Roxy Theater

1104-06 Main Street,
Kansas City, MO 64106

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Roxy Theater

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The Liberty Theater was built during a time when heightened excitement and enthusiasm greeted motion pictures and their presentation. The building was completed in July of 1918, and especially designed for moving pictures.

In March of 1927, United Artists leased the theater and the Liberty Theater’s policy changed with its new operators to continue to show a prerelease film for as long as it continued to draw a crowd. The movies were ones that had just been completed and were not shown at any other theaters until the runs at the various United Artists houses were completed.

As the decades wore on, the Liberty Theater changed hands and was later renamed the Roxy Theater. As moviegoers fled downtown for suburban malls and theater complexes, the Roxy Theater succumbed to the fate of large swaths of the downtown loop. In the name of urban renewal, the buildings on the entire block were demolished in the early-1970’s, in this case to make room for the office complex City Center Square.

Contributed by Paul Salley

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

KCB3Player
KCB3Player on October 7, 2009 at 9:39 pm

I worked at the Roxy Theater in the mid to late 60’s when it was owned by Durwood Theaters. It was always a classy 1st run house. We hated when the beautiful Neon Lit Marquee was ripped down and a very plan and boring marquee replaced. It was always maintained in very fine condition and was that way when it was demolished. I was in shock when I was dischared from the Air Forse after spending a year in Korea and driving thru downtown to see the Roxy and Paramount Theater (Towne lV Cinema) being readied for demolition. Much of the facade of both theaters should have been salvaged. Actually, the Roxy would have been the pefect “playhouse” for live theater if it would have been incorporated into the plans for that block renovation and a stage and back stage area built. Today, that would have happened for sure. Much of its interior beauty was hidden by drapes on the side walls and the ceiling painted black. If was a very beautiful and intimate movie theater. Some of the best films were shown there exclusively. I recall the Carpetbeggers having very long run with Carol Baker and that was Alan Ladd’s last film. It starred George Peppard in his best film role.
Wish we could have the Orpheum, Paramount, Roxy, Esquire, Tower, Palace, Empress and even the Regent back today. Kansas City with its live theater activity, opera, dance and art film interested could have found many uses for those once beautiful downtown venues.
Does anyone have any demolition pics of those theaters?

billandthebears
billandthebears on January 14, 2010 at 12:56 pm

To Michael “The Jam-Man” Gallagher. So glad to actually hear from someone who “worked” at the Roxy. By any chance, did you ever take any interiors…especially the curtains and perhaps the theater seats? My memory grows foggier with each passing decade…and I would LOVE to have any interiors that you would care to share. Could you send me any jpegs you may possess…even of the exterior as well? I, too, LOVED THE ORIGINAL CURVED MARQUEE! It was thrilling to me as a child and as an adult! My e-mail is

Many thanks for any assistance you can give to me! I also have a few additional exteriors that you might enjoy having as well.

My best…Bill Hamilton

ladymjw
ladymjw on August 28, 2010 at 10:11 am

Boots & Jam-Man, if you’re still checking this site, I remember downtown KC very well. I’m 78 and want to see if either of you can confirm my memeories of the WWII years. Didn’t the Roxy become an all night theater? I seem to remember that war plant workers and service men could catch a movie between shifts/trains at the Roxy. I was in high school and also went during the afternoons after school (Paseo), catching the street car downtown to 12th & Main. It was a bustling place then.
Best regards…

KCB3Player
KCB3Player on January 9, 2011 at 8:52 pm

I reference to one of the above comment, I never did take any pictures and really regret it. I have a piece of Tera Cotta from the beautiful front of the building. There were rumors that Stan Durwood wanted to dismantle the front of the Roxy to have it redone in a multi-plex but that did not happen. It was sad to see it demolished especially when all the drapes were removed and you could see all the beautiful plaster work that was destroyed. It was truely a beautiful theater. When the theater was demolished all of the old theater organ pipes were also destroyed. The organ had been covered and it was also destroyed with no intention of saving it. Not even sure anyone knew it was there since it had been covered over for many years from the 1959 renovation. I do have a few interior display signs that were in the upstairs lounge. Wish we still had this wonderful theater.

cpurv69
cpurv69 on February 6, 2011 at 7:02 pm

It’s a shame that all the links to pictures at the KC Library are dead. Some can be found, with great difficulty.

cpurv69
cpurv69 on February 6, 2011 at 7:08 pm

For photos at KC Library, go to this link: http://www.kchistory.org/index.php then type in “theater” or whatever in the search box at the upper right corner.

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on February 23, 2011 at 11:43 am

It was here at the Roxy Theatre that Stanley Durwood (of Durwood Theatres/AMC Theatres) thought up the concwept of the multi-screen theatre.

KCB3Player
KCB3Player on July 1, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Main Street between 11th and 12th Street was beutifully lit up with the Paramount and the Roxy Theater full of Neon Marquee’s. I watched as the Roxy Marquee was ripped down – broken neon everywhere. It was really sad. The replaced marquee was UGLY and I told that to Ralph Burhmaster – the Manager and also to Stan Durwood. Stan Durwood put money into the Roxy and also the redo of the Roxy into the Towne 4 Theaters knowing that they were going to be demolished a few eyars later. He set himself up to get top dollar for those two buildings. I still wish that the Roxy would have been saved and incorporated into the City Center. The CC was supposed to have a 6 screen movie theater in it. Never knew what happened.

Infanma
Infanma on July 7, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Saw Woodstock at The Roxy during its first run. What a great place. Would love to see some interior pictures.

KCB3Player
KCB3Player on August 4, 2014 at 6:57 pm

We certainly lost some beautiful treasures downtown. Many of the theaters were some of the finest in North America.

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