Plaza Theater

4700-08 Wyandotte Street,
Kansas City, MO 64112

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Showing 1 - 25 of 38 comments

rivest266 on May 11, 2018 at 9:53 pm

Two screens on October 29th, 1976. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

rivest266 on April 28, 2018 at 9:42 pm

October 9th, 1928 grand opening ad in the photo section. It was “The Show Place of Mid-America”

Mike Gallagher
Mike Gallagher on August 30, 2017 at 4:03 pm

Last Christmas, I was back in Kansas City and had noted previously that Restoration Hardware had left. I did not know they were going next door in space from the old Halls Store. So what is going on with the Plaza Theater Building? The actual ceiling was never destroyed and only a front portion of the balcony was removed.Come on UMKC restore the Plaza Theater as a Live Performing Arts Center. If not the Plaza – how about the old Lyric (Capri) Theater.

mobycat on July 15, 2017 at 5:17 am

Not related to the history of the theater itself, but I believe the space is now empty. Restoration Hardware is no longer there.

WTKFLHN on March 16, 2017 at 9:16 pm

Hey KCB3. I hope that that comes to fruition.

Mike Gallagher
Mike Gallagher on March 15, 2017 at 9:30 pm

I grew up in Kansas City and loved the Plaza Theater. It was the gem of JC Nickels Co. Sadly the theater was made a 3plex and then closed and remodeled as A Restoration Hardware Store. I understand that much of the auditorium was saved including the Stage and the ceiling even though that space was used as back stock storage the The Floor was modified in a way that it too could actually be restored at a later date back to a theater. The front part of the balcony was sadly removed and they did not use the downstairs lounges and they were left intact. Now that the Restoration Hardware Store is gone, this would be a good time for the theater to be completely restored as a live performing arts venue maybe associated with UMKC, Put the auditorium back to the way it was. There is room to increase the stage and back stage area. Not sure what is going on with the Plaza – too many empty buildings. I understand that even Houston’s has not closed. The Business, Arts and KC Historic Community need to get behind putting the Plaza Theater Back together. The Midland, still beautiful, is now and oversized live music Bar venue and it is deteriorating with the excessive loud music. I saw a lot of problems in the auditorium and the management is doing nothing about it. Very sad. Save and Restore the once majestic Plaza Theater before it is too late.

OKCdoorman on February 10, 2017 at 10:37 pm

Held up after a fierce battle with theater staff at approximately 8pm on Sunday, March 31, 1974, while showing Jack Nicholson in Hal Ashby’s film THE LAST DETAIL, in a scuffle against the perpetrator (who had become upset over the $2.25 admission fee) involving an 18-year old girl cashier, a 22-year old usher, and the 20-year old assistant manager. After leaping into the box office and grabbing some bills (and able to resist at least two solid blows from a 25-pound brass pole ordinarily used with ropes for crowd restraint) the robber fled in a light-green Cadillac with up to $300 in loot. [“Fights Way to Plaza Theater Cash,” Kansas City Times, Monday, April 1, 1974, pp.3]

OKCdoorman on January 4, 2017 at 8:53 pm

Informational advance story on the Plaza’s Sunday closing was in the Star’s Preview supplement, Friday, April 2, 1999, pp. 10, “It’s Curtains for the Plaza Theater.” (The article claimed 1500 seats.)

Closed by Dickinson for good on Sunday, April 4, 1999, with Clint Eastwood in TRUE CRIME, the cannibalism-centered film RAVENOUS, Rankin-Bass' animated version of THE KING AND I, and THE OTHER SISTER. [Kansas City Star]

WTKFLHN on July 11, 2016 at 10:53 pm

aeast. They had a fountain in the middle of the lobby. It was removed when the expanded the concession stand. The wishing well/drinking fountain you are thinking of was in the lounge, downstairs. I don’t recall it being removed was the building was still a theatre.

aeast on July 10, 2016 at 5:06 pm

In the center of the tiled-floor lobby once stood a wishing-well which served as a drinking fountain. So many people bumped into it that it was eventually removed. Large numbers of people walking across those tiles created a sometimes noisy lobby. There was talk of carpeting it over but don’t know if this was ever done. I ushered at the Plaza from 1962-1966.

dallasmovietheaters on January 31, 2016 at 8:24 am

Trivia: Edward Tanner and Boller Brothers won the coveted Architectural League’s coveted Best Architectural Award in 1928 for the Country Club Plaza housing this theatre with its 100' high tower.

tntim on September 21, 2015 at 4:04 am

This link is to the December 22, 1928 issue of the “Exhibitors Herald and Picture World” that has pictures and an article about the Plaza Theater. View Link

WTKFLHN on October 22, 2012 at 1:06 am

I just want to comment on the Plaza’s seating capacity as a former employee. Before the theatre was cut up into 3 screens, and before they put in the extra large screen for “The Guns of Naveronne, 70mm engagement which brought the screen out in front of the arch and covered the orchestra pit, and the removal on the organ, the seating was 1800, 600 hundred in the balcony, and 1200 on the 1st floor.

WTKFLHN on October 22, 2012 at 12:50 am

I also have some memories of the stage shows they had there from time to time. One in particular, was the appearance of Dunninger, a mind reading act. The lady who would rent the theatre, didn’t generally use ushers. But I told the assistant mgr.I would work for free, if I could see the show, and she agreed. We went up to the balcony, which was closed, and watched the show, which was sold out on the 1st floor. The guy working with me was a skeptic, and thought that Dunninger was using plants in the audience. After the show, we went back stage to meet him. He was very nice to us. He explained to my friend that he was a mind reader, and could only tell what you knew in your mind, and was not a clairvoyant. He asked my friend if he knew how much change was in his change his pocket. My friend didn’t know, but he went off to check it. When he came back, Dunninger looked at him and said, “39 cents”. The guys jaw dropped and he said,“That’s right”. I don’t, to this day, know how he did it, but I was impressed.

WTKFLHN on August 3, 2012 at 10:46 pm

I was an usher at the Plaza for about 3 yrs in the mid1950’s. I have some great memories of the theatre as a single screen. It was a sub-run theatre back then, meaning we got the movies 28 days after they left the 1st run houses. I remember the week we played “The man who knew too much” with James Stewart. I have never seen a movie grip an audience like that one did. We were sold out on Saturday nite, and the movie had the audience in its grip. When something on the screen exciting happened, the entire audience would gasp as if it was one person. No one would get out of their seats to get popcorn. It was quite and experience.

rivoli157 on November 18, 2011 at 5:21 pm

never got to see this as a single screen. By the time I got to Kansas City it had been divided up. I do recall seeing “S.O.B.” “Rhinestone Cowboy”,“Blow-Out” and “Hardcore”. Visually the theatre was a stunning sight as you entered the Country Club Plaza area

jda661 on March 15, 2010 at 9:56 pm

I was the person who came in to replace the Manager in 1979. I was there for 12-18 months (stayed til after the Dickinson take over). It was a great theatre. as RT says, the theatre was more a victim of it’s time than the fact of the multiplexes. There was nothing really that could compete with the picture except the Big Glenwood or the Midland downtown.

seymourcox on September 15, 2009 at 8:03 pm