On this day in Alabama history: Legal action delays opening of the Lyric Theatre

On this day in Alabama history: Legal action delays opening of the Lyric Theatre
This view depicts Birmingham's Third Avenue North, looking eastward from 18th Street in 1959, when the thoroughfare was filled with movie palaces. The Lyric Theatre, now a performance space, is located at the far left. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photo courtesy of the Birmingham Public Library)

January 12, 1914

The Lyric suffered an ominous start to its opening in Birmingham when theater tycoon Karl Hoblitzelle, who may have had an interest in the Majestic, secured an injunction on this day over a disagreement on the Lyric’s opening acts. That action prevented its opening for two days, an event that was reported in the national entertainment magazine Variety. The theater, despite its tumultuous start, was one of the nicest theaters in the Magic City. The Lyric was a stop on the vaudeville circuit created by Benjamin Franklin Keith, who had used his time with P.T. Barnum’s circus to craft a unique brand of variety theater. In its early years, the Lyric hosted soon-to-be famous entertainers such as the Marx Brothers, Mae West, Sophie Tucker, Will Rogers, Jack Benny and many others.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama and Bhamwiki.

The Lyric Theatre in Birmingham, Jefferson County, in 1930. The venue opened in 1914 and was among the first theaters to allow African-Americans to attend films. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photo courtesy of the Birmingham Public Library)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

Related Stories