Metropolitan Theater

934 F Street NW,
Washington, DC 20004

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Brandt Theaters, Crandall Amusement Company, Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.

Architects: Reginald W. Geare

Styles: Neo-Georgian

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Metropolitan Theater

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.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

jflundy on February 12, 2009 at 12:59 pm Link will take you to large format photo from January 1921, attraction Poli Negri in “Passion”.

sconnell1 on June 10, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Between June 15-June 24 of 1961, the Metropolitan played THE RAT RACE while the Ambassador played BECAUSE THEY’RE YOUNG.

The Metropolitan was closed between September 6 and October 4 of 1961. The Ambassador played COME SEPTEMBER.

Between June 12-July 2 of 1963, the Metropolitan played THE WONDERUL WORLD OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM while the Ambassador played WEST SIDE STORY.

Between May 20-July 7 of 1964, the Metropolitan played the first run of WHAT A WAY TO GO while the Ambassador played a series of second-run features.

Between November 18-December 22 of 1964, the Metropolitan played the first run of GOODBYE CHARLIE while the Ambassador played a series of second-run features.

Between April 14-May 11, the Metropolitan played the first run of CHEYENNE AUTUMN while the Ambassador continued with its first run of JOHN GOLDFARB, PLEASE COME HOME.

kencmcintyre on June 20, 2009 at 4:54 pm

This site has some vintage exterior photos:

dickneeds111 on March 30, 2012 at 9:42 am

Having been to the Metropolitun in 1960-61 I would like to know if it was 70mm Equipped. According to the listing above they played 1st run on Cheyenne Autumn and a re-release of Brothers Grimm(I imagine this was a general release anamorphic print). I don’t know of anyone anywhere running Dial M For Murder in 3-D. I don’t believe it was ever released in that format until the 1990’s. It played here in Boston at the Coolidge Corner in the 90’s in 3-D and was advertised as being the 1st time being shown in 3-D.

sconnell1 on March 30, 2012 at 11:30 am

In 1963 when the Ambassador ran “Brothers Grimm” the Uptown theater was the only D.C. theater equipped to show 3-Strip (3 camera, 3 projector) Cinerama. It was running “How the West Was Won” which continued there until January of 1964 when it closed for approximately six weeks. During that time the 3-strip Cinerama equipment was removed and replaced with the 70mm projection system that had been there before. I don’t know if the Metropolitan had any 70mm projection sysem for “Cheyenne Autumn”, but I doubt it.

sconnell1 on March 30, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I made a mistake. I should have said the Metropolitan played “Brothers Grimm”, and not the Ambassador.

BobFurmanek on October 19, 2012 at 8:18 pm

The Metropolitan was one of two theaters in Washington to play Alfred Hitchcock’s DIAL M FOR MURDER in 2-D, without glasses. I’ve posted an ad for opening day, May 27, 1954.

More information can be found in this article:

DavidZornig on March 22, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Just added a circa 1920 photo. Might be the same one that was posted by Lost Memory in 2007, but that link is now dead.

DavidZornig on July 23, 2019 at 7:28 pm

1918 photo added credit National Archives via George Lane, courtesy Old Time D.C. Facebook page.

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