148-150 King's Road,
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Architects: Felix Joubert
Styles: Art Nouveau
Previous Names: Chelsea Picture Playhouse, Electric Cinema Theatre
Locating the west London district of Chelsea. Opened in 1910 as the Chelsea Picture Playhouse, the architect was Felix Joubert and seating was provided for 394 on a single floor. In the early-1920’s it was known as the Electric Cinema Theatre and had this name set into the tiled façade.
By 1937 it had been taken over by Classic Cinemas Ltd. and became one of the first to be operated by this chain that specialised in repertory screenings of classic Hollywood films. It was re-named the Classic Cinema and by 1953 it was operated by Lou Morris, retaining the Classic name, but by 1958 it had been taken back by Classic Cinemas. The façade was reduced in height and given a ‘modern’ look which it retained until closing on 4th August 1973. A typical ‘Classic’ double bill programme of Edward G. Robinson starring in two films, “Little Ceasar” and “Bullets or Ballots” were the final films.
The original stage production of “Rocky Horror Show” starring Tim Curry was transferred from the Royal Court Theatre (Upstairs) to the Classic Cinema building for three months from August 1973. In December 1973, it went onto greater success at the slightly larger King’s Road Theatre along the road, playing there until 1979 when the production transferred to the West End at the Comedy Theatre, closing on 13th September 1980 after a total run of the production in the four theatres of 2,960 performances.
After the short run of “Rocky Horror Show” ended, the building was demolished. Today a branch of Boots the chemist’s shop and offices have been built on the site.
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