Founded in 1915, M. A. Lightman and Co., now known as Malco Theaters, has been a Memphis staple and has become one of the largest family-owned movie theater companies in the US. The company has grown to operate in 6 states and has played an integral part in Memphis history. Malco has operated in some historic landmarks around the city, including the Orpheum and Crosstown, and became one of the first places in town to become integrated during the Civil Rights Movement.
While AMC and Regal have killed many family-operated theaters around the country, Memphis remains one of the last major cities with family-owned movie theaters. Right now, as you can see in the picture above by Mike Kerr, movie theaters are hurting, but you can help Malco stay alive by going to saveyourcinema.com and sending a letter to our legislators urging them to support the RESTART Act which calls for a new loan program that would cover payroll, benefits and fixed operating expenses for up to six months for businesses that have experienced significant revenue hits during the pandemic.
For more information about Malco Movie Theaters, you can purchase Vincent Astor’s book on the history of Memphis movie theaters here: https://www.amazon.com/