Showing 51 - 65 of 65 comments
I was assistant manager at the Esquire when it closed for the last time. I have been backstage at the Esquire. The stage was very small and that I know of, there weren’t any dressing rooms. So, I too would think that the Esquire was strictly a movie house. I know that back in its heyday, it was used as an overflow house tor Tower/Pantages. We had a pretty short run that last time. We opened and closed in just 4 weeks. I was given to understand that the ground that the theatres stood on was divided up like this. The long lobby of the Tower and most of the Esquire belonged to one owner. This excluded the stage area of the Esquire. The stage of the Esquire and the rest of the Tower belonged to another owner. There was no for one theatre to stay if the other was being demolished. Sad.
Interesting. The chandelier shown in this picture had been removed and was replaced by a spotlight used by the cleaning crew after hours. This was in the 1950’s when I worked there.
This is a photo of the main lobby before the concession stand was added. The double doors lead into the foyer. The fountain area was removed when the concession stand was added. Thanks again to Charmaine Zoe for sharing these photos.
I want to thank Charmaine Zoe for sharing these pictures with us.
This photo is actually the downstairs lounge showing a drinking fountain and the north stairs leading to the foyer outside the first floor auditorium. The rest rooms are off to the right in this picture.
Thanks for the info.
I can remember the KIMO in the 1950’s as an art house. I can recall them Playing the “RED SHOES” for something like 5 or 6 months. It was at that time operated by the Dickinson Theater chain.
I can remember going to the Missouri and seeing a movie and sitting in the front row by the Orchestra pit to see a “Blackstone, the magician” show around 1950, I think. He made a canary in a small cage disappear and I got to check his coat sleeves to make sure he didn’t have it there.
I just want to comment on the Plaza’s seating capacity as a former employee. Before the theatre was cut up into 3 screens, and before they put in the extra large screen for “The Guns of Naveronne, 70mm engagement which brought the screen out in front of the arch and covered the orchestra pit, and the removal on the organ, the seating was 1800, 600 hundred in the balcony, and 1200 on the 1st floor.
I also have some memories of the stage shows they had there from time to time. One in particular, was the appearance of Dunninger, a mind reading act. The lady who would rent the theatre, didn’t generally use ushers. But I told the assistant mgr.I would work for free, if I could see the show, and she agreed. We went up to the balcony, which was closed, and watched the show, which was sold out on the 1st floor. The guy working with me was a skeptic, and thought that Dunninger was using plants in the audience. After the show, we went back stage to meet him. He was very nice to us. He explained to my friend that he was a mind reader, and could only tell what you knew in your mind, and was not a clairvoyant. He asked my friend if he knew how much change was in his change his pocket. My friend didn’t know, but he went off to check it. When he came back, Dunninger looked at him and said, “39 cents”. The guys jaw dropped and he said,“That’s right”. I don’t, to this day, know how he did it, but I was impressed.
It was also renamed to the Comet Theatre, I think in the late 1940’s or early 50’s. After it closed, it was used as a union hall. It was a neighborhood theatre for me, and I spent many Friday nights there. I remember the child ticket price was 14 cents. The cashier had a big bowl of pennies to make change with.
The address for the Bijou is wrong. It was on the east side of Prospect. So it couldn’t be “5002”. The address would have ended in an odd number. This was a neighborhood theatre of mine, and I grew up there in the 1940’s and 50’s. The theatre started out as the Bijou and was renamed later to the Linda. Not the other way around.
I was an usher at the Plaza for about 3 yrs in the mid1950’s. I have some great memories of the theatre as a single screen. It was a sub-run theatre back then, meaning we got the movies 28 days after they left the 1st run houses. I remember the week we played “The man who knew too much” with James Stewart. I have never seen a movie grip an audience like that one did. We were sold out on Saturday nite, and the movie had the audience in its grip. When something on the screen exciting happened, the entire audience would gasp as if it was one person. No one would get out of their seats to get popcorn. It was quite and experience.
A friend of mine used to manage the Blair in the early 1960’s. Commonwealth amusement was running the theatre and my friend worked for them. There was also a Drive-in at Belleville. The ran the drive-in in the summertime and the Blair in the wintertime. This was, of course, before the days of cable tv and daylight saving time. So the drive-in could or probably is, long gone. Sorry, I don’t remember the name of the drive-in, but I do remember seeing “The Misfits”, with Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe.
I was an assistant mgr at the Fairway about 1958. It was a very comfortable theatre to work in, as well at to watch a movie in. I learned a lot about show business from my manger, Roy Hill. He was a good showman and was doing the group advertising in the K C Star. Those were great days at the Fairway.