Alamo Theatre

136 N. Illinois Street,
Indianapolis, IN 46204

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dallasmovietheaters on December 12, 2021 at 2:49 pm

The Palms (aka The Palms Theatre aka Palms 1 Theatre) launched September 8, 1913 managed by Grant and Heath for Edward G. Sourbier Entertainment. According to reports, Sourbrier had previously opened the first dedicated movie theatre in Indianapolis. He was a car enthusiast city councilman, one of the principles of Stutz Motor Company, and purchased the Central Amusement Company / Central City Amusement Co. He even used his personal Stutz auto for some of the theater’s ballyhoo.

The Palms presented Keystone Films at 5 cents per photoplay show. A second location for Soubrier was established at 341 West 30th at Highland Street as The Palms 2 (aka The Palms 2 Theatre aka Palms 2) with the original becoming The Palms 1 Theatre or Palms 1. From a naming viewpoint, The Palms 1 became simply The Palms / The Palms Theatre in 1917 when The Palms 2 became the Courtney Theatre. From an historical viewpoint, The Palms was an important part of Indy’s “Movie Lane” / “Film Row” which found so many theatres packed into a small part of town; these theaters included The Palms / Alamo, the Lyric, the Lenwood, the Alhambra, the Ambassador, the Crystal, et al.

Sourbrier’s diminutive 300-seat theatre was updated in 1918 when he announced that he had taken over the adjoining Indiana Traction and Terminal Company’s baggage room as the Indiana Traction Terminal was a neighbor. This could have allowed a “new” Palms to double its seating from 300 to 650 and the addition of a prized Wurlitzer Organ to try to compete with new-build movie theaters' presentations. It appears that those plans never actually occurred – though the theatre did extend from 300 to 330 seats.

Further evidence that the transformation did not occur was in the theater’s renaming to “Cozy.” Cozy would not likely describe or be desirable for a newly-renovated 650-seat theatre. The 1930 change from Palms to Cozy was the venue’s “sound name” for the former Palms as sound was added by DeForest PhonoFilm and PhonoDisc to three Sourbrier locations. Central City Amusements would later upgrade the Cozy’s technology both in 1934 and again in 1939 to have sound on film exclusively .

On October 28, 1948, the neighboring Ambassador-Alamo would split apart with the Alamo nameplate coming to the Cozy courtesy of new operator Mannie Marcus and M. Marcus Enterprises. The theatre received new seats, lighting and equipment with Charles Aken managing the theatre. Good authorities say that the theatre closed in 1956 as the Alamo. Sadly, it is mostly not remembered.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on April 29, 2017 at 3:26 pm

Motion Picture World, January 26, 1918, page 556 has several paragraphs describing upcoming, extensive renovations planned for the Palms Theatre 136-138 N Illinois Street.

“Edward G. Sourbier…owner of the Palms, has announced that the new arrangement will increase the seating capacity from 300 to 650…” It describes how the wall behind the screen will be taken down and the building extended by 40 feet.

The article goes on to mention that a new Wurlitzer organ will be installed, but the Wurlitzer lists do not show that they sold an organ in Indianpolis until 1922 and that was for the Circle Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 6, 2014 at 2:20 pm

In 1916, The Indianapolis Star was listing two houses called the Palms Theatre. In addition to the one on North Illinois Street there was one at 30th Street and Highland Place.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 6, 2014 at 2:03 pm

The house at 136 N. Illinois Street was listed as the Palms Theatre in Polk’s 1919 Indianapolis City Directory.

croghand on March 31, 2006 at 4:41 am

torn down for an office building