Bluebird Theatre

16 N. Sycamore Street,
Petersburg, VA 23803

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Neighborhood Theatres

Architects: Fred A. Bishop

Functions: Beauty Salon

Previous Names: Colonial Theatre

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News About This Theater

First Day of CinemaScope

Opened as the Colonial Theatre around 1927, by 1928 it had been renamed Bluebird Theatre with 650-seats. It was closed on July 9, 1958 with Steve Reeves in “Hercules” (La fatiche fe Ercole". The building is now being used as a beauty salon and beauty supply store.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

dsketch
dsketch on November 29, 2010 at 6:20 pm

My grandmother was the manager at the Bluebird during the 70’s and early 80’s. I remember seeing Piranha there and a few spaghetti westerns among others since I was able to get in free. They mostly showed exploitation films, B movies and a lot of black exploitation films during the 70’s (Shaft, Superfly, Blackula etc.) The clientele at that time were largely students from VSU. They may have shown XXX films during the 80’s but I can’t remember since my grandmother left and went to the Walnut Mall theater. It has since been restored but not into a cinema to my knowlege.

Robert L. Bradley
Robert L. Bradley on May 13, 2013 at 10:18 pm

The Bluebird was a long, narrow theatre and it played first-run movies. It had two aisles with three seats on each side section and six across the middle. The fire exit was on the right side at the front of the auditorium and there was a blue neon clock at the back. It had stage curtains, a curved CinemaScope screen in the correct aspect ratio, and a balcony. The concession stand was on the left side of the lobby as you entered. The box office was out in front and not attached. The theater did a very good business, but it closed because Neighborhood Theatres, Inc. lost the lease on the building. The Palace Theatre down the street took over its role as a first-run theatre and was renamed the New Bluebird.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 22, 2013 at 6:17 am

The Bluebird Theatre in Petersburg was designed by architect Fred A. Bishop, according to a partial list of his works that appeared in the October 25, 1930, issue of Exhibitors Herald-World.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 13, 2015 at 4:30 am

The Bluebird Theatre in operation in 1919 was the house that opened in 1908 as the Lyric Theatre, then became the Bluebird, then the Palace, and then in 1959 the New Bluebird Theatre. An article in the September 20, 1964, issue of the Petersburg Progress-Index said that the second Bluebird Theatre (this house) had opened as the Colonial Theatre (the second Petersburg house of that name, just to add further complication) but the article doesn’t give the year of its opening or the year that it became the Bluebird.

BLUEBIRD
BLUEBIRD on December 16, 2017 at 3:48 pm

MEMORIES: Bob Jones around 1958? Chrismas Day went to the Bluebird day of “KING KONG” showing & was last in & they had a contest & my draw slip was given to managers as they had taken the box away at the door. As a kid I didn’t get a bike for Xmas, but I somehow won that bike that day & “wow” what a feeling to go home riding a bike to 629 High St. (Unbelievable to me as a child, I have such a fond memory or the, to me “Bluebird”. Never had anyone til today I felt I could share this with,but with this it will always be part of my “Bluebird” days @ 77 now never ever forgot that day!

Bob

davidcoppock
davidcoppock on October 24, 2020 at 8:39 am

Closed on 7/9/1959 with “Hercules”.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 24, 2020 at 8:56 am

50sSNIPES: See the page for the New Bluebird Theatre. The name was moved there when this house closed in 1959, and the Bluebird operated at that location (143 N. Sycamore) into the 1980s.

50sSNIPES
50sSNIPES on October 24, 2020 at 3:20 pm

OH! NOW I GET IT! Thanks Joe! I Just Can’t Find The Articles From The Petersburg Index.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 24, 2020 at 11:01 pm

I believe I saw the article I cited at newspapers.com, but since then that site has put its content behind a paywall, so I, not being a subscriber to their service, don’t have access to it anymore.

50sSNIPES
50sSNIPES on October 25, 2020 at 2:14 pm

That’s What I Look Up Information About The Theater. The Bluebird Had A Few Confusing Articles As I Did Find The Petersburg Index Off Of That Site.

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