Booker T Theatre

930 W. Baltimore Street,
Baltimore, MD 21223

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Additional Info

Architects: James A. Bowers, J.F. Dusman, Otto G. Simonson

Previous Names: Aladdin Theatre, New Queen Theatre

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Booker T Theatre

The Aladdin Theatre was a smaller house on the West side of Baltimore City. Opened in late-1909, it was remodeled in 1915 to the plans of Otto G. Simonson. It was known as the Aladdin Theatre through the 1920’s and in early-1927 became an African-American movie theatre operated by Harry Morstein. It became the New Queen Theatre in 1930, but was often confused with Harry Morsein’s other New Queen Theatre (which has its own page on Cinema Treasures). It changed to the Booker T on October 19, 1933 following the closure of the previously mentioned ‘other’ mentioned New Queen Theatre. The Booker T Theatre was closed in 1938. The building was converted to offices and lasted until 1992 when it was demolished.

This may not map properly since the side of the street that the theatre was located on has been completely demolished.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 8, 2005 at 2:39 pm

Details below from the book “Exit” by Robert Kirk Headley Jnr (1974)

The Aladdin Theatre opened in late 1909. It was known as the New Aladdin Theatre off and on in 1918-1920 and again in 1930. It was also named the New Queen Theatre in 1930 prior to it closing down that year.

It re-opened as the Booker T. Theatre around 1933 until it closed for good in about 1938.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 8, 2005 at 3:21 pm

The last licence could have run for a year after the Feb 1936 date, which means a closure of Feb 1937. But this is conjecture, basing my facts on what happens here in the UK when a licence is taken out in advance for a year. Does that happen in the USA?

The “Exit” book is a little vague on a few dates and facts like ‘opened late 1909’, when it has also stated ‘that a permit was granted for a cinema in September 1909’.

Little by little we build up a complete story Eh!

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 8, 2005 at 3:55 pm

Thanks for clarifying the licence/permit issue. I agree that seating capacities which are given in ‘any’ source must always be taken with a pinch of salt. Theater owners always exagerated capacities. We have the same problem here in the UK with our trade book The Kinematograph Yearbook.

Keep up the good work, it is always a pleasure reading input from you and many of the other ‘theatre-buffs’ on the site. If you are not sure about any info on your Baltimore research, send me an e-mail and I will consult with my sources here.

scottfavareille on January 10, 2005 at 4:40 pm

Was this a theater showing “black” films at one point?

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on February 20, 2005 at 10:28 am

Thanks for mentioning that Scott, I have just looked in my Film Daily Yearbooks 1941 and 1943 and the Booker T Theatre is listed in the Negro Theatres section, as well as the general listings for Baltimore. Which implies it was still open and operating? There is no mention of it in the 1950 edition

Yet the book “Exit” by Phillip Headly states its doors closed for good around 1938 and Chuck in his opening description states 1936 and later goes on to say the last licence of occupancy he could find in the library was dated February 1936.

I wonder, has the F.D.Y.B. just not been updated correctly since the 1930’s for this theatre?

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on January 6, 2012 at 10:15 am

I have a Booker T Theatre listed in Annapolis as well. Does anyone know anything about that one?

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