At 1:00pm on October 4, 1941 the Florida Theatre opened it’s doors to the public for the first time. The features that day were “Ringside Maisie” starring Anne Sothern, and a midnight opening of “A Yank in the R.A.F.” starring Tyrone Power and Betty Grable. Admission was $.40 for adults, $.10 for children, and popcorn was just a nickel! Air conditioning and a slanted floor in the auditorium, for better viewing, were some of the innovations the Florida Theatre featured.
In 1962 Robert and Barbara Barksdale purchased the theatre. For the next decade the theatre ran pretty much as it always had. Then in 1972 the Barksdales remodeled the theatre. This included enclosing the area between the box office and the lobby, as well as moving the concession stand underneath the stairway.
Then in 1984 Lee and Vicki Sparks purchased the Florida Theatre from the Barksdales. They had big plans for the old movie house. Almost everything would be remodeled. The new concession stand, now more than twice as large as the old, would return almost to it’s original position across the lobby. The mono sound system would be replaced by a state-of-the-art Dolby Digital Surround system. A new projection booth was added in the auditorium, and both the upstair and downstair projection booths would have a platter based film delivery system installed. The single theatre would become a duplex and now be called the Florida Twin Theatre.
In more recent years the Florida Twin Theatre has been featured in the local area news paper articles like this one from the Gainesville Sun, published in January 1999. Later in 1999 the Florida Twin Theatre added a dot-com to it’s name to allow the public access to theatre information via the internet.
It has always been the Florida Twin Theatre’s goal to bring you a great movie going experience. From clean, comfortable auditoriums to fresh concessions at a great price, we strive to make sure that your time at the movies is the best it can be!