Frolic Theatre (Bessemer)

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This article is about the Bessemer theater. For the Birmingham theater, see Frolic Theater.

The Frolic Theatre was a Vaudeville theater and cinema open to African-American audiences which was located at 1914-1918 1st Avenue North in Bessemer from the 1920s to the early 1950s. It had formerly operated in the 1910s as the Dixie Theatre.

The Frolic was owned and operated by Ben Jaffe's Steel Cities Amusement Company, which also operated the Palace Theatre in Ensley. In a July 1927 letter advertising the year-old Palace for sale, Jaffe related that it and Frolic were part of the same stop for the T.O.B.A. circuit, with the live shows playing in Bessemer on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday while the Ensley house played pictures, and then vice-versa on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Sam Raine later purchased the theater. In November 1949 he started a fire in the office by striking a match after cleaning grease off his hands with gasoline. Raines' hands were badly burned, and the office suffered $2,000 in damages, but the theater itself was able to continue operating.


  • Jaffe, Ben (July 25, 1927) Letter to Ben Stein, Macon, Georgia. Theater Records Series, Charles Henry Douglass, Jr. Business Records, 1906-1967, Middle Georgia Archives, presented in the Digital Library of Georgia - accessed September 21, 2019
  • "Theater Man Burned in Bessemer Blaze" (November 16, 1949) The Birmingham News