Pictures of historic and beautiful theater marquees from the golden age of movies
Oh how they sparkle and shine. These amazing vintage theater marquees recall a time when going to the movies was an event . . . when movie stars were larger than life and movies provided escape from the struggles of the Great Depression and WWII.
Fortunately, most of the theaters pictured here are still in use as playhouses, events centers, or arts centers. Only one of them has become abandoned.
The source for much of this information comes from Cinema Treasures.
Shoals Theatre in Florence, Alabama built 1948.
Shoals Theatre in Florence, Alabama
The Shoals opened in 1948 as one of the largest theaters in Alabama and included four retail stores within. It closed in 1980, and was reopened 2011 as a concert and events venue.
Black and white photograph of the vintage Crockett Theater Marquee in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. Click to buy a fine art print.
Crockett Theater Marquee in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee
Built in a somewhat art deco style in 1950, the old Crockett Theatre is under renovation, and currently has stage curtains that were once part of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
Vintage Sign for the Abandoned Gem Movie Theatre in Cairo, Illinois. Buy a fine art print here.
Gem Theatre in Cairo, Illinois. Click here to buy a black and white print.
Gem Movie Theatre in Cairo, Illinois
The abandoned Gem Theatre in Cairo, Illinois has existed on the location since about 1910, with the original building destroyed by fire in 1934. The existing building with its gorgeous art deco marquee opened in 1936, and closed for good in 1978. Like much of Cairo, it now sits abandoned and in disrepair.
Small Town Vintage Movie Theater Marquee. Click to buy a fine art print.
Small Town Vintage Movie Theater Marquee
This small town theater marquee displays the curved lines, rows of light bulbs, and large neon letters that made movie-going feel like an event in their heyday.
Detail image of the Lucas Theatre marquee in Savannah. Buy a fine art print.
Lucas Theatre in Savannah, Georgia
Savannah's Spanish Baroque Revival style Lucas Theatre opened in 1921 in the city's grand theatre district. It was a movie house until closing in 1976. Preservationists worked for ten years to reopen the theatre in 2000, with a showing of "Gone with the Wind." Now it can play 4K digital movies, and hosts film and music festivals. (source)
Ritz Theatre in Sheffield, Alabama.
Ritz Theatre in Sheffield, Alabama
Sheffield's Ritz Theatre opened in 1928 as a playhouse, with 600+ seats and a Wurlitzer organ. It was upgraded in the early 1930s to accommodate talking movies, and hosted President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It closed in 1951 and remained shut until 1985, when it was restored and opened for use as a playhouse.
Knoxville's Tennessee Theatre Reflected in Rearview Mirror. Click to buy a fine art print.
Tennessee Theatre Marquee in Knoxville, Tennessee
The Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville, Tennessee opened in 1928. Designed by a Chicago architecture firm, the theater opened with a $50,000 Wurlitzer organ, and held 2,000 seats. In spite of a mid-1960s rehab, the theater closed in 1977. The Tennessee reopened in the 2000s with the organ fully refurbished, and a preservation of the theater to its former elegant glory.