Tennessee Theatre celebrates 85 years

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) The Tennessee Theatre celebrates 85 years of entertainment this month, and it's inviting the community in to celebrate Friday.

The theatre will open its doors to the public for a First Friday open house from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Tours will be held sending guests back in time to the theatre's opening in 1928.

It was built by Paramount as part of the "movie palace" era that ended with Radio City Music Hall.

"Around 1929, you know, we've got the Great Depression. But this theatre was built, was finished and served as that escape for all of those folks during those really difficult days," said Executive Director Tom Cervone.

Today it serves a similar purpose.

"People make a choice to come in, and forget about life for awhile, as Billy Joel once said," said Cervone.

Guests will hear just a sample of what the theater has to offer Friday night with swing music played by Old City Buskers in the grand lobby and a performance by house organist Bill Snyder.

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett will be on hand at six p.m. to present a proclamation, declaring "Tennessee Theatre Day."

Complimentary wine will be served, and backstage tours will leave from the lobby every half hour and will highlight the history of the theatre and its restoration in 2005.

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