1918 N. 5th Street,
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Previously operated by: United Theater Enterpises Inc.
Styles: Art Deco
Previous Names: New Princess Theatre
The New Princess Theater was the second location for the Princess Theatre, a movie theatre for African-American patrons. The New Princess Theatre launched for United Theatre Enterprises (UTE) and Athens Theatres with George Ellis in charge. The theatre was on the drawing boards as a new, third location in town for the circuit to complement the diminutive Princess Theatre and the Regal Theatre (both have their own pages on Cinema Treasures) on N. 10th Street. However, as plans began to develop in late-Summer of 1936, the decision was made to close the original Princess Theatre about two blocks away and open the New Princess Theatre.
On October 21, 1936, the New Princess Theatre launched with Bing Crosby in “Rhythm on the Range” supported by a cartoon and a short feature. The previous location of the Princess Theatre was converted to Club Hawaiian Garden, a night club. The New Princess Theatre had a neighboring business called Princes of the Palace Ice Cream Parlor run by Rose Lenior that served as the de facto candy and ice cream destination prior to and after shows.
The Princess Theatre was co-operated by UTE with the Regal Theatre. Legendary African-American projectionist John Henry Adams, Jr. who had been trained by his father and was a part of the Local 170-A Union, spent some 20 years of his 50 years of projectionist for the New Princess Theatre and the Regal Theatre. The two venues infrequently showed the same movie line-ups and complemented each other until the Regal Theatre suffered a major fire in January 1954 that led to its permanent closure.
The Princess Theatre switched to widescreen projection to play CinemaScope titles in 1954. However, it appears to have closed at the end of a 20-year leasing period. The building was vandalized in 1957 with fire set to it. That appears to end the Princess Theatre which has since been demolished along with virtually the entire N. 5th Street African-American business district. However, between the two Princess Theatres, about 40 years.
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