Leachman Theatre

424 S. Main Street,
Stillwater, OK 74074

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Leachman Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened in June 1948, the Leachman Theatre was considered to be the glamorous and exciting place to take a date. The interior featured Art Deco style murals in dramatic shades including gold, mauve and purple. A gold velvet curtain highlighted the screen. This theatre also featured marble flooring and wall trim as well as deco wall sconces. It was the grandest theater in this area. According to a former employee, the theatre was so advanced the movie could be started from the snack bar.

When the owner died, it fell into the hands of his daughters who turned it over to Carmike management. The Leachman family wouldn’t allow any R-rated movies which proved to be the kiss of death. In the 1970’s and early-1980’s many of the money makers were R-rated movies.

Sadly, the theater closed in the 1980’s and is now a furniture store. Much of the interior is intact and people frequently stop to take a look.

Contributed by brentclarkf

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

RonnyJones on July 27, 2005 at 12:17 am

I believe the architect of the Leachman was Jack Corgan and Associates of Dallas, Texas who designed many theatres for Video Independent Theatres in those days. Video partnered with local theatreman Claude Leachman in the ownership. Video was purchased by Martin Theatres in 1984 which lated became Carmike Cinemas.

kencmcintyre on December 20, 2006 at 1:39 pm

I must have missed Stillwater on my Route 66 trip this summer. I would have liked to see this theater. Here is a description of some mayhem at the Leachman on August 7, 1956:

Bloody Youth Screams Wild Crazy Threats

Brandishing a long-barreled .22 caliber revolver, a blood-spattered teenager in tee shirt and blue jeans terrorized employees at a late movie last night. The unidentified youth fired one shot at night house manager Keith Eaton, 21, before fleeing. Capt. Glenn Shirley of the Stillwater Police Department told this story:

A boy, described as about 16 years old, argued with Mrs. Yvonne Lacey, a cashier at the Leachman Theater. The boy claimed that Ms. Lacey “shortchanged” him 25 cents. Climbing onto the roof of the theater marquee, the boy screamed into the window of the theater office, apparently to the manager, “You will pay for this.” Then he climbed down and raced three blocks away to Murphy’s Sports Shop where he broke a glass door with a rock and took a .22 caliber revolver and ammunition from a display case. Returning to the theater, he jammed the pistol into Larry Bass, an usher, and commanded him to lead the way to the manager’s office. At the top of the stairs, they were met by Eaton who said the youth fired between his legs, then turned and fled.

flatwins on May 16, 2007 at 12:39 pm

My mother’s maiden name is Leachman and I’m pretty sure Claude Leachman was my grandfather’s cousin. I also worked for the completely awful Carmike Cinemas while a student at OSU in the late 80’s. Around 1990 Carmike was getting ready to vacate the Leachman after using it as their district office. The old place needed some water leak repair before returning it to the owners. I was part of the crew that repainted the the ceiling. I haven’t stepped foot in the place since then but I’m in Stillwater on a regular basis so maybe I’ll have a look.

kencmcintyre on May 16, 2007 at 12:50 pm

This April 2007 plan has the stated goal of turning the Leachman into a foreign film and live performance theater. They don’t say what will happen to the furniture store, or if the building is even for sale:

seymourcox on August 28, 2007 at 9:55 am

(1954) interior & (1962) exterior views can be viewed by typing in word “leachman” …
View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 25, 2009 at 10:23 pm

The June 12, 1948, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that the Leachman Theatre was scheduled to open on June 17. The house had already been under construction early that year, but completion had been delayed when a fire that gutted the Aggie Theatre in January destroyed equipment intended for use in the Leachman that had been stored on the second floor of the Aggie building.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 17, 2010 at 1:16 am

Architect Jack Corgan’s rendering of the proposed Leachman Theatre appeared in Boxoffice’s “Just Off the Boards” feature for March 29, 1947. The theater as built differs somewhat from Corgan’s original design, which included an auditorium the full width of the building that would have seated 1,300.

A later issue of Boxoffice gives the house’s seating capacity as 1,100, but given that the width of the auditorium as built appears to have been reduced by almost a third from the original proposal, that seems a bit exaggerated.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on August 18, 2010 at 10:04 pm

From 2010 a photo of the LeachmanTheater building in Stillwater.

martyfulk on January 10, 2011 at 7:20 pm

I worked at the Leachman from 1969-1974. It was a grand theater. I knew Claud & his wife. She would come to the first matinee of most movies and sit in the balcony. The marque was an upright with ladders built into the building. Changing movies in winter on the north side was quite an experience. The chain was Video-Leachman Theatres and the home office was at Lee & Sheridan in Oklahoma City.

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