425-433 9th Street NW,
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Architects: C.W. Sommerville
Previous Names: Imperial Theatre, Garden Theatre, Gayety Theatre
Opened as the Imperial Theatre, on vaudeville with ‘Imperial Photo Plays’ as part of the bill, the opening date was November 20, 1911. The architect was C.W. Sommerville. An unusual feature of the design was that instead of having the usual side stage boxes on each side of the proscenium, there were a set of stairs on each side which led up from the front orchestra level to a loge section which was totally seperate from the main balcony.
In 1913 it was acquired by Tom Moore and he re-named it Moore’s Garden Theatre. He made extensive improvements to the theatre in 1918 and ran it successfully as a movie theatre.
In 1922 it was taken over by Henry Crandall and he re-named it the Central Theatre, again doing some improvements to the building. It re-opened on December 21, 1922 with the movie “Broken Chains” starring Colleen Moore. Eventally all the Crandall theatres were taken over first by the Stanley organisation who in turn were merged into the Warner Bros. Circuit Management. The Central Theatre was still shown in the Film Daily Yearbook as being operated by Warner Bros. in 1950, but this was its last year on movies.
The Gayety Theatre (later Shubert) had been a burlesque theatre for many years and when it went ‘legit’ in 1950, the name and style of entertainment transferred to the Central Theatre.
So the Central Theatre became the Gayety Theatre, with live burlesque until it closed and was demolished in June 1973.
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