Chicago native Sam Katz was president of the Publix Theatres Corporation (later Paramount Publix Corporation) and the driving force behind the company’s explosive growth. To Katz, the purpose of a well-run theater went far beyond entertainment in its value to the public. He declared, “A properly conducted theater is of the same importance to a community as a school or church. Such a theater contributes to the general welfare of the community, because wholesome recreation is essential to its well-being.”
By 1930, there were approximately 1,200 Publix movie houses in the U.S. and Canada, and more than two million people went to Publix theaters every day to see the biggest and best movies Hollywood had to offer. Under Katz’s leadership, the company prided itself on providing a consistently high level of entertainment in an environment of utmost civility and comfort, as reflected in the advertising slogan: “You don’t need to know what’s playing at a Publix House. It’s bound to be the best show in town.”
Other famous theatres in the Publix chain include The Tampa Theatre, Brooklyn Paramount Theatre, Carolina Theatre Greensboro, Olympia Theatre at Gusman Center in Miami and many more.
Jim Lewallen and Douglas Gomery, “Chronicling the Carolinas’ Theaters,” Marquee 18, no. 3 (1986): 3-6.
Douglas Gomery, “The Movies Become Big Business: Publix Theaters and the Chain Store Strategy” Cinema Journal V. 18, No. 2 (Spring 1979): 26-40.
Douglas Gomery, Shared Pleasures: A History of Movie Presentation in the United States, 1992.
“Samuel Katz Realizes Dream With Gigantic Movie Merger,” Charlotte Observer, March 6, 1927.
“Katz Will Give Public Service,” Charlotte Observer, March 6, 1927, p. 3 (quotes).