Century Theatre

511 Main Street,
Buffalo, NY 14202

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Dipson Circuit, Loew's Inc., Shea Theatres, United Artists Theater Circuit Inc.

Architects: Thomas White Lamb

Previous Names: Loew's State Theatre, Shea's Century Theatre, 20th Century Theatre, New Century Theatre

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News About This Theater

Century Theatre

Operated down the street from Loew’s Teck Theatre, Broadway Theatre and Shea’s Theatre, this opened as Loew’s State Theatre in October 1921. It was equipped with a Moller 3 manual 17 ranks organ. It had a chandelier in its auditorium in its day. In 1925 the original Moller organ was replaced by a Moller 3 manual 32 ranks instrument.

It closed as a movie theatre in 1970, and was then used by Harvey & Corky Productions for rock concerts. Recall the balcony would pulsate up and down if audience stamped their feet (waiting for encore, etc.) During the same time would show movies on Saturday nights, targeting the same rock concert audiences. Demolished and Burger King restaurant now occupies the site.

Contributed by JW

Recent comments (view all 27 comments)

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on January 4, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Looks like the Loew’s State opened with a Moller pipe organ, opus 2888, a III/17 in 1921. In 1925, they traded that one back to Moller for opus 4318, a III/32. Opus 2888 wound up in Memphis Tennessee at the Linden Circle Theatre.

Willbone87 on August 23, 2013 at 8:52 am

In the late 1970s, I remember attending a concert there. The Tubes performed but I can’t remember the opening act. Very theatrical including the lead singer exposing himself, which was a bit disturbing to a 16 year old.
Also saw a double feature Woodstock/Song Remains the Same. I think the movie started at 8 and got done around 3 am.
For both events, the pot smoke was so thick that it stayed on your clothes for days. It always struck me as nonsensical that Buffalo was spending all sorts of money to build a subway for a “Theater District” but it ended up tearing down one of the few theaters there.
But hey, that’s Buffalo! Now 35 years later, they want to bury the subway because dumb idea did not work.

hammerglenn on December 15, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Saw 2001 first run here in 1968. My cousin, who was a science fiction fan had a hard time explaining it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 6, 2014 at 10:38 am

Michael Shea would take over operation of the Century Theatre in Buffalo on December 22, according to the December 14, 1928, issue of the Corning Evening Leader.

markhn on January 19, 2017 at 12:07 pm

According to this article, “King Of Jazz” made its Buffalo premiere on July 24, 1930.


rivest266 on June 10, 2022 at 9:20 am

Started to be listed as 20th Century with little fanfare on January 6th, 1939, and was taken over by a partnership of Dipson theatres and Basil theatres on April 24th, 1939. Article below:

20th Century theatre20th Century theatre 25 Apr 1939, Tue Buffalo Evening News (Buffalo, New York) Newspapers.com

rivest266 on June 10, 2022 at 9:37 am

Lawsuit: https://casetext.com/case/dipson-theatres-v-buffalo-theatres

For brevity’s sake, the following abbreviations will be used in naming the parties: Plaintiff will be named Dipson. The 10 remaining defendants will be named thus: Buffalo for Buffalo Theatres, Inc.; Bison for Bison Theatres Corporation; Vitagraph for Vitagraph, Inc.; Loew for Loew’s Inc.; Paramount for Paramount Pictures, Inc.; RKO for RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.; Fox for Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation; Universal for Universal Film Exchanges, Inc.; United for United Artists Corp.; McFaul for Vincent R. McFaul.

Of these 10 defendants, three (Buffalo, Bison and McFaul) are sued as exhibitors — the remaining seven as distributors.

Plaintiff’s first cause of action alleges unlawful discrimination against its Bailey Theatre, located at 2163 Bailey Avenue, Buffalo, N.Y. by defendant exhibitors, who operated it until August 1, 1939; that their lease expired July 31, 1939; that, on April 19, 1939, Dipson-Basil Theatres, Inc., which became Dipson Realty Co., Inc., purchased this theatre subject to the unexpired lease and operated it from August 1 to August 31, 1939, when D B Operating Co., Inc., which by change of name became the plaintiff herein, leased it, began operating it on September 1, 1939, and has continued such operation. Plaintiff demands damages from September 1, 1939, to September 17, 1945 for “actual operating losses, based upon income from admissions * * * $19,115; and losses of net income * * * $126,878, totalling * * * $145,993.” Par. 25.

Plaintiff’s second cause of action concerns the Century Theatre, located at 511 Main St., Buffalo, N.Y., and the Riviera Theatre, located in Tonawanda, N.Y. It alleges that defendant exhibitors operated the Century for about 10 years prior to August 1, 1939, when their lease expired; that it was then leased for 10 years by Century Theatrical Enterprises, Inc., which took possession August 1, 1939, and operated both it and the Riviera until November 20, 1940, after which plaintiff operated both theatres until June 26, 1941, when lessee was forced by defendants to surrender both leases to the respective lessors. It is alleged that, on or about November 25, 1941, Century Theatrical Enterprises, Inc. assigned to plaintiff all its claims and causes of action against defendants. Plaintiff alleges that, during 23 months (August 1, 1939, to June 26, 1941), it and said Century Theatrical Enterprises, Inc. suffered an operating loss of $58,240.67, Par. 36, and, “except for the unlawful combination and conspiracy of the defendants,” would have earned a net income between September 1, 1939, and August 31, 1949, of $1,423,788 Par. 36, from the Century and a net income between June 27, 1941, and July 31, 1949, of $56,570.60 from the Riviera, Par. 38.

Dipson Theatres v. Buffalo Theatres, 86 F. Supp. 716, 717-18 (W.D.N.Y. 1949)

Cinerama on October 2, 2022 at 9:46 am

Hi alknobloch,

Where did you get the photo on the Overview page? It does not match up with the building for the Buffalo Century theater in other photos.

MSC77 on October 22, 2022 at 1:08 pm

A chronology of the Buffalo area’s 70mm presentation history has recently been published. The Century is mentioned numerous times.

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