I’m a big fan of certain Christmas movies. I make it a point to watch them every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some of my favorites are Miracle on 34th Street, Polar Express and Scrooged. I know it seems unoriginal, but my number one favorite is It’s a Wonderful Life. Since my husband and I don’t have much of a family for the holiday, we make a date to watch it every year on Christmas Eve. This year, however, we did something different. We decided to go see it at a historical theater on the weekend before Christmas.
The Tampa Theater was built in 1926 and was THE place to see films back in the day.
The decor is the renaissance meets the planetarium. Surrounded by period walls, the place makes me feel as if I’m sitting in the year 1590. The ceiling’s night sky transports me back to grade school on a field trip to the planetarium.
They still have the organ that comes up out of the stage for the music in silent films (on the left of stage). The energy in the place is warm and inviting. It is said to be haunted, and if it is, the ghosts are welcoming. I don’t know what I believe about such things, but it’s great fun to let my writer’s imagination run free there. Orbs popped up in several of my photos. They are likely just dust particles reflecting off the flash or lens. In the photograph below, I didn’t use a flash.
I didn’t get upstairs to the balcony this time, but I did go down a long flight of stairs to use the bathrooms. They had a large lounge area separate from where the stalls were laid out. It had a long bench for women to sit at a vanity and primp in front of a mirror. I could envision flappers applying lipstick and wearing headbands with a feather. The mosaic tiles on the counter looked original, but about one quarter of them were missing. With tile floors and the walls painted white and black, that area had a more frosty feel than the warm, comforting theater atmosphere.
Using the organ music for the theater, they had a Christmas sing-along before the movie, which put the audience in a jolly holiday spirit. I’m sure we’d all seen the movie dozens of times, but everyone got into the scenes, laughing and gesturing in all the right spots. In the end, everyone clapped and whistled.
I’ll leave you with a photo from the theater’s website taken from the balcony.
What’s your favorite Christmas movie? Do you have a favorite historical sight you like to visit?