206 S. Side Square,
206 S. Side Square,Waco, TX 76706
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The Gayety Picture Show renamed the Gayety Theatre at 115-117 Bridge was the first African American movie theater in Waco. Sometime in the late 1930s – most likely 1939 – the Gem Theatre opened and was the African American Theatre of choice on the square. But on March 29, 1953, the Gem ceases operation. After storm damaged 115-117 Bridge is repaired in 1953, the former Gayety location comes back to life as the “New” Gem Theatre beginning Dec. 19, 1953 and advertising until January 1962. It’s likely that the theater operated through a ten-year lease until March 1963 without advertising as the theater space is offered for lease in 1964.
The Gem Theatre is listed in Film Daily Yearbook editions between 1940 and 1955 as a Negro theatre. It had a seating capacity of 558.