914 Central Avenue,
914 Central Avenue,St. Petersburg, FL 33705
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The Center Theatre lists all the way to March 28, 1974 with its last showtimes of Henry Yu Yung in “Fists of Double K (Fist to Fist)” and Wang You in “Blood of the Dragon.” (The theater’s final transition had been from adult cinema earlier in the 1970s to Chopsocky films.) The theatre reached the expiration of its lease but is then listed for sale thereafter for $89,500 with the caveat of “needs work.”
The Roxy changed hands multiple times in the early 1950s. Boxofficeof July 14, 1951 said that Roxart Theatres of Tampa had bought the house from Florida Coast Theatres. Then the May 7, 1952 issue of The Exhibitor reported that local developer W. R. Parsley had bought the Roxy from Roxart. The April 26 1952 issue of Tampa Bay Times said that Parsley had leased the Roxy to Claughton Theatres.
In response to P.K. “Budd” Ballard’s comment of November 27th, 2016, I believe he’s confusing “The Sound of Music” with another long-run musical roadshow since the Tampa Bay region roadshow run of “The Sound of Music” was at the Palace in Tampa and its first general release run in St. Petersburg was held at the State. Perhaps he’s thinking of “My Fair Lady” which had a long run at the Center?
This opened as Alcazar on November 4th, 1928 and reopened as Center on December 25th, 1958. Grand opening ad in the photo section.
Projection and Sound were indeed superb. This was an early Phillips (Norelco) 70 mm installation. They had a chain hoist to help handle the big 70mm reels. Cliff Brigham?? was one of the projectionists there. I saw a 70mm release of the Cinerama feature “How the West Was Won” there.
The 70mm equipment was installed when the theatre changed from the ROXY to the CENTER. BEN HUR played there for over a year and THE SOUND OF MUSIC played there for almost a year. The projection and sound were superb.
Just posted a couple ads under photos.
Thanks Andy. This is very interesting. I remember when the Center was a 70MM house. They advertised heavily in the Tampa Tribune the many reserved-seat roadshow attractions that played though most of the 1960s. But by the mid-1970s it had gone adult and was reduced to showing X-rated films. I only saw one adult film here and as I recall it was a nice theatre with a fairly large screen. Had no idea it was formerly known as the Alcazar and later the Roxy.
It appears that the Alcazar and the also-listed Center were the same theater. It was also called the Roxy at one point. The Alcazar moved into a converted grain warehouse in 1926 and its final incarnation, the Center, closed in 1977.