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I’ve added a color photo to CinemaTreasures of the Uptown taken about 1944 showing a huge crowd. I can’t tell what the movie was at the time and I’m only guessing at the date by looking at the cars. I also added a bw photo of the Boone Theatre from just after WWII.
To clarify my earlier posting: My father, Rex P. Barrett ran the Cozy theatre shortly after arriving in Columbia in 1921 after purchasing the old Odeon. Dad had been in the movie theatre business with his father Frank Barrett in Granby, Missouri during high school and after WWI. The movie theatre in Granby was named the Cozy.
After obtaining his AB degree in 1928, Dad sold the Cozy in Columbia to his competition and bought a movie house in Bloomington, Indiana. But he soon returned to Columbia and was retained to supervise the construction, equipping and furnishing of the new Missouri Theatre and to manage the operation. In 1935 after finishing his PhD in Economics he resigned from the Missouri Theatre and remodeled the Cozy into the Uptown and joined the new theatre chain Commonwealth Amusement Co.
My father, Rex P. Barrett, built and operated the Uptown Theatre. He negotiated with the owners of Commonweath Amusement about joining the chain. Rex had completed the PhD in Economics at the University of Missouri in 1934 but decided he could make more money in the theatre business. Rex was no stranger to the movie business as his father operated movie theatres as early as 1915. While attending school, Rex worked as the assistant manager of the Missouri Theatre for the owners.
Rex’s deal with Commonwealth gave him a one-fourth ownership and he also retained the profits from the concession stand, which my grandparents operated as a separate entity from the theatre. In return Commonwealth helped with the remodel job and Rex no longer had to travel to Kansas City and bid for movies since Commonwealth did it for him and took three quarters of the net profit from ticket sales.
My father, Rex P. Barrett, built the Uptown Theatre in Columbia and joined a new theatre chain that was forming called Commonwealth Amusement out of Kansas City. This was sometime after 1934. Dad kept a one-fourth ownership in the Uptown and eventually in all the theatres in Columbia. He kept the concession in the Uptown and my grandparents ran that for a while. Later Dad also built the Boone Theatre in Columbia. I grew up going to both theatres. Then the competition decided to sell out sometime while I was in Junior High about 1950 I’d guess. Commonwealth and Dad bought the Missouri, the Hall and the Varsity Theatres. I worked in all those theatres and in the Broadway Drive in during High School and college 1950-1960. I knew Doug Lightner and Darrel Manes because they both worked a while in Columbia while my father was city manager. Dick O'Rear started with the company as a young kid and worked his way up over the years to President. All the higher up guys who worked in the central office got golden parachutes when the chain was broken and sold.
CochranIII: John Cochran and I went to High School together. He was two years younger and my brother’s age. The two of them went through scouting together and both earned the Eagle Award from the same Scout Troop 3 in Columbia. John and Larre kept touch with each other over the years until recently. John’s mother was a good friend to my mother. I remember when John became so interested in the theatre business and decided to make it a life’s work. I too remember the theatre in Waynesville also and saw it flooded one time. My older brother managed there but left Commonwealth and moved to Arizona.