Criterion Theatre

41-43 Peachtree Street NE,
Atlanta, GA 30303

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Additional Info

Architects: A. Ten Eyck Brown

Styles: Adam

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Criterion Theatre

The Criterion Theatre opened July 3, 1916 with Alice Brady in “La Boheme”.

Contributed by john tanner

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

1234 on October 9, 2007 at 7:03 pm

The Criterion opened at 41-43 Peachtree Street on July 3,1916 by theatre Promoter Sig Samuels. Architect for the theatre was A. Ten Eyck Brown and was done in the Adams Style. The theatre seat 900 with a balcony for 300. During this period this was one of Atlanta’s major movie theatres usually getting the second run of most of the early major silent films after they had made their reserve seat run at the Atlanta theatre.
The theatre was equiped with a Style V Seeburg Motion Picture Orchestrion with the orchestra under the direction of David Love
In March of 1919 a contract was signed with the Austin Organ
Company for a 3 manual 17 rank organ that was installed above the stage. In June of 1920 a contract was signed to add two more ranks to the organ. This was basically a straight organ very much like what you would find in the areas churches. The Organ was pplayed by Ben Potter “Unquestionably the South’s Greatest Organist”

The Life of the Criterion theatre was short lived however, In 1920 when the much larger Howard theatre open it raised the bar to new heights of motion picture presentation. Sig Samuels not to be out done opened the Metropolitan Theatre (1700 seats) just up the street from the Criterion, the theatre now became a second run house and by 1922 Sig Samuels could not secure enough product for both houses.
In December of 1922 the property was leased to a drug store and a shoe store. the theatre disappeared, the organ went to a church in Alabama, Sig Samuels moved to the Metropolitan, and the Criterion was only a memory.
For more on this theatre go to the Atlanta Chapter ATOS website and look in the April 2006 newsletter for a more indepth article.

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