Cinema Theatre

1251 Washington Avenue,
Miami Beach, FL 33139

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rivest266 on January 25, 2020 at 11:33 am

The Cinema Casino opened on November 17th, 1937. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

aeterna on September 13, 2017 at 8:16 am

A larger and higher quality/detailed version of the photo miamiguy supplied via the miamiheritage website:

aeterna on January 14, 2016 at 10:39 am

A color shot of the interior I believe just a few years prior to being gutted for Club Z/Club 1235. Some of the balcony Art Deco/elements were retained for the then new club.

aeterna on December 21, 2015 at 9:58 pm

A shot of the Cinema just months prior to its closure in ‘77:

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 30, 2011 at 7:25 pm

Nice interior shots of this theatre during its early heyday as a classy nightclub can be seen in the final scenes of the Lucille Ball- Henry Fonda 1942 film “The Big Street”. Although it looks like a fake art-deco set, it is actually the Cinema Casino.

Bway on February 20, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Can you still tell it was a theater on the inside?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on December 27, 2008 at 5:43 pm

Nice find miamiguy!

I remember when it ran Yiddish Vaudeville that it always ran one feature film along with it, often also in Yiddish. What a great service this was to the many Jewish senior citizens who lived in the area, many of whom were holocaust survivors and spoke little or no English.

miamiguy on December 27, 2008 at 4:43 pm

Here’s a photo that shows the Cinema Theatre in Miami Beach in approximately 1970 when it still had its original lobby entrance.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 2, 2007 at 7:07 am

According to MARQUEE, vol.30, its nightclub names included, Club Z, Club 1235, Deco’s, Club passion, Paragon and Glam Slam.e

The deco lobby was destroyed in 1979, then rebuilt somewhat in 1983 .

miamiguy on July 3, 2007 at 5:39 pm

(It’s been a nightclub since approximately 1980.)

Correction: Make that “a nightclub since 1983.”

miamiguy on July 3, 2007 at 5:36 pm

Yes, it was “1235” for a while —you can catch it briefly in one 1985 episode of Miami Vice. When Prince owned it, it was called “Glam Slam.” It’s been a nightclub since approximately 1980.

Up through its days as “Level” the interior was still a beautiful art deco theme, but the current club operator really chopped it up. It looks nothing like its original art deco styling.

A shame, really.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on July 1, 2007 at 1:00 am

Was it Level54 when it was owned by Prince? I remember it being a gay club called 1235 for a while and then raided for drugs with a later name.

miamiguy on June 30, 2007 at 10:07 pm

The Cinema was a club called “Level” for a few years. In this photo taken from the balcony you can see the left side stairs and part of the stage…

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Paul Noble
Paul Noble on April 6, 2007 at 3:38 pm

New York Times of April 3, 2007, presented a story about the changes taking place in Miami Beach, with photo and references to “The Mansion,” the concert venue which is the former Cinema Theater.

woody on August 23, 2006 at 4:10 am

heres a shot of the former Cinema Casino, currently a nightclub called Mansion taken in march 2006

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and here is a shot of the rear of the building showing the fly tower

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Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on July 11, 2006 at 11:01 pm

The Cinema was playing live Yiddish Vaudeville well after the concept had died elsewhere. As a nightclub it is a grand venue, well worth a visit.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on March 15, 2005 at 8:48 am

When it first opened as the French Casino it was affiliated with the French Casino in New York (located on the south-east corner of 7th Ave and 50th St) previously the Earl Carroll Theatre, which has now been demolished, and the London Casino Theatre, London UK (now the Prince Edward Theatre) /theaters/2497/

The Cinema Theatre is listed in the Film Daily Yearbook, 1941 as the Cinema Casino Theatre, having 973 seats and was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc through the subsidiary S.H. Lynch. The 1950 F.D.Y. gives a seating capacty of 1,192.

0071967 on January 8, 2005 at 4:10 am

the last days of the operating Cinema Theatre on Washington Avenue the starting playing vintage double features….burned into my memory was seeing “Adventures of Robin Hood” with Errol Flynn and “Now, Voyager” with Betty Davis. This was in the late 70’s. Broke my heart when some morons decided to build shops instead of the theatre….what a beautiful lobby!

kelley on August 22, 2004 at 4:23 pm

Minty, the Cinema Theatre was briefly called Cinema Casino and then converted to the French Casino. Records show the theatre held 1200 seats.

Minty on August 1, 2004 at 10:39 am

The original address was 1235 Washington Avenue. On the corner of 13th street on the same block the Brandts also ran a tiny theater named the Plaza Art which closed and is now an Irish Pub.

Minty on August 1, 2004 at 10:36 am

This theater I believe is still owned by the Brandts. It has been a long series of somewhat popular nightclubs. The murals were covered/painted over when it was converted into a nightclub. While it was still a movie theater, vaudeville shows were presented every winter. Even as audiences for films declined, these shows often sold out. The theater held about 1350 movie patrons. I believe when it first opened it was called the “French Casino”.