Orpheum Theater

349 Collinsville Avenue,
East St. Louis, IL 62201

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Opened on February 24, 1907 as the Erber Theater. About six months later, the name was changed to the Majestic Theater. Around 1911-12 another Majestic Theater opened at 244 Collinsville Ave. That Majestic Theater would be the first of two Majestic Theaters located at 244 Collinsville Avenue.

This Majestic Theater then became the Lyric Theater. It is listed as the Lyric Theater in 1924. In 1929 it was re-named the New Orpheum Theater, later Orpheum Theater, it was closed in 1941.

Contributed by Ken & Bryan

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 1, 2014 at 7:08 am

Our page for the other Orpheum at 301 Collinsville says that it was originally called the Lyric and was renamed the Orpheum in 1929 and closed in 1936. This theater’s description says that it was called the Lyric in 1924 and renamed the New Orpheum in 1929. They can’t both have been called the Lyric at the same time and then renamed the Orpheum at the same time. Something is wrong in one or both descriptions, but I can’t figure out exactly what.

The 1912 City Directory has the Lyric Theatre at 301-303 Collinsville and the Majestic at 242 Collinsville. I haven’t found any later city directories for East St. Louis.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 2, 2014 at 5:46 am

This item appeared in Variety in September, 1909:

“On Labor Day the Majestic, a brand new house at East St. Louis, opens with bookings through the Western Vaudeville Association of Chicago. Three shows daily will be given.”
If it was brand new it must have been the Majestic at 242-244 Collinsville.

dallasmovietheaters
dallasmovietheaters on September 19, 2020 at 9:06 pm

The Lyric Theatre at 301-303 Collinsville Avenue was opened by Harry G. Redmon who opened several East St. Louis movie houses. So popular was the Lyric Theatre that Redmon opened the much larger Majestic Theatre in 1915. Redmon took the film bookings and also his Lyric Orchestra led by John Livaudais. Joe Erber took on the Lyric. He was a veteran talent booker and showman Joe Erber whose career lasted decades. He then moved the Lyric to the Majestic Theatre building.

Erber hired as one of the Lyric’s managers one Laurence Richardson Jossenberger – aka Larry Richardson. Richardson would go from theatre manager in East St. Louis to Hollywood performer. He would appear in more than 50 Century Comedy shorts as Larry Rich. He appears to have failed at getting a starring role and would go on to the vaudeville circuit with his wife, a former Mack Sennett performer. Erber sold the theatre to Arco Amusement which converted the Lyric Theatre to Vitaphone sound in 1928.

But the conversion may have been too much as the theatre closed in February 1929 when creditors forced the closure of both the Lyric and the Avenue. The Lyric was purchased at the asset disposition of the Arco Amusement Company. It was reopened soon thereafter in 1929 as the New Orpheum Theatre which has another ten years of operation in which Erber was associated. It closed and has since been demolished.

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