20th CENTURY
Johannesburg
CINEMA
SOUVENIRS
Designed by architects Cowin
and Ellis, the 20th Century
Theatre was situated at the
corner of  Von Brandis and
President Streets in
Johannesburg and was
opened on 15th March 1940 by
Mr. Harry Lawrence (Minister Of
The Interior of the Union Of
South Africa). It was the flagship
of 20th Century Fox and the
company's premiere  release
house in Johannesburg.
The decor could be described as 'modern contemporary' and certainly not
atmospheric.The auditorium was decorated by Ernest Ullmann who used a giant relief
map of the world on the auditorium walls as a symbolic figure of moving entertainment
covering the hemispheres.
The seating was accommodated in both stalls and circle sections.The spacious foyers
were luxuriously carpeted and with the introduction of Cinemascope in 1953, the
proscenium arch was enlarged and then sported magnificent edge-to-edge gold satin
curtains. The seating capacity of the 20th Century was 2048
The cinema was closed and the original building totally demolished in the 1970s to
make way for a very unattractive single-storey building housing a number of shops.
From street corner level the large
glass entrance doors to the
downstairs foyer gave an
atmosphere of space, light and
sleek elegance to the cinema
The attractive cover of the Souvenir
Programme issued to the invited
audience at the opening of the cinema
on 15th March 1940