Photos from the Lexington Herald-Leader archives updated daily

Ben Ali Theater, 1964

Posted on October 30, 2017 | in Uncategorized | by

The Ben Ali Theater in June 1964, after it was announced that the downtown Lexington landmark was sold for $200,000 and would be torn down to make way for a parking lot. The razing of the 50-year-old theater reduced the number of downtown first-run movie houses to three: the Strand, the Kentucky and the Cinema. Opened in 1913 at 121 East Main Street, across the street from the Phoenix Hotel, the theater was four stories tall. It had a main auditorium, a balcony and a gallery, and 12 private boxes on each side, for a total seating capacity of 1,507. The floors had peacock-blue carpets with gold trim, and the walls were finished in ornamental plaster, with mosaic title floors and marble wainscoting. The stage was equipped with an asbestos curtain, to prevent the spread of a fire. Built to house the top traveling play companies and grand opera, it was a vaudeville house in that medium’s heyday and again in the revival of the late 1940s and early 1950s. The Ben Ali closed Sept. 9, 1964. Its last films were the James Bond movie “From Russia with Love” and “The Pink Panther.” It was torn town in 1965. Today it is the site of the Robert F. Stephens Courthouse Plaza. Published on June 16, 1964, in the Lexington Leader. Herald-Leader Archive Photo

TAGS: , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.

Photo reprints

See a photo that you would like to have a reprint of? All photos that appear in this blog can be purchased from
MyCapture .


 Follow us on Twitter