Esquire Theatre

213 W. Randolph Street,
Enid, OK 73701

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1937 photo credit Oklahoma Historical Society.

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Contributed by Lauren Grubb

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

Mike Marshall
Mike Marshall on May 28, 2012 at 7:04 am

Fantastic information from the high school yearbooks! Were you looking specifically for information about theatres in them or was it one of those “happy coincidences”? Regardless of the reason, thanks for sharing it. My research so far says the Aztec opened in 1927 but it may have been earlier. Also, the Griffith Amusement Company operated the Aztec, Chief and Cherokee theatres in the 1940’s and early 1950’s.

Mike Marshall
Mike Marshall on May 28, 2012 at 9:09 pm

My research on the Aztec is not yet complete but I have a special interest in the building as I’ll explain later. Here’s what I know so far. The Aztec opened in 1927 at 215 W. Randolph in the same location as the photo above. It was originally at least a four-story building. Currently there is no 215 W. Randolph. The former theater space is 213 and the building next door to the west is 217. The Aztec building burned in March of 1969 but, even before that, the structure may have already been downsized to two stories. It operated as the Aztec until 1951 and was managed by the Griffith Amusement Company from 1933 until 1949 and by Griffith’s successor, Video Independent Theaters from 1950 until 1980. The Aztec ceased operation in 1951 or 1952 and became the Esquire Theater after that. In 1940 and 1943 the theater had 815 seats and in 1950 it was listed with 1,147 seats, probably because of the addition of a balcony. Griffith and Video Independent listed their Enid offices at various times as 213 and 215 W. Randolph. A group of us in Enid are attempting to bring back the Esquire Theater as a sub-run, multi-use operation. As part of that effort, we are doing as much research as possible concerning all of the old theaters in Enid. We’ll continue to post information as it becomes available.

Mike Marshall
Mike Marshall on May 28, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Not to quibble, but both of the links in the 10/07/07 posts are coming up as dead links for me so I’m not sure what they showed when the posts were placed on the Cinema Treasures site. The person who originally made the comment about “the Cubist style building with the green awning” in the 03/08/11 post mis-identified the location of the Aztec. The street view that comes up is looking north toward the opposite side of W. Randolph which would be across the street and a bit to the west from the correct location of the Aztec. The only theater located on the north side of West Randolph in that block was the Arcadia at 226 W. Randolph. And the only link to the Oklahoma Historical Society (01/27/07) shows seven photos when the phrase “Aztec Theatre” is typed in. Four of those photos are of the Aztec in Enid and the exteriors are showing the building that was located at 213/215 W. Randolph. The other three photos are of the Aztec Theatre in Vinita, OK. I have been to the Oklahoma Historical Society archives in Oklahoma City and will be going back again. If I find additional information that contradicts or clarifies anything I’ve posted, I will happily share it. My desire is to present the most factual account possible of the old theaters in my hometown. Thanks for all of the great information being shared!

robertdickson on May 29, 2012 at 11:40 pm

To Mike Marshall. In case you may not have these, the Margaret Herrick Library at AMPAS has in its B'hend & Kaufmann Collection two 8 x 10 negatives of the Aztec (“Rose Marie” playing) and Esquire(“Sodom and Gomorrah”) exteriors and two of the auditorium, depicting a band on stage, and the rear of the auditorium. Contact .

Mike Marshall
Mike Marshall on May 30, 2012 at 12:41 am

Thanks, Robert! I’ll check it out. I sure appreciate everyone who has shared information about the Aztec/Esquire. We’ll have a definitive history yet!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 1, 2015 at 3:05 am

The Aztec Theatre is not on David and Noelle Soren’s list of known Boller Brothers theaters, though the list does include Enid’s Billings Theatre, opened in 1921. A December 30, 1930, article about the La Nora Theatre in the Pampa Sunday News-Post of Pampa, Texas, mentioned the Aztec Theatre in Enid as one of the other theaters designed by Gates Corgan, architect of the La Nora. Corgan was both the architect and the contractor for Griffith Amusement company projects from the mid 1920s until 1939.

DavidZornig on October 5, 2015 at 3:57 am

1937 photo added, photo credit Oklahoma Historical Society. Via the Enid Oklahoma Old Post Cards Facebook page.

DavidZornig on October 5, 2015 at 4:01 am

Also a 1969 fire photo of the former Aztec as the Esquire courtesy of the Enid Oklahoma Old Post Cards Facebook page.

Chris1982 on October 5, 2015 at 6:25 am

This theatre should be listed as the Esquire Theatre with an aka of Aztec Theztre. It was renamed the Esquire Theatre after a remodel by Video Independent and was known as such until its closing.

DavidZornig on October 15, 2015 at 4:49 am

1936 photo added, photo credit Oklahoma Historical Society. Via the Enid Oklahoma Old Post Cards Facebook page.

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