2009-09-15

Carib Theatre, Clearwater, FL - 1954

The Carib Theatre was one of the last “Dream Palace” theaters built in Florida. It was located at 1148 Cleveland St. in Clearwater, FL. It must have held 1000 people. The Caribbean facade on this theater is spectacular — even as a kid I was fascinated with it. The coral stucco on the front wall sets it off perfectly. It reminds me of those pictoral maps you see in 1950s guide books.

I recall going to many films here in the late 60s/early 70s — there was a giant red velvet curtain that opened revealing a Panavision screen. For the Panavision releases, there was two projectors running at the same time, each projecting 1/2 of the picture; left and right. They would spend some time at the beginning of the film lining them up. The motif on the very high walls were of Egyptians, involved in daily activities. There was also balcony seating. And in 1954 - it cost all of ¢.40 for the late show.


Well this slide has it all! A pair of Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcars float along on clouds of floral vinyl accompanied by red lightning bolts. The Air-Force wings logo bring up the rear as southern Belles and enlisted men wave to the crowd. Barbara Stanwyck and Ronald Reagan would be proud! Pepsi-Cola must have partnered with the Air Force Reserve and sponsored this amazing Parade float which was in this 1954 Fun ’n Sun Parade. It somehow fits in with the Carib's Marquee.

Another view facing west down Cleveland St. The ROTC band girls look so serious. Wouldn't it be fun to drive that train around late on a Saturday night and freak out all the drunks driving home from the clubs? Cattle Queen of Montana is the movie playing today. The tagline: She strips off her petticoats . . . and straps on her guns !

Carib Theatre in Miami. Note the similar facade depicting the Caribbean basin.


An ad from the Clearwater Sun from November 21, 1963. The movie shown is in Technicolor® Panavision®! It was probably originally a Wometco theater; it was bought by Floyd Theaters, broken up into two smaller rooms, and eventually became a budget theater. It played its last picture in 1983, being unprofitable, probably due to the multiplexes in the malls east of town. I don't know what happened to the great sign when it was demolished, but I hope it survived. The one in Miami didn’t. (This paper was saved because Jack Kennedy was in Tampa the day before, and on the 22nd was fatally shot in Dallas.)

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6 comments:

  1. This is priceless stuff.... I hope you have more of it for future enjoyment. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. i lived in clearwater from 1949-1975 i went to the carib theater whe it first opened,it was really something back then, clearwater was so different then,it was a great place to grow up in,they used to have saturday morning movie club, they gave prizes to people in the audienceit was a exciting time. wilson ball

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  3. My mother and I lived near Northward Elementary in 1981, and we would walk down to the Carib every week for a movie. They played the National Anthem before every showing, some people would stand, some wouldn't. I remember my mother smoking Salem 100's and the arm rest ashtrays. Distinctly remember the opening of "Time Bandits". 99 cents for the movie in the smaller room, I believe? I'm desperately trying to find ANY pictures of the Carib in the late 70's/early 80's, both interior and exterior. any links, attachments or a point in the right direction would be appreciated!

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  4. From 1957 to today, I lived in Clearwater. The walls of the Carib were saved by the bank and showed "artistic nude" silloettes in the 1930's style depicting the progress of light and sound up to modern movies.
    I loved looking at them while waiting for the movie.

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  5. You say the bank saved them? Do you know where they are now?

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