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Charleston Theatre - Charleston, SC

Charleston Theatre
566 King Street
Opened: 1923
Closed: 1926

The Charleston Theatre opened in 1923, in the former Milo Theatre building. After the Milo Theatre failed, various parties leased the theatre, among them Miss Maude Gibbon, for the Charleston Philharmonic Society.

The motto of the Charleston Theatre was "Nilli Secundus" meaning "second to none."

One of the films shown in 1924 was "Where the North Begins." This was the first film with Rin-Tin-Tin.


The Sunday News - January 20, 1924


The Evening Post
January 23, 1924
Click to Enlarge

At some point, Miss Gibbon's association with the Charleston Theatre ended. For awhile, Sims of Orangeburg ran it, also Cook from Walterboro - all fizzled out.

The Charleston Theatre closed in 1926. It remained unoccupied for several years. It was purchased by Mr. Basil Kerr. In 1931, after some remodeling, he opened the building as the Palace Theatre.


The News & Courier
November 28, 1937

From an article, "Maud Gibbon Learns Art of Fixing Fiddles."

Miss Maud Winthrop Gibbon

Miss Gibbon and Mrs. Martha Laurens Patterson founded the Charleston Symphony Orchestra in 1936. One quote from an interview by Emily Downs in 2008, with Martha Scherer Alfee, a retired oboist and English horn player, gives some insight into the character of Miss Gibbon. In the interview Alfee described playing in Charleston in the 1940s.

She said, "A lot of times I went down to Charleston to play concerts with the orchestra there, and that was really pretty neat because they would give you a first class train ticket, with a bunk bed at night. There was a woman who was in charge of the symphony orchestra, Maude Gibbon was her name, and she repaired cellos--she was a real character. She printed the orchestra programs in her garage, upstairs—she set the type. She made as good looking programs as any place right now. It was really kind of neat to go to Charleston, SC to play."


John McCormack


McCormack on stage


The Evening Post
January 11, 1924

Live Concerts and Motion Pictures
Given at Charleston Theatre

The Charleston Theatre was to be the site of live performances. Among the talent booked for the theater was John McCormack, "The World's Most Famouns Lyric Tenor." McCormack was scheduled to appear on January 17, 1924. Tickets for this performance ranged from $3 to $5.

If you would like to know more about John McCormack and hear him singing, CLICK HERE for an NPR program about him.


The Evening Post - January 12, 1924

The fare at the Charleston Theatre was mixed. During the same week as the concert by McCormack, the theatre was exhibiting the film "Broken Wing," a 1923 production described in the local advertisement as "one of the best ever shown in Charleston." This was Miriam Cooper's last film. She starred in such classics as "Birth of a Nation" and "Intolerence." She considered "Broken Wing" to be a horrible film.

The feature film, as well as the comedy short, "Three Cheers" were accompanied by the Amme's Orchestra.

We don't know the exact seating of the Charleston Theatre, but the advertisement states that "At the Children's Matinee on Saturday, 1,000 Boy Scouts and Girl Guides will be the guests of the Charleston Theatre." The 1943 edition of Film Daily Yearbook lists the Palace Theatre, which later occupied the same building, as having 1,000 seats.

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