I grew up on the outside edge of Birmingham, before all the growth and malls and cinemaplexes. If you shopped you went downtown for most everything. You didn't just run to the local discount store around the corner every other day, you took your trips sparingly and with purpose. We often went during the week by catching a bus down the street. We would walk up and down the blocks shopping in the several story department stores. The Alabama would offer afternoon shoppers matinees. After a long day of walking in the heat or cold my Mom would sometimes take us in there to recover and to wait until it was close to time for my Father to get off from work and come by and pick us all up. It was like walking in to some fairytale castle or something. I was as a child in awe, it was so big and fancy - beautiful, you felt like it would be easy to get lost in there and enjoy every minute of it. Watched my first Elvis movies there and many other now classics. There were other theaters downtown but this was the most elaborate of them all. As cities grew and spread out and the more convenient shopping plazas drew folks out to the suburbs and those little mini multiple theaters popped up folks seemed to forget about the downtown business. Those who loved the Alabama didn't forget her - they still tried to show regular current movies there but while fighting to keep her going they realized what a beautiful gem they had one of few such places left and so they decided to take the needed measures to repair and refresh her. Lot of time and money and volunteers was used to bring her back to her early glory. She was reopened and is now used for weddings, concerts, and many special occasions. They also continue to show classic movies in seasonal series which allows the public to come in and see and explore it.
There are wonderful stairs winding up to the multiple balcony levels, box seats, gorgeous lighting structures, the restrooms are down other beautiful stairways and it displays what the rest part of the word was meant for - spacious lobby and antique seating outside the also nice other reason you would come down there. It is so tempting you mind think of just staying there during the movie if you were afraid you would miss another treasure in this showplace.The restrooms upstairs are not as large in the balcony but just as beautiful. Everything is elegant and stylish and today even as a grown woman I still feel like I have entered a fairyland castle that I can't wait to wonder thru and explore.
Is a part of history and of a life style that once was and should be shared with many generations and cultures of people that might not ever had a chance had the Friends of The Alabama not stood up and made sure like a few others have done around the country. Before every movie the grand Wurlitzer Organ rises from the depths of the theaters main floor and everyone is invited to sing along with a few songs before the movie. This is one of the few working ones left. It has always been apart of events there and altho there were a few long standing organist thru the years famous for playing it, especially in the earlier years when they were still showing current films they would often allow other strong younger musicians a chance to play before a showing and those who did still proudly list that on their resume'. Check out their schedule to catch a movie there or other event and even consider having a large wonderful special time there and renting areas. If you go to a movie arrive very early - walk up and down the sidewalk outside and see the famous Alabamians in the Stars Walk Of Fame in front and for more than a block. Also allow time to wander thru and see all of it's greatness then grab some concessions and find a great seat and take in the overwhelming beauty surrounding you until the Mighty Wurlitzer begins to roar and rise up. .
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.