  We've not checked beyond that date.. 


Palace after 1950


Palace 1939

Palace 1920s


Ramble c.1940s

Palace Letterhead 

White Ramble 1942

Revue c.1923

Palace Tickets


Johnny Ace - 1950s    

Roll of Tickets/Ticket c.1950



Also see the Palace Theatre at 135 N. Main Street ... Click Here


Walter Bolton:  "In addition to movies the Palace featured stage shows and several famous entertainers got their start here.  WDIA had many shows here, often MC'd by Nat D. Williams or Rufus Thomas".

Dave French, Norcross GA:  "There was also an earlier PALACE at 135 Main Street which opened in 1907.  It was headquarters for Amicks Vaudeville Exchange and they had Vaudeville acts between films".

Stephen Huff:  "The Palace at 324 Beale first opened, I believe in 1920.  This is the first year that it appears in the city directory.  It was owned by the Barrasso family who ran several African-American vaudeville and movie theatres in the early 20th Century.  They started out with the Amuse-U theatre at 253 N. Main and the Savoy at 121 South Fourth around 1909.  From about 1913 to 1918, Anselmo Barrasso ran the Metropolitan Theatre at 336 Beale.  He then sold it to the Zerilla family, who opened a new theatre called The Venus at that address around 1920 - the same year that the Palace opened.  (The old Metropolitan Theatre must have been torn down or burned, because there is a photo of it in the Memphis Sun, and African-American newspaper, from December of 1913, and it definitely is not the same building that is pictured in the photo below of The Venus).  A year later, in 1921, Barrasso bought the Venus".





Please visit the website that sponsors this page

Historic Memphis Website




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).