Showing all 13 comments
Glad the street view feature has been added. In the view, you will see the side of a house, with a fenced back yard that has a large bush in it. The bush was once much smaller, and stood in a narrow median between the entrance drive and exit drive. The bush is thus an artifact from the drive-in.
The address matches the People’s Theater, which is listed here on Cinema Treasures. Lyric must have become the Peoples'. 1910 Sanborn fire map shows the Lyric (name is on the map), and indicates that the building had a balcony. Could this theater have been more substantial than a “small nickelodeon?” Another interesting note about this theater. The recently-built College Station Stadium 14 Theater, also listed here on Cinema Treasures, now stands where this theater did. Too, if the Empress/Liberty address given in that theater’s entry is correct, was where the College Station now is.
I found this interesting YouTube video that someone posted, of a 1988 drive through of Taylorville, IL. You can see the theater at 7:45-55. The owner of the film indicates when he drives past it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSmkxi9XoUc
This theater’s status should be changed to closed/demolished. The 200 block of N Jefferson Ave has been razed, and there is a bank building there, fairly new, and the building and its parking lot takes up that side of the block.
There is some error in the location of this theatre. I am not familiar with it, but Main St. in Springfield is a north-south thoroughfare, and the lowest street numbers are the 100s, which constitutes businesses on the square. Is there a way that this can be corrected?
I read a book about the tornado that hit Waco in 1953 that discusses this theatre. It was in a part of downtown Waco that took a direct hit from a major tornado. The roof collapsed, but it stayed intact. Its arched shape worked to protect the theatre patrons, and those trapped here fared better than those in adjacent buildings. Judging from that description, I would say that the theatre ceased its existence that day.
This theatre should be listed as closed/demolished. I used the Springfield-Greene County website and pulled up the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map for Commerical Street at this address. Springfield addresses went through a change in the late 1940s, and it can be difficult to pin down where things were. However, the fire insurance map shows the theatre, including the fact that it had a balcony. This is also the same place where the Princess Theatre was. I am not certain if it is the same building or not, but the site is the same one. I then pulled up the address from the county assessor page, and there is a vacant lot there. The two buildings surounding the old theatre are there, but the theatre itself is gone.
Other pictures of the Fox Theatre, when it was the Electric, can be found at:
There is an historical marker indicating where this theatre was, because the Ozark Jubilee was presented on its stage. This was a very important piece of mid-century history for Springfield, to have a nationally televised program originating here. The theatre building was demolished in or soon after 1961, when the theatre closed. Later, the entire block where the theatre stood was leveled and made into a little park. The marker can be found near the intersection of Jefferson and McDaniel in downtown Springfield. Auditorium picture here: View link
Exterior here: View link
Of all the theatres in town that I went to, this drive in was the one my family most often frequented during drive-in season. It was the closest theatre in town to our home. I can quite vividly remember it, though it has been gone for a quarter century. One entered the complex down a bush-lined drive that ran parallel to Broadway Avenue in Park Crest Subdivision. For a long time, and perhaps even now, bushes from this drive still exist in back yards of the subdivision that is there now. At the end of the long drive were ticket booths, and then the parking was to the left of this. In addition to the standard snack bar/projection booth complex, there was a small playground in front of the screen. People who I knew who lived in Park Crest subdivision, which surrounded the drive in on the north and east sides, remember watching movies from adjacent homes. Besides those bushes, nothing remains.
I saw Cloak and Dagger here in 1984 or 1985. I only saw this one movie here, but I drove past the theatre many, many times, as my stepmother’s folks lived just a short distance north of the building. It was a very eye-catching mid-century building. Sorry that another strip mall in Overland Park was more important than a unique theatre like this one was.
I did not go to this theatre a lot, but I do not remember it being what I would describe as “lavish.” However, I remember going to this theatre in its later years each time with a sense of the history of the place. Something this theatre had in its earlier days, my father once told me, was a crying room, for parents to take noisy children to as needed. The theatre had a side exit that came out to the left of the main doors as you exited. There were coming attractions cases in this small exterior passage. The cases are intact.
The front of the space where this theatre was located is pretty much intact. The ticket window is clearly there. I think there is a dance studio there now. I remember this theatre being there, though I was a kid at the time so never went in. The shopping center is called Park Crest, and I went to the Consumer’s Market and the Ben Franklin dime store in the center a lot. This town being a quite conservative place, it is not uncommon to hear someone speak of this notorious place even today (I think this place must have closed over a quarter century ago) as a bastion of evil!