Martin Theatre

21 N. Broadway Avenue,
Sylacauga, AL 35150

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Martin Theatres

Architects: Rufus E. Bland

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Martin Theatre

The Martin Theatre was opened on June 5, 1951.

Contributed by Ken Roe, Joe Vogel

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 16, 2009 at 5:39 pm

The November 29, 1971, issue of Boxoffice said that Martin Theatres had opened a single-screener in Sylacauga called the Plaza on November 4th. It was converted from two stores in a shopping center. That’s most likely the theater that is now the Stardom. Judging from the description of Stardom in the article, and the photos on its web site, I don’t think it could be the 1951 Martin. The building looks very 1970s.

There was a photo of the auditorium of the Martin in the September 1, 1951, issue of Boxoffice. It was a large room with a high ceiling, decorated in a simple moderne style.

The photo was black-and-white, of course, but the caption says that the screen curtain was of aqua rayon and had a mural depicting marine life, and the side walls were covered in pleated gold fabric overlaid with white diagonals, each panel having in its lower corner decoration related to the screen curtain mural. The stage also had a sheer front curtain in chartreuse, and the valance was a deep green damask, with borders of dusty rose. It sounds like it was quite the perfect 1950s color scheme.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 17, 2009 at 4:06 pm

The Before and After page of the Bamaboys' web site has a photo of the Martin (near the bottom of the page) and the Frontier Bank which is apparently the building that replaced it. A web search shows the Frontier Bank is at 43 Broadway Ave., though Google Maps doesn’t like that address (it insists on calling Sylacauga “Oak Grove”, and does weird things with the street numbers.)

The Before and After page also has a photo of the Sylacauga Theatre and the vacant lot where it stood, and comparing it to Google street view shows that the Sylacauga was on the northeast corner of Broadway and 1st, and the Martin was apparently on the southwest corner of the same intersection.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 17, 2009 at 5:02 pm

Comparing the before and after photos again, it now seems to me that the Martin might have been a few doors down the block from the site of the Bank. The building in the background in the 1959 photo doesn’t quite match the one beyond the bank in the recent photo. In fact the building in the background in 1959 might actually be the bank before it got a drive-up window. But the theater was definitely on the west side of Broadway between 1st and Fort William Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 6, 2013 at 2:25 pm

The photo of the Martin Theatre auditorium that I mentioned in an earlier comment can be seen at the bottom of this page from Boxoffice, September 1, 1951.

FormerSylacaugan on November 6, 2013 at 6:27 pm

The Martin Theater on Broadway, two blocks up from the intersection of Ft. Williams. It was torn down 1971-1978. (The Plaza was built inside the Ogletree Plaza, which was about four blocks away down Ft. Williams Rd.) Aside from the Comet Drive-In, the Martin Theater downtown was the only theater when I was a kid in the 1960s. That’s where we saw Jason & the Argonauts, The Ten Commandmants, Elvis Presley in Kissing Cousins. In the summer of 1970 I remember we saw Me, Natalie starring Marlo Thomas; Count Yorga, Vampire; House of Dark Shadows. A year or so later: Love Story. The first block from Ft. Williams for many years in the ‘70s-80s had a department store called Sokels (sp?). Before that I don’t remember everything on that block, but there was something, maybe a coffee shop, then a drug store with soda fountain & comicbook stand, then next door was the Martin Theater (2nd or 3rd business on that side of the street). There may have been an alley on both sides of the Martin, otherwise it was one long block. Then just past the Martin was a big dark red two-story house (Craftsman style? Four Square style?) which housed Olan Mills photography. Then there was the next intersection with stoplight. I don’t remember what was across the street (I know for years it was a parking lot, below the steep hill going up to the old cemetery). On the next block most of those buildings seem to be intact. You can probably find many old postcards of these blocks on Ebay.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 13, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Linkrot repair: The Bamaboys' web page I linked to in my first comment of October 17, 2009, is now at this link. The 1959 photo of the Martin Theatre is fourth from the bottom.

Adam on November 15, 2013 at 2:55 pm

I miss the old style theaters

Jay Harvey
Jay Harvey on November 15, 2013 at 5:56 pm

The Martin interior looks almost exactly like the Boone theatre in Whitesville WV I frequented as a child

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