Orpheum & Chisca Paper Print
In 1927 the “New Orpheum” was built to replace the fire destroyed “Grand Orpheum” and to host vaudeville acts, variety shows, and some of the decades greatest entertainers. In the 1940s, motion pictures replaced vaudeville as preferred entertainment, and the Orpheum couldn’t survive the Great Depression. The Orpheum was purchased for just $75,000 and the theatre became the Malco, presenting first-run movies on its big screen.
In the 1970s many businesses had left downtown Memphis. The clubs of Beale Street succumbed to disrepair. Single-screen movie theaters were no longer profitable, and Malco decided to sell the Orpheum. Less than 50 years after its lavish revival, the theatre was in danger of demolition. A group of concerned citizens formed the Memphis Development Foundation to save the theatre in hopes of kick-starting a downtown reawakening.The foundation purchased the building, renamed it the Orpheum, and broadway shows soon returned.
The Orpheum Theatre also became one of the first buildings in Memphis to be added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The Hotel Chisca on South Main Street opened on Christmas Day in 1913. Constructed of concrete with a red brick facade, the nine story hotel was named for a Chickasaw Indian chief who had lived in the area before Hernando De Soto discovered the Mississippi River. Unlike the Peabody, the Chisca was considered a "second-tier" property, sturdy, solid, and well done. Billed as a "popular priced" hotel, it boasted 400 rooms, and catered to railroad travelers, employees, mule dealers, and entertainers.
In 1953, the WHBQ radio station relocated to the Hotel Chisca. From there, disc jockey Dewey Phillips, played Elvis' first recording, “That’s All Right, Mama” between 9:30-10:00 the night of July 8, 1954. Dewey played the record seven times in a row as Memphis listened and participated in the discovery of a new voice.
The following day the news reported…“The response was instantaneous! Forty-seven phone calls came in right away, along with fourteen telegrams — or was it 114 phone calls and forty-seven telegrams?!”
High-Quality, hand-signed, 11x14 print.
**Frame Not Included**