Wilby Theatre

1103 Selma Avenue,
Selma, AL 36703

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Wilby-Kincey

Previous Names: Academy of Music, Academy Theatre

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Wilby Theatre

The Academy of Music was built in the 1880’s and was operating as a movie theatre by 1914. It was equipped with a Western Electric sound system in 1929. In 1930 it was renamed Academy Theatre. On August 28, 1938 it was renamed Wilby Theatre, screening Sonja Henie in “My Lucky Star”. Seating was listed at 1,000. The theatre was owned by Wilby-Kincey Theatres.

The Wilby Theatre was destroyed by a fire on June 8, 1972 during a screening of “Mary Queen of Scots” starring Vanessa Redgrave. The site where the theatre once stood is now the Selma Public Library.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

ferenc on April 27, 2010 at 1:00 pm

The marquee of the Wilby Theatre is seen for a brief moment in “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”, which was filmed in 1968 in Selma, Alabama.

James Kastner
James Kastner on September 10, 2011 at 8:36 pm

The movie that was playing at the Wilby Theatre in “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter” was “The Family Way” with Hayley Mills.

Jimbo7 on April 8, 2012 at 8:39 pm

The Wilby did NOT close in the sixties. I was born in 1961 and I went to many movies in the sixties. It burned to the ground in the early seventies. The library was built where it used to be along with city hall and convention center.

davespeed on May 30, 2012 at 5:56 am

Jimbo7 is correct. The Wilby burned during a matinee showing of Mary, Queen of Scots starring Vanessa Redgrave and Glenda Jackson.

RodneyK on May 21, 2015 at 6:15 am

This is correct. It burned down sometime in 1971. We used to go see movies here occasionally. It seemed huge to me. I was just a 5 when it burned down. I remember seeing Herby The Love Bug and Song Of The South here.

almadenmike on March 20, 2018 at 12:07 pm

Here’s a link to a photo of the upstairs lobby, posted to the Selma Alabama History Facebook group:


50sSNIPES on October 4, 2021 at 5:39 am

The actual building itself was first built in the 1880s according to an article all about the June 8, 1972 Wilby Theatre fire.

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