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The magnificent Tennessee Theatre first opened its doors on October 1, 1928 and was hailed as “the South’s most beautiful theatre.” When the first patrons stepped inside downtown’s “movie palace” to see their favorite stars on the silver screen, they paid only 40 cents for matinees and 60 cents for evening shows (children paid only 10 and 15 cents).
Designed by Chicago architects Graven & Mayger, the Theatre has a Spanish-Moorish style interior that incorporates elements from all parts of the world: Czechoslovakian crystals in the French-style chandeliers, Italian terrazzo flooring in the Grand Lobby, and Asian influences in the carpet and drapery patterns. It was one of the first public places in Knoxville to have air-conditioning.