Orpheum Theater

1513 Welton Street,
Denver, CO 80202

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RKO Orpheum Theater

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The original Orpheum Theatre was built in 1903 as a vaudeville theatre. It was demolished in 1930 to build this new Orpheum Theatre which opened February 11, 1932. Taken over by RKO and modernised several times. In 1955 after a modernisation by architect John J. McNamara, the seating capacity was for 2,600.

Remodeled again in around 1964, the seating capacity was reduced to 1,200 when it reopened as the RKO International 70. It was closed September 10, 1967, and subsequently was demolished.

Contributed by TC

Recent comments (view all 17 comments)

William on March 8, 2007 at 5:50 pm

Yes, I believe so about the remodel and renaming. During the mid 40’s the RKO Orpheum Theatre seated 2600 people.

William on March 9, 2007 at 2:08 pm

After the remodeling into the RKO International 70 Theatre the seating capacity was reduced to 1200 people. The theatre closed 09/10/1967.

William on March 11, 2007 at 7:12 pm

The RKO Orpheum Theatre went through a remodel in 1955, the architect was John J. McNamara. The seating capacity was still 2600 seats till it was remodeled for the International 70.

Ziggy on May 7, 2007 at 6:14 pm

The fourth photo that ken posted on March 5, 2006, shows the original marquee just before opening day. It also shows someone being hung if effigy! Any ideas on who it might be? “Old Man Depression” maybe? Guesses anyone?

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on March 2, 2008 at 5:03 pm

Some Mighty WurliTzer Theater Pipe Organs must have been “Born under a wondering star”! As best as can be figured out from incomplete 94 year old records, Opus 34 first went out as Opus 16 to an unknown place in Cincinnati, Ohio, was reposessed and then went to this theater. It became Opus 34 and was a 2 Manual/7 Rank and it somehow became Opus 57. At least that’s as best as I can figure it out! At any rate it is not known what happened to the organ.
Opus 1764 was also a 2/7 and it is not known what happened to it either.
If you know anything about what happened to either organ, please email us!

“Gee Dad, they were both WurliTzers!”

Coate on July 30, 2009 at 4:22 pm

While known as the International 70, this theater showed (single-strip) CINERAMA during 1965-66.

Denver’s complete CINERAMA exhibition history has been included in the “Remembering Cinerama” series and is posted here.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 21, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Here is a Boxoffice magazine spread on the theatre, with eight photos, from the issue of February 4, 1956:
View link

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on August 21, 2010 at 2:38 am

1964 photos show what the real theatre business was all about.sadly.that is gone today.

Anthony L. Vazquez-Hernandez
Anthony L. Vazquez-Hernandez on January 10, 2015 at 4:05 am

The original Orpheum, that was on this very same site (1537 Welton Street in those days) opened in October of 1903 at the cost of $200,000. It was completely demolished in 1930 and was subsequently replaced with the last Orpheum to occupy the site which opened on February 11th, 1932.

Obviously, this existing description needs to be changed and a few of the photos are of the original Orpheum while a few are from the new.

How should this be handled-a case where a theater was closed, demolished and completely rebuilt as a theater with the same name. Should a new listing for the old Orpheum be created? What do you all think???

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 10, 2015 at 12:54 pm

Anthony L. Vazquez-Hernandez: I have added a page for the original 1903 Orpheum Theatre.

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