Built in 1926 as one of America's most elaborate "Movie Palaces" and designed by famed theatre architect John Eberson, the Tampa Theater is a wonderful example of the "atmospheric" style of theatre design. Tampa Theater carries audiences to a lavish Mediterranean courtyard with old world statuary, flowers, and gargoyles and covered by a nighttime sky with twinkling stars and floating clouds. It is nothing like the sterile Movie-Plexs of today with high ticket prices & $10.00 NO $12.00 bags of popcorn.(correction by aloha_keith). By the end of the 1920's, over 90 million Americans were going to the movies every week. For several decades, the Tampa remained a jewel and the centerpiece of Tampa’s cultural landscape. People grew up, stole their first kisses in the balcony, followed the weekly newsreels, and celebrated life week after week by coming back to the Tampa Theater.
The Wizard of Oz is What I Saw Today
By the 1960's and 70's, times had changed. America’s move to suburbs was having a negative effect on downtown business districts all across the country. Hardest hit were the downtown movie palaces. Many of the nation's finest movie palaces were quickly demolished before anyone noticed because the land beneath them became more valuable than the theatres them self. We were much luckier in Tampa. Starting in 1973 committees were formed, city leaders became involved, and soon a deal was reached to have the City rescue the Tampa Theater by assuming its leases. The Arts Council of Hillsborough County agreed to program and manage the Tampa with films, concerts and special events. By the time the Theatre reopened in early 1978, the Tampa Theater had become a national model on how to save an endangered theatre.
Tampa Theatre presents and hosts over 600 events a year. With a full schedule of first run and classic films, concerts, special events, corporate events and tours, the theatre is one of the most heavily utilized venues of its kind in the United States.
Since its reopening, over 2 million guests one of those would be me have enjoyed film events, over 800,000 have attended concerts, and over 700,000 elementary children have enjoyed professional touring theatre productions in the context of one of Tampa 's largest historic preservation projects.
Private support is critical to the Theatre's continued success and service to the community. Tampa Theatre only earns about 65 % of its annual operating budget through earned income. The non-profit Tampa Theatre Foundation helps to make up difference by through memberships, special fundraising events, sponsorships and planned giving programs. Tampa Theatre was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, is a Tampa City Landmark, and is a member of the League of Historic American Theatres.
If you are in Tampa with a couple of hours to spare don’t miss this opportunity to see a movie in one of the most unique theaters you will ever see, heck give me a shout & I will go with you.
TAMPA THEATRE’S VAUDEVILLE REVUE AND PICTURE SHOW
Starring Rosa Rio Famed 106 year old Organist
with Buster Keaton in “One Week” and featuring The Franzini Family Vaudeville Revue
30 at 3:00 $12 - $10
What a Great Place!
Old School Bill Tampa Theater Facts
Opened: October 15, 1926
Architect: John Eberson
Architectural Style: Florida Mediterranean (includes touches of Italian Renaissance, Byzantine, Spanish, Mediterranean, Greek Revival, Baroque, and English Tudor)
Original Construction Cost: $1.2 million
2009 Dollars $14.5. using the Consumer Price Index from Measuringworth.com
Construction Time: 1 year
Restoration Costs, to date: $2 million
First Movie: "The Ace of Cads" starring Adolph Menjou (silent)
Ticket Price for opening night movie: 25 cent
Free Children under 2
Named to the National Register of Historic Places: 1978
Declared a Tampa City Landmark: 1988
Managed by: The Arts Council of Hillsborough County
Longest Employment Tenure: 45 years 1926-71 (Blondelle Gladney, box office cashier)
Number of Seats: 1,446
Number of events annually: 650
Average Annual Attendance: 135,000
Number of stars in auditorium ceiling: 99
Number of tiles on the lobby floor: 245,185
Number of Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ pipes: about 1,400
Programming: specialty film, classic movies, concerts, special events, corporate events, field trips, weddings, graduations, production location, tours