In 1933 the Pike Street Theatre opened with a fine Art Deco façade topped, incongruously, with clumsy roof supports for a grand sign. It closed as the Town Theatre in 1986, but for most of its life it was, as the sign says, the Roosevelt. Hanging inside to either side of the stage were large portraits of Franklin and Teddy – the presidential Roosevelts.
The likely date here is 1941. That spring the features playing in the Roosevelt’s double bill were both released. (If you are thinking of renting the video, “The Devil and Miss Jones”, a romantic comedy with Jean Arthur, Robert Cummings, Charles Coburn, and Edmund Gwenn has got much better reviews than “Model Wife.” Also for 1941, the Chevy’s rear end on the far left has that year’s curves.
In the 1941 city directory there are 44 motion picture theatres listed. Most of them – twenty-six – are out in the neighborhoods. As expected most of the downtown theatres are at its north end with the big retailers. Within three blocks of the Roosevelt, at 515 Pike Street, are nine others: the Blue Mouse, Capitol, Coliseum, Embassy, 5th Avenue, Music Box, Orpheum, Colonial, and Winter Garden theatres. If I have figured correctly, only the 5th Avenue survives – a venue for touring stage shows.
On this south side of Pike between 5th and 6th Avenue we find in the directory’s continuous street listings nine retailers. For “old time’s sake” we will name them starting at the 5th Avenue corner with Friedlander Jewelers and continuing east with Staider’s Delicatessen, Coast Radio, Michael and Coury Men’s Furnishing, Burt’s Jewelry Store (here just right of the Roosevelt,) Anderson’s Confections, and the once very popular Green Apple Pie Restaurant. Like McDonalds with hamburgers The Green Apple kept updating their sidewalk sign with how many pies they had sold. The Brewster Cigar Company completed the block.