Cinema Showcase 

"I have had a blast," Vincent Astor says, describing his experience assembling Memphis Movie Theatres, a photo-laden history of area cinemas, recently released by regional history press Arcadia Publishing.

"I have met a lot of fascinating people and have heard so many more stories than would ever fit in those captions," he says, running down a long list of people and institutions that helped him locate and identify some extraordinary images of area opera houses, nickelodeons, neighborhood theaters, and grand movie palaces.

"During fire prevention awareness week, the Memphis Fire Department was happy to have any marquees they could get," Astor says, explaining how the messages on these marquees were documented by the department, making the Fire Museum archive a treasure trove of hard-to-find images.

"The first thing I did was look at every Don Newman photo," Astor says, referring to works by the photographer whose deep-focus cityscapes beautifully document Memphis street-life in the mid-20th century. Several images included in the book are tightly cropped details from much larger Newman photos.

Astor, a native Memphian and local historian, has always shown a special fondness for old movie houses and has worked in various capacities at both the Orpheum/Malco and the Memphian (after it was transformed into Playhouse on the Square). His collection of Memphis movie-house memorabilia was on display at A. Schwab for 20 years. In fact, the new book was partly inspired by the need to find a new home for his collection when Schwab transitioned to new ownership.

 As Astor notes in his book's opening, Memphis has always been a theatrical town, "a crossroads in the center of America for entertainment as well as commerce." In the age of destination multiplexes, it may surprise some Memphians to discover how many theaters once dotted the local landscape.

Vincent Astor signs Memphis Movie Theatres at Burke's Book Store on Thursday, December 12th, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.


Favorite

Tags:

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

News Blog

Group of White Women Test Mall’s No Hoodie Policy

Hungry Memphis

The Nine Now Open

Fly On The Wall Blog

What’s Kids in the Hall Co-Founder Kevin McDonald Doing in Memphis?

Hungry Memphis

Gordon Ramsay's in Memphis to Save a Restaurant!

News Blog

TVA CEO Set to Retire in April

News Blog

Leaders Work to Revamp Public Art Guidelines

Tiger Blue

Three Thoughts on Tiger Football

Tiger Blue

#22 LSU 85, Tigers 76

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

This Week At The Cinema: Indie Memphis Winners and BTS

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Chris Davis

Readers also liked…

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation