Charles Theatre

1711 N. Charles Street,
Baltimore, MD 21202

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The Charles Theatre (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: JF Theatres, Zeller Circuit

Architects: John W. Lawrence

Functions: Movies (Independent)

Styles: Beaux-Arts

Previous Names: Times Theatre

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 410.727.3456

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News About This Theater

Charles Theatre

The Times Theatre opened in a pre-existing building October 6, 1939. It was Baltimore’s first newsreel theatre. It was remodeled in June 1941. In 1958 it was taken over by JF Theatres and again it was remodeled to become the Charles Theatre on October 2, 1958 with “Around the World in Eighty Days”. It was remodeled in 1969 to the plans of architect John W. Lawrence. This art house in Baltimore was renovated in 1998 and added four new screens and stadium seating, reopening April 21, 1999.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

BrooklynJim on July 17, 2006 at 1:36 pm

I found a pair of Charles Theater pix on the links below:

View link
View link

randytheicon on June 12, 2009 at 5:55 pm

If I recall from Headley’s “Exit,” the Times was originally booked to show newsreels exclusively (hence the name “Times”).

Throughout the 1980s, the manager/director of the Charles was Pat Moran, who also played in John Waters' pictures and is now a well-respected Hollywood casting director. Moran’s projectionist, the late Garey Lambert, was one of the best in his field.

randytheicon on June 12, 2009 at 6:27 pm

I don’t remember the Charles in “Cecil”. The theatres used were the Senator, Hippodrome (pre-restoration), and Beltway Movies 6 (the theatre the “guerillas” raid about halfway through). The alley used to access the Hippodrome was actually Davis St., which runs between Calvert St. & Guilford Ave. around Saratoga St.

CSWalczak on December 2, 2009 at 11:35 pm

Here’s an historical article with pictures about the Charles from the Archives of the University of Baltimore: View link

Iamcurious on July 6, 2011 at 12:49 pm

The Charles address is originally given as 1717 N. Charles St. when it was called The Times and where it continued as the single screen Charles Theater. The current incarnation of The Charles Theater does in fact list it’s official address as 1711 N. Charles since it’s 1999 renovation. The buildings it is housed in are designated 1711-1717 N Charles. It is worth noting that the newer side of the Charles Theater was formerly the Famous Ballroom which played host to many of the Left Bank Jazz Society’s most legendary shows between late 1966 and the early 1980’s. Below is a partial list of some of the many shows that took place there. I think you’ll recognize some heavy hitters in the list:

12-4-66 HERBIE HANCOCK, piano; RON CARTER, bass; WAYNE SHORTER, tenor sax; FREDDIE HUBBARD, trumpet; JACK DEJOHNETTE, drums (Famous Ballroom)

12-11-66 PEPPER ADAMS, baritone sax; FRANK FOSTER, tenor sax; BOBBY TIMMONS, piaon; FREDDIE WAITS, drums; CECIL McBEE, bass (Famous Ballroom)

12-18-66 JACKIE McLEAN, alto sax; SCOTTY HART, bass; LAMONT JOHNSON, piano; BILLY HIGGINS, drums (Famous Ballroom)

12-25-66 Christmas Holiday

1-1-67 New Year’s Holiday

1-8-67 No Concert

1-15-67 No Concert

1-22-67 No Concert

1-29-67 SONNY STITT, electric varitone, alto and tenor sax; DON PATTERSON, organ; BILLY JAMES, drums (Famous Ballroom)

2-5-67 COLEMAN HAWKINS, tenor saxophone; MAJOR HOLLEY, bass; OLIVER JACKSON, drums; BARRY HARRIS, piano (Famous Ballroom)

2-12-67 AL COHN, tenor sax; ZOOT SIMS, tenor sax; DAVE FRISHBERG, piano; VICTOR SPROLES, bass; STEVE SCHAEFFER, drums

2-19-67 LOU DONALDSON, alto sax; TOMMY TURRNETINE, trumpet; PECK MORRISON, bass; WALTER DAVIS JR., piano; LEO MORRIS, drums

2-26-67 WALTER BISHOP JR., piano; HAROLD VICK tenor & soprano sax & flute; DICK “TINY” BERK, drums; REGGIE JOHNSON, bass

3-5-67 BILLY HIGGINS, drums; WALTER BOOKER, bass; DAVE HUBBARD, tenor sax; CLAUDE HUBBARD, piano

3-12-67 BOOKER ERVIN, tenor sax; LENNIE McBROWNE, drums; HORACE PARLAN, piano; JAN ARNETT, bass


3-36-67 JIMMY HEATH, tenor sax; HANK MOBLEY, tenor sax; MICKEY ROKER, drums; CEDER WALTON, piano


4-16-67 YUSEF LATEEF, misc.; CECIL McBEE, bass; HUGH LAWSON, piano; ROY BROOKS, drums

4-23-67 FREDDIE HUBBARD, trumpet; BENNY MAUPIN, tenor sax; RONNY MATTHEWS, piano; HERBIE LEWIS, bass; FREDDIE WAITS, drums

4-3-67 MILT JACKSON, vibes; JIMMY HEATH, tenor sax; CEDAR WALTON, piano; MICKEY ROKER, drums; WALTER BOOKER, bass

5-7-67 JOHN COLTRANE, tenor sax & soprano sax; PHAROH SAUNDERS, tenor sax; ALICE COLTRANE, piano; DONALD GARRETT, bass; RASHID ALI, drums

Source: originally transcribed from the Left Bank Jazz Society 1970 Yearbook.

rivest266 on February 5, 2017 at 8:56 am

October 6th, 1939 grand opening ad as Times in the photo section. It opened as a newsreel theatre.

rivest266 on February 6, 2017 at 12:09 am

This reopened as The Charles on October 2nd, 1958. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

rivest266 on February 12, 2017 at 8:37 am

April 21st, 1999 grand opening ad as a 5-plex can be found in the photo section for this cinema.

Dennis Visco
Dennis Visco on January 13, 2018 at 5:33 pm

Lovely theater. The only Theater in Town that’s showing “The Shape of Water”

DavidZornig on August 21, 2018 at 8:34 pm

Via the link at the bottom. I’ll add the corresponding photo in the Photos Section in case the link goes dead.

This mecca for art house film lovers began life as a Baltimore City Passenger Railway complex in 1892. Evidence of the Charles Theater’s origins are prominently displayed on the building’s pediment which is inscribed with the initials “BCPR” in the stonework. Originally the building housed a cable railway powerhouse that generated power for BCPR’s Blue line, which ran along Charles Street from South Street to 25th Street. After cable cars were phased out, it functioned as a car house. United Railways and Electric sold the structure in 1939 and it was later converted to a movie theater and restaurants.-caption by @suzykopf for her research leading up to her exhibition, “Leftovers” at the BSM on May 12th from 1-5. For more images from the archives relating to this project:

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