506 St. Charles Street,
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Firms: Duggan & Huff
Previous Names: Broadway Theatre, Cameo Theatre, Hollywood Theatre, Hollywood Newsreel, World Theatre
Opened as the Broadway Theatre in late-1910, it shared its address with the Western Photo Play Corp. In February 1930 the newspaper advertisements briefly listed the theatre as the Cameo Theatre (formerly the Broadway), with the latest sound system. By 1936 mainstream movies were being offered at what had become the Hollywood Theatre.
A taste of what would later be shown at the theatre happened in February of 1937, when it screened an “adults only” movie titled “Ecstasy”. The theatre sat vacant through most of World War II, then became the Hollywood Newsreel Theatre during 1946 and changed names again after that as the World Theatre. It would convert to adult films for several years before introducing titillating stage shows featuring touring starlets such as future Russ Carman film star Tura Santana and operating under its final name World Playhouse.
When longtime owner Harry Wald was finally forced to close the World Playhouse in 1974, the building was slated for demolition. The theatre had switched back to movies by this time. The final movie playing at the closing on March 5, was “The Great Massage Parlor Bust”.
The local newspaper coverage of the closing of the World Playhouse was rather sentimental and tender. It reported that souvenir hunters were picking up last bits of debris.
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