Opening just nine months after the United States entered the second World War, the 1942 American Theater is a beautiful example of the Art Moderne style. The theatre was named the American “in honor of service men, war workers and Americans all over the nation whose efforts are being bent toward victory over the axis powers.”
The 900 seat theater was the youngest of Charleston’s five movie houses along the historic and commercial hub of King Street, joining the Garden, Sotille, Riviera, and the Liberty, which technically was just off of King on Liberty Street.
The first reel to run was “Joan of Ozark” starring Judy Caonova. Due to war-time rations on metal, air conditioning was not installed despite the heat and humidity of the deep South. Huge fans were incorporated into walls and ceiling of the auditorium to provide ventilation.
With the baby boom of the post war years, Charleston…
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