Granada Theatre

325 West Maple Street,
Independence, MO 64050

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Granada Theatre

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The Granada Theatre was located just off the main thoroughfare of Independence on West Maple Street. It was a neighborhood theatre that was opened in 1940, replacing an earlier, smaller theatre. It was closed in the late-1960’s, and was demolished in 1972.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

KCB3Player
KCB3Player on August 22, 2011 at 6:22 pm

The info is incorrect above. The beautiful theater was in operation on weekends up thru then end of 1969 or early 1970. It was a beauty in very nice condition. It was a Mom and Pop operation. They had even put in new lighting in the mid 60’s on the side walls. The screen was never changed to show wide screen movies but they did a matting trick. In the late 60’s there was an Independence Community Theater that tried to use the Granada and was willing to build out a stage coming forward that would have allowed for a larger movie screen to be installed. However, the City Council along with the owner of the local cab company had other plans. He wanted it demolished so he could park his cabs on that site. Everyone I talked to in Independence was sick over the covert action with the City Council to declare a “Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority” to become a Cap Parking Lot. If it would have remained standing, it would have still been in operation today as a Live Theater venue and also a specialty movie theater. This is a terrible loss for downtown Independence and the entire city. Very sad indeed. I watch it demolished in 1972 right after I was discharged from the Air Force. I tried my best to save it, but I could not compete with politics. It was in beautiful condition and not converted to any type of retail use when it was destroyed. Does anyone have any pics of this theater – I would live to have a copy. They are posted on OldKC.com but no one can copy pics from that site for personal use, nor can they buy them.

Centennial17
Centennial17 on October 2, 2011 at 4:16 pm

The Shoco location is also not correct. Galen Boyer Pontiac was in that small space. The Granada was right next door on the corner of Maple and Spring Street. The Granada Sweet Shop was an integral part of the building offering candies and popcorn to the theater patrons. After the theater was torn down, the cab company located on that corner with a pavement area to park cabs. Eventually, another building was built on that corner right next to Shoco. I dont know what a matting trick is but the theater was closed for a few days in the 50s to install a wide screen. I and my friends religiously patronized the Granada every Friday night in those 50s. Associated Theaters, Inc., owned the Granada in its heyday. That company also owned the Electric, Plaza, Maywood, and Englewood.

Centennial17
Centennial17 on October 1, 2012 at 2:16 am

The Granada was a huge theater with 1,000 seats. It was not a small neighborhood theater. It was first run. Cinema Treasures shows it as having 600 seats.

A smaller theater with the same Granada name was at the location at least since 1932. A major rebuilding occurred in 1940 and the theater reopened that year with a six page advertisement in the local paper. The new theater had a glassed in “cry room” with ten theater seats.

The article Tinseltoes refers to has this information and more and has it with 1,000 seats.

KCB3Player
KCB3Player on June 20, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Nice comments – that matting of the screen was done there but they may have indeed installed a larger and new screen within the space that they had. There were exits on each side of the screen but stage curtains did indeed go from each wall to the other. Again, a horrible loss to downtown Independence, especially since a newly formed Theater Arts Group had been formed and wanted the Granada for their productions

KCB3Player
KCB3Player on June 20, 2013 at 9:21 pm

The matting was simply black cloth sometimes heavy felt that was on a track both vertical and horrizontal that could be mechanically moved from the projection booth to change the aspect ratio. Near the end maybe the last year and a half of operation, a Stereo amp was installed with 2 speakers on each side wall to provide much better sound. When the theater was demolished, the Voice of the Theater Speakers were never removed and the old RCA Mono amp was still in it. I still have that RCA Mono Amp and took out the woofers, crossovers and horn drivers after about 10% of the Demolition. I also got rewind equipment out of the projection booth. Part of the old arc lamp housings were still in the booth as the theater was being demolish. Really sad!!! It could have been a great revival and art house.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 2, 2014 at 9:40 pm

Although almost completely rebuilt in 1940, as noted in the Boxoffice article Tinseltoes linked to earlier, the Granada Theatre was a much older house. Originally opened in 1916 as the New Lewis Theatre, it replaced the original Lewis Theatre which had been built by John E. Lewis in 1912 and was destroyed, along with an adjacent airdome, by a fire on January 10, 1916. The new Lewis Theatre was probably on the same site as the original, or perhaps on the site of the airdome, though I haven’t been able to confirm that.

The August 15, 1925, issue of The Reel Journal reported that Glenn Dickinson had acquired the Lewis Theatre at Independence. A month later he also took over the Elliott and Electric Theatres.

I haven’t been able to discover who designed the New Lewis Theatre of 1916, but Boxoffice said that the 1940 rebuilding of the Granada was designed by architect J. E. Kelsey.

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