Memphis has always been a theatrical town—a crossroads in the center of America for entertainment as well as commerce. Movies are among the many things that travel through the city, both for distribution and exhibition. Thousands of people who have lived here or just passed through, especially during and after World War II, found their way to the movie theatres. From the vaudeville palaces on Main Street to the nickelodeons on Beale Street, these theatres helped shape the culture of the city. Kemmons Wilson operated movie houses before he built the first Holiday Inn. Several movie theatres played roles in the life of Elvis Presley. W.C. Handy attended the opening of a theatre named for him. Local censorship practices influenced decisions in Hollywood, and the first multiplex in the region was built in Memphis.
Author Bio: Vincent Astor is a native Memphian and local historian with a special fondness for movie houses. He has warm memories of the cinema when theatres had only one screen and of working at the Malco/Orpheum Theatre. Astor has assembled photographs from the Memphis Public Library, Memphis Heritage, Malco Theatres, and several family collections into a chronicle with memories for Memphians of all ages to enjoy.
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