Malco, which owned the Crosstown,
wasn't pleased with the cash flow, but didn't want to let
anybody else run it for fear of the competition, so they
let it sit vacant for awhile in the late 70s.
They were looking for a way to unload it to someone who
wouldn't use it a movie theater. Enter the Jehovah's Witnesses. By
1983, they had taken over not only the theater for a conference
center, but the entire surrounding block for offices, classrooms, and
so forth. They left the marquee and the huge vertical "Crosstown"
sign in place. In 2005, after the photo above was taken, the
vertical marquee was removed and destroyed, and the church began
constructing a new look (awful) to replace the marquee.
The Crosstown is listed in the 1955-1957 Memphis Directories..