Vintage Photos of Movie Theaters Through the Years

Vintage Photos of Movie Theaters Through the Years

We all remember the favorite movie we saw on the day it was released, whether we stood in line to buy tickets or got dressed up with other moviegoers. Paying for overpriced concessions were par for course. Unfortunately, buying that expensive bucket of popcorn is starting to feel a bit like a past-time due to the pandemic. Despite the U.S. box office hitting all-time lows in 2020, movies themselves are still thriving. With more movies debuting on streaming services like Netflix and HBO Max, it's hard to imagine a day when we'll return to the theater. As we keep our fingers crossed for the movie theater industry to survive, take a look back at these vintage theaters throughout history.

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St. Louis, Missouri

A boy stands outside Havlin's Theatre in 1910. It was heavily damaged by a tornado in 1896.

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Santa Monica, California

The landmark Wilshire Theatre, the only remaining building from the pre-World War II era in the 1300 block of Wilshire Boulevard.

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Paris, France

The Omnia Pathe cinema, one of the oldest theaters in Paris. It opened with 250 seats in 1906.

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Omaha, Nebraska

The ticket booth and lobby at the World Theater, a vaudeville theater and cinema which opened in 1922.

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Chicago, Illinois

Two women buying tickets at a movie theater in 1940.

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Hollywood, California

The 4 Star Theater advertises Rudolph Valentino in The Sheik in 1938. Upon closing, the theater space became a church.

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Fox Theatre opened in 1923 and showed many hit films, like The Jazz Singer and The Grapes of Wrath. It was demolished in 1980.

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New York, New York

The historic Hippodrome Theatre was one of the world's largest theaters, seating 5,300. In addition to circuses and vaudeville, the cinema also showed silent movies before its closure in 1939.

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Los Angeles, California

Grauman's Chinese Theater along the Hollywood Walk of Fame opened in 1926. It was home to many award shows and movie premieres, like 1997's Star Wars. The theater, which seats 932 people, has one of the biggest movie screens in the country.

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Chicago, Illinois

The Roosevelt Theatre opened in 1921. Its first movie was Lessons in Love. Unlike the Chicago Theatre, Oriental Theatre and State Lake Theatre nearby, The Roosevelt Theatre was designed specifically to show movies rather than live entertainment. It was demolished in 1989.

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Baraboo, Wisconsin

The Al. Ringling Theatre opened in 1915. It was been operating continuously ever since. The venue is home to a variety of entertainment, from movies to opera.

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London, England

The Odeon Cinema in Surbiton, Surrey opened in 1934. The theater is designed in the art deco style. Its first show was Captain Blood starring Errol Flynn. The Odeon closed in 1975 and was eventually demolished in 1998.

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Suffern, New York

Designed by Eugene DeRosa, the Lafayette Theatre opened in 1924. Aside from movies, the theater also showed weekly Big Screen Classics film shows. It continues to operate as a single-screen movie house.

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Vienna, Austria

Vienna is home to many classic movie houses, like the Flottenkino Cinema shown here, from the 1970s. Many of them have preserved the original design of the theaters. Flottenkino shut down in 2002.

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New York, New York

The Cameo Theatre has shown everything from Italian films to adult films. The theater is better known for its recent versions, the Adonis in the '90s and the Playpen most recently.

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Arcata, California

The Minor Theater opened in 1914. It has opened and closed many times, but most recently reopened in 2016 under independent ownership. The theater has hosted the Humboldt International Film Fest since 2017.

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Cleveland, Ohio

The Allen Theatre opened in 1921. It was originally designed as a silent movie house. The first screening was Her Greatest Love. After years of closure and rumors of demolition, the theater was restored and reopened as a performing arts venue in 1998.

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Chicago, Illinois

The Tivoli Theatre opened in the 1920s. It was the first of the "big three" movie palaces in the area. Tivoli closed in 1963 and was demolished soon after.

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Washington, D.C.

The Earle Theatre opened as a cinema and vaudeville venue in 1924. It showed first-run silent movies. In 1947, it was renamed the Warner Theatre, one of today's most popular venues in D.C. for concerts and The Washington Ballet.

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New York, New York

The Babylon Theatre opened in 1913. It showed classic films like The Prisoner of Zenda and The Stolen Legacy but was short-lived, closing in 1922. Three years later, the theatre reopened under new ownership. It survived two fires and continued as a cinema until 2014.

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We're feeling a little nostalgic for our local theater.