Casino Theatre

212 W. Bay Street,
Jacksonville, FL 32202

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Follies Theatre

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The Casino Theatre was opened November 3, 1918. It was still open in the early-1950’s. It was renamed Follies Theatre on May 3, 1953, screening exploitation movies. It had closed by 1955.

Contributed by Jack Coursey

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

irvl on June 17, 2006 at 7:11 pm

My parents grew up in Jacksonville during the teens and 20s of the 1900s. They thought of the Casino as being a lower class theatre, and said it had the nickname of “The Fishhouse.” I remember the house being open, and noted that it always seemed to play third or fourth run double bills. I also saw the theatre’s facade a number of times. From the looks of the neighborhood and the theatre itself, I thought I would be a bit afraid to attend a performance there.

Harvey on March 17, 2007 at 8:58 pm

My father used to shine shoes in the early 50’s at the penny arcade next door. The name of the arcade owner was Buster Paul. He owned the billiard hall over the arcade as well. Possibly may have owned the Casino (which my father could only remember as “The Fishhouse' as well).

StanleyNorton on July 16, 2007 at 2:03 pm

I went to the Casino once in the early 50’s when I was about 12.. It wasn’t air conditoned and I remember big fans in the ceiling and sunlite coming under the exit doors. I saw a double feature Bela Lugosi. It was across from the bus station and probably had a lot of transients. To me it was always strange and my mother said there were rats in the theatre.

dallasmovietheaters on June 5, 2016 at 7:25 am

L.D. Joel launched his $50,000 New Casino Theatre on November 3, 1918. Despite a clear name, patrons reportedly referred to the theatre as the Bay Street Theatre. The theatre was across the street from the busy Florida Motor Lines Bus Terminal / later Greyhound Bus Terminal which was good visibility for a theatre with less resources.

Joel operated the Casino until his death October 3, 1944 at which time he was called the oldest film operator in the southeast. The theatre soldiered on into the television age without him before closing with both the bus terminal and the Casino being demolished.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 20, 2023 at 4:52 pm

Are we certain of the aka Pastime for this house? I found a reference to a Pastime Theatre at Jacksonville in the October 15, 1910 issue of The Nickelodeon, and a house of that name is listed at 215 W. Bay Street in the 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory. As the opening name of this 1918 house at 212 W. Bay was New Casino, I suspect we have conflated its history with that of an earlier Casino across the street, which was previously the Pastime, and may have been demolished to make way for the Florida Motor Lines bus terminal.

rivest266 on May 21, 2024 at 12:28 pm

Reopened as Follies on May 3rd, 1953. Grand opening ads posted.

rivest266 on May 21, 2024 at 12:40 pm

William M. Rowe, the manager of the Follies theatre, faced legal trouble in May 1955. He was arrested for displaying indecent images in front of the theater. Additionally, the article mentioned that the theater’s lease expired on May 14th, 1955.

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