Homewood Theatre

2834 18th Street S,
Homewood, AL 35209

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Waters Theater Co.

Architects: Wilmot C. Douglas

Functions: Retail

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: Royal Theatre

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Homewood Theater

Located in Homewood to the south of Birmingham, AL. The Royal Theatre was opened by 1929. It was totally remodeled to the plans of architect Wilmot C. Douglas of Birmingham, AL., reopening on April 3, 1941 with Tyrone Power in “Mark of Zorro”. It was given a new facade, faced in Vitrolite and stucco.

The Homewood Theatre was closed around 1963. In 2019 it operates as a bicycle store.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Backseater on February 5, 2005 at 10:14 pm

I must have seen dozens if not hundreds of movies at the Homewood from 1954-1963. In the unfortunate era of segregation, the balcony was “Jim Crowed,” the only Birmingham area theater that I remember being so arranged. There was a separate entrance for Blacks, served by the same box office, leading to the balcony. In the picture linked elsewhere in this site, it’s the door on the far left. Black kids would come down the inside balcony stairs and ask us white kids to get them popcorn and stuff from the concession stand. As I recall fifty years later, we always obliged—or at least, I did. I saw many classics at the Homewood, including Frank Sinatra in the original “Ocean’s Eleven” (beware of imitations), Alec Guinness in the original “Ladykillers” (beware of imitations), Joan Collins in “Land of the Pharoahs” (1956), Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee in “The Mummy” (1959), Gregory Peck in the Guns of Navarone" (1960), Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen in “The Magnificent Seven,” Grant Withers and William Shallert in “The Incredible Shrinking Man,” and John Agar in “The Mole People,” among many others. In the early 1960s it went under new management (?) and changed over to an “art” theater (i.e., Brigitte Bardot). It closed in 1963, at about the same time I went off to college in Memphis. When I returned to B'ham twenty years later, it had become a Schwinn Bicycle store, and later I actually bought a bicycle there (I guess what goes around comes around). Several of the original auditorium doors were still in service in different locations, and the exterior facade was only slightly changed, but no remnant of the balcony or the projection booth had survived. Ah, memories. I haven’t been back since 1994, and so cannot comment on more recent developments. Best wishes, good luck, and good counting to all.

kencmcintyre on September 21, 2007 at 8:46 pm

The Homewood was listed in the 1963 IMPA, in its last year of existence as a theater according to the information above. The operating chain was the Waters Theater Co. of Birmingham. J.R. Waters was the film booker, while W.D Waters was the purchasing head.

Bhamwiki on December 31, 2010 at 10:50 am

The Birmingham Public Library Digital Collections has a c. 1928 photo of the original Homewood Theatre facade (with ads for the 1928 Lon Chaney police caper “While the City Sleeps”): http://bplonline.cdmhost.com/u?/p4017coll6,1643

And fabulous Birmingham nostalgia site “Birmingham Rewound” has a copy of a brief January 1941 Birmingham News article about the renovations (with the architect’s facade rendering): View link.jpg)

I’m digesting these sources into a Bhamwiki article: http://www.bhamwiki.com/w/Homewood_Theatre

StanMalone on May 30, 2015 at 3:17 pm

Several of the Birmingham area drive in pages list Waters as the operator or owner before they sold out to Cobb in 1968.

I attended this theater several times, mostly for the type of summer kiddie show that would charge a minimal ticket or more likely six Coke bottle caps for admission. In other words they were in the snack bar business on those mornings. The program would consist of cartoons, a short, and a feature. The only title I can remember of all of those was “Onionhead” with Andy Griffith. On those mornings my mother, or one of the other neighborhood mothers would drop off a carload of us single digit age children and then be waiting at the curb a couple of hours later to pick us up. (We would also attend shows like this downtown at the Alabama although on those occasions there would usually be an older sibling, maybe 13 or 14 in charge.) Then it was home for lunch and an afternoon of play or maybe helmetless bike riding. A different era for sure.

The only regular night time feature I recall seeing here was “Sink The Bismarck.” Ocassionally the four big first run downtown theaters, the Alabama, Ritz, Empire, and Melba would be booked up and a first run feature would open at the Homewood, or even the Shades Mountain Drive In, also a Waters theater.

I can vaguely recall when this place closed up and 1963 seems about right. I do remember being shocked that a movie theater would close up. I had no idea what was in store for me in this respect. Of the dozens of theaters I worked in during my 40 or so years in this business there are only two still operating and very few of the closed ones are still standing.

One odd thing about this location is that when it closed it became a Schwinn Bicycle store, as mentioned above. I was also the owner of a bike from this store, my Christmas present in 1964. It is no longer Schwinn, if they even make those anymore, but it is still a bike store. That means that in its 80 or so years of existence this building has served only two roles: A movie theatre for about 30 and a bike shop for the last 50 or so.

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