The Cavern Theatre in Carlsbad, New Mexico opened in the fall of 1951 and was the social center of movie goers for many years. It now sits in silence—almost ghostly—on a corner filled with energies from its bygone patrons. The theatre was an example of modern art and could seat 520 movie lovers in the single screen auditorium. It has a basic box theatre design and housed a unique curved lobby. There were beautiful wall murals highlighting views of the caverns painted with black light paint which seemed to glow in the dark when the house lights went down. It boasts a multi-colored neon marquee. The theatre house lights were dimmed when they stopped showing movies in the 1990’s.
The Cavern Theatre is also rumored to hold spirit energy. Former workers report hearing strange noises after the crowds had departed for the night. While cleaning up the auditorium and lobby, they could hear movies playing. Nothing was ever on the screen, and the projector was never running. A group of theatre employees checked the projection room together and found everything turned off and in its place. Many other employees have witnessed similar occurrences.
As we speak, the theatre sits vacant needing continuing funds to complete renovation and to turn the ‘ghost’ into a community performance theater center where it will again become a showcase to Carlsbad. A January 2016 restoration report states the city crews has removed the old carpeting exposing the original chevron-pattern mosaic tile in the lobby! The marquee outside directs you to the Fiesta Drive-In Theatre still up and running in Carlsbad since 1949. Doomed to become a ghost itself in most American cities, the drive-in theatre is still an active social spot for Carlsbad families on weekends.
If you would like to help fund the restoration of this grand theatre visit Carlsbad Community Foundation who will gladly accept your tax deductible donation.
The Cavern Theatre
210 N Canyon Street
Carlsbad, NM 88220