CinemaTour
Cinema History Around the World
 HOME ·· CINEMAS ·· FORUM ·· LINKS ·· BOOKS
 Contact Cinematour ·· Help & Hints ·· About Cinematour
Cinematour Forum


  
my profile | my password | search | faq | forum home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Cinematour Forum   » Cinemas and Theatres   » Coastal MS theatres destroyed by the hurricane

   
Author Topic: Coastal MS theatres destroyed by the hurricane
William Hooper
Member

Posts: 82
From: Mobile, AL
Registered: Mar 2003


 - posted November 28, 2005 01:26 AM      Profile for William Hooper   Email William Hooper         Edit/Delete Post 
Not checked & I haven't been able to get to the bayfront in Bay St. Louis, but Rene Brunet reports that the A&G theatre facing the water on Beach Blvd. in Bay St. Louis was completely destroyed - not a wall standing, just a lot filled with rubble.
 -

The former Star in Bay St. Louis was also on Beach Blvd; it's not likely to have made it.

Also the Hardy Court 8 in Gulfport was severely damaged, & has been razed.

Checking the Cinematour site, the Paramount in Gulfport MS was demolished decades ago, maybe in the 70s. It was slated for demolition to create a parking lot, then there was a city-wide effort to save the theatre, then there was a Mysterious Fire...

edit: The Strand & Paramount theaters in Gulfport have 2 separate listings, they're the same theater. The Strand was re-named the Paramount around 1930 or so.

Also the Paramount & Majestic theaters in Jackson, MS were razed long ago.

Also missing in the Jackson MS section are the Alamo theaters. One is still standing; you figure it out:
quote:

The Alamo, on Farish Street, was in 1916 Jackson, Mississippi's "colored" theater. It's programming was about the usual for a "colored" theater: very neighborhood-responsive, lots of local talent nights, etc. It was the anchor of the Farish Street black business & entertainment district, & did well competing for the custom of the black ticket buyer against the "mainstream" Jackson theaters over on Capitol Street: The Century, The Majestic, & the Istrione.

By 1927, the old Alamo theater on Farish Street had sadly begun to show its age, & The New Alamo Theatre was built on Amite Street to replace it. However, business was so good that the old Alamo was re-opened & put back into regular service as The Old Alamo Theatre. Jackson was supporting two "colored" theaters, The Old Alamo Theatre & The New Alamo Theatre; this was
the only theatrical expansion in Jackson until then; the only "mainstream" theaters (with segregated balconies) remained the Century, Istrione, & Majestic over on Capitol Street.

However, by 1929, the Old Alamo Theatre had come to the end of its run, the economy was contracting, & Jackson once again had only one "colored" theater, the new Alamo theatre, referred to in advertisement as The New Alamo Theatre, but in fact after the close of the Old Alamo Theatre it was just The Alamo Theatre.

Goodbye, Old Alamo. We know what happens to old, empty, unused theaters.

But by 1939, things are better again! There are some additional, new "mainstream" theaters up on Capitol Street - the State, built in 1930, & the Paramount, built in 1938! The Alamo is doing well, but has some competition now from another "colored" theater, The Booker T Theatre - which is actually just the Old Alamo Theatre on Farish leased & renamed! There is mild confusion, & the Alamo Theatre is once again referred to as the New Alamo Theatre to avoid confusion with the theater which is just the Old Alamo (the original Alamo), renamed.

Both the New Alamo & the Booker T (sometimes referred to as the Old Alamo) have some roaring years as "colored" theatres. Film fare was mostly what we'd call sub-run, with an increasing mix of more of the "race" pictures that became more available, talent nights, live shows when big name black artists came to town & needed a house, etc. Mostly the New Alamo was out in front,
though, & the Booker T (or Old Alamo) stuck more with films - a "colored" "B" house?

But even that ride had to end, & the Booker T closed, then most of the "mainstream" houses on Capitol that had been there since the 00's, 10's, & 20's - the Century, Majestic, & finally the Paramount & the New Alamo. By the 70's, all the houses on Capitol Street had been demolished.

Suddenly, aghast, Jackson realized that it had no Historic Theatre! Looking around, nothing was left...except...the building which had been the Old Alamo, the original Alamo, that Alamo over on Farish which was most likely to have been leveled early & in the first place back in 1929.

