Crest Theater

4825 E. Douglas Avenue,
Wichita, KS 67218

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Lyndon on November 23, 2013 at 12:40 pm

The Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum has a thread of memories about the Crest

kwilkin1962 on January 13, 2013 at 2:07 pm

I’m not sure about “Commonwealth” being on the floor, but it was definitely in the center of the marquee. It also had a giant “S” ( for Sullivan Theatres) in the middle of the terrazzo floor in the lobby. This was my favorite theatre of them all. I saw my first movie there, “Smoky” about a horse, in 1967. What I remember most was the sunken lounge area behind the concession stand. The restrooms and the offices were located there also. I also remember the murals depicting Wichita history inside the auditorium. I did some microfilm research and found that the Wichita Beacon on January 15, 1950 included a special commemorative program heralding the new theatre. The first movie shown there was “The Heiress” starring Olivia de Havilland and Montgomery Clift on January 17, 1950.

tutorgirl on December 27, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Went to the Crest in ‘50s and early '60s. Did it have a terrazzo logo on the floor with a shock of wheat with the word “Commonwealth”?

Tinseltoes on July 6, 2012 at 8:27 am

Another 1950 trade article: boxoffice

Tinseltoes on July 4, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Grand opening in January, 1950: boxoffice

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 3, 2012 at 3:37 pm

May 15 1974 has “BUSTING” playing at 7;30 and 9;30.

JD1940 on February 28, 2012 at 1:43 am

I officed in this theatre during part of my tenure as City Manager for the Commonwealth and later United Artists Theatres. As mentioned above, United Artists closed the theatre and turned off all utilities. That made ever reopening the theatre impossible as it had an artesian spring in the the office area which soon flooded the lower area of the theatre when the sump pump ceased to function. The main floor was reseated in the early 80’s to provide more comfortable seating but the theatre was not able to compete once the multiplex operations entered the scene.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Linkrot repair: Here is the October 7, 1950, Boxoffice page with the Heywood-Wakefield ad featuring two photos of the Crest Theatre.

Bonus link: The architect’s rendering of the Crest, as featured in Boxoffice of December 4, 1948.

keysenior on October 5, 2011 at 5:28 am

In the 1950s there was an usher’s dressing room down front at the left side of the screen. It could be reached from a tunnel that went under the theater from the front to the back. The uniforms were cleaned weekly and very smart

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 3, 2010 at 1:22 am

A view of the auditorium is one of two photos of the Crest featured in an ad for Heywood-Wakefield theater seats in Boxoffice of October 7, 1950.

keysenior on August 26, 2009 at 7:15 am

I was an usher at the Crest, 1953-1955. When a patron, like a doctor, wanted to be paged if they had a call, they filled out a little card and we noted where they were sitting. If they got a call we went and got them (usuall a good tip followed). The Crest showed a couple of 3D movies while I was working there. Because, they had to use both projectors for 3D, they had an intermission to change the film.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on July 8, 2009 at 12:42 pm

The Boller Brothers architectural records agree with you Joe. Robert O. Boller and Dietz Lusk Jr. are listed as the architects of the Crest Theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 5, 2009 at 7:02 pm

Construction had not yet begun on the Crest when the December 4, 1948, issue of Boxoffice published Robert Boller’s rendering of the front. The firm name was not Boller Brothers, though. Carl Boller had died in 1946, and by the time the Crest was built Robert Boller was associated with Dietz Lusk in the Kansas City firm of Boller & Lusk.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 30, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Here are more 1985 night photos:



Lost Memory
Lost Memory on May 24, 2009 at 2:43 pm

This is another 1984 photo.

kpdennis on April 26, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Chuck, you must be correct. I started working for United Artists in 1989, right after they purchased the Commonwealth chain. They went on a closing spree, and I’m sure this single-screen house was easy to walk away from. Too bad it couldn’t hang on!

kpdennis on April 25, 2009 at 12:52 am

Not the greatest photos, but here’s the Crest in 1989 – with a hit on their hands!
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Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 10, 2008 at 4:16 pm

In 1955 the Crest had 1,200 seats.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 20, 2007 at 8:35 am

I found this info in The Wichita Eagle. “The Crest Theater closed in 1989 but was still used for political campaigns, wrestling and boxing matches and for live country-and-western musical shows. It was demolished in 1997”.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 16, 2007 at 4:55 pm

The description needs to be changed. The Crest Theater opened in Jan. of 1950 and closed in 1989.

keysenior on August 28, 2006 at 9:59 am

I worked at the Crest Theater while in highschool, 1952-1955. The manager was Mr. Hunt. The Crest was a Sullivan theater. I made fifty cents and hour. Wow!

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 21, 2005 at 5:55 pm

I found two opening dates for this theater. One is 1948 and the other is 1950. Anyone know the correct year?
Here is a photo of the Crest Theater:
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