Cinema Follies

37 L Street NW,
Washington, DC 20001

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Located on the 2nd floor in a conversion of a former warehouse which was built around 1900. The Cinema Follies was a gay male adult movie theatre which was operating from 1975. In October 1977 and explosion on the first floor started a fire, which did not reach the 2nd floor but sadly nine people in the cinema died of smoke inhalation.

Contributed by Ken Roe

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robboehm on July 21, 2021 at 7:35 pm

Housed in a former warehouse which was constructed around 1900, Cinema Follies was a 50 seat theatre on the second floor which operated from 1975 until October 1977 when an explosion on the first floor caused a fire. Although the fire never reached the second floor nine persons perished from smoke inhalation. There is some question whether they even realized what was happening. If they had they would have found that the exit was blocked by the explosion, former windows had been bricked up and the door to the roof was locked.

A large condominium complex is now on the site. At the time of it’s construction there had been a campaign to install a memorial plaque. I haven’t been able to ascertain whether that was accomplished.

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