So, grant money, refurbishments, addition of loading, backstage & dressing areas, HVAC upgrades, fix the roof just like every other old theater on the planet, spruce up that facade & lo, Jackson's Historic Theatre is the Alamo!

Beloved by all, respected & revered anchor of the black community, while somehow weirdly co-opted by the white arts community which would never have come over to that side of town in the theater's heyday, but they're chumming up to the Alamo now because they've torn all their other theaters down. The work is a success, the theater is a success, the Old Alamo now *is* the New Alamo! Or, more correctly, the new Old Alamo. They just call it The Alamo now, though.

Part of the Alamo's significance & resonance with the black community is that many successful artists competed there early in amateur nights, or on early tours, etc., & lists of those folk are often brought up in the PR material for Jackson's Historic Theatre, The Alamo. But they've either missed or let slide that most of the artists appeared during the heyday of the Alamo which
was the *other* Alamo, when The Alamo was what had been The New Alamo, The Alamo over on Amite, not the present, only Alamo, previously The Old Alamo Theatre, & now once again the only Alamo Theatre in town.



[ November 28, 2005, 10:36 PM: Message edited by: William Hooper ]

 |  IP: Logged

George Gates
Member

Posts: 55
From: Providence, RI
Registered: May 2005


 - posted November 28, 2005 09:03 AM      Profile for George Gates           Edit/Delete Post 
There's a site called Cinematreasures.org which has a readership that would enjoy your historical information. You can register and list these Gulfport theatres along with a written commentary.
(I noticed they don't have them listed on their site yet, so I hope you'll give it a try)

 |  IP: Logged

George Gates
Member

Posts: 55
From: Providence, RI
Registered: May 2005


 - posted November 28, 2005 01:16 PM      Profile for George Gates           Edit/Delete Post 
Some of the folks who post information on the Cinematreasures site even post links to areas where you can find out more about favorite theatres.

 |  IP: Logged

William Hooper
Member

Posts: 82
From: Mobile, AL
Registered: Mar 2003


 - posted November 28, 2005 10:23 PM      Profile for William Hooper   Email William Hooper         Edit/Delete Post 
Fattening frogs for snakes

 -

 |  IP: Logged

George Gates
Member

Posts: 55
From: Providence, RI
Registered: May 2005


 - posted November 29, 2005 09:49 AM      Profile for George Gates           Edit/Delete Post 
Putting aside the question of lifting descriptions, and the commercial aspect (I think both sites obtained substantial grant money to get started) I'd suggest that the blog style of messaging, as designed there, lends itself to a more interesting read. Maybe it's a tribute to their fans, that one can learn so much about theatres from the historical anecdotes written in. I enjoy your recent posts on the theatres of Gulfport and wonder what additional information would have come forth on the other site, from it's many followers.

 |  IP: Logged

William Hooper
Member

Posts: 82
From: Mobile, AL
Registered: Mar 2003


 - posted November 29, 2005 10:36 PM      Profile for William Hooper   Email William Hooper         Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks. It's a little off-topic for this forum, but I've also wished the Cinematour site accommodated commentary per theatre entry. Cinema Treasures hosts only 1 of its own pictures per theatre (sometimes), & the Cinematour site easily could exceed the other's usefulness. It's a mechanical/operational issue, Adam's got other things than to do, I don't know if it conforms to his idea of the way the site should function, so it's still a matter of whose pool you want to go play in.

Not to mention Cinema Treasure's "style over function" layout makes it a billion times more of an effort to read than Cinematour's! I guess that's what you get when guys with a tech background put something together: the first & essential objective is it's gotta work good!

 |  IP: Logged

Scott D. Neff
Tour Guide

Posts: 661
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted December 14, 2005 09:12 AM      Profile for Scott D. Neff   Email Scott D. Neff         Edit/Delete Post 
I think Adam refrains from having the "Add your own comment" section to the actual theatre database to prevent some of the comments that add the same information over and over again, or that contradict and argue each other.

But if you e-mail something to Adam he'll surely post it if all the available facts check out.

 |  IP: Logged



All times are Central  
   Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic    next oldest topic   next newest topic
Hop To:

© 1995-2013 Vision Entertainment Services. All rights reserved.

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classicTM 6.3.1.2