934 F Street NW,
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Architects: Reginald W. Geare
Built for Harry Crandall, whose mini-chain also included the Lincoln Theatre, Knickerbocker Theatre, and the Tivoli Theatre, the Metropolitan Theater was built in 1917. It was designed by architect Reginald W. Geare, who also designed the Lincoln Theatre and Knickerbocker Theatre for Crandall (the Knickerbocker Theatre was renamed the Ambassador Theatre in 1923 and rebuilt by Thomas W. Lamb after the roof of the theatre collapsed in a heavy snowstorm in 1922, killing 98 and injuring 136).
The 1,400-seat Metropolitan Theatre, located on F Street, was opened on November 23, 1918 with Theda Bara in “Under Two Flags”. It had a three story Georgian Revival façade, with four sets of Doric pilasters below an ornately sculpted pediment. Between four sets of decorative friezes just below the pediment, the theater’s name was incised into the stone in bold lettering. It was equipped with a Moller organ.
Around the late-1920’s, a large marquee replaced the more simple original, somewhat obscuring the arched window over the main entrance. Also, a 60-foot tall vertical sign was also added at this time, with its top support punched right into the sculpture on the pediment. Up until the early-1940’s, the Metropolitan Theater included live stage entertainment, including a house orchestra, in addition to movies. The theater was also the site of the Washington premiere of “The Jazz Singer” in 1927, the first theatre in the capital to show a “talking picture”. A year later, the Metropolitan Theater was acquired by the Warner Brothers chain, which it remained into the 1950’s. In April 1953 it was sold to Harry Brandt.
The theater received two massive remodels in 1954 and 1961 in an attempt to entice more movie-goers with its attendance falling. Unfortunately, the Metropolitan Theater closed on January 3, 1966 with Tony Curtis in “Boeing, Boeing”, and was razed in 1968.
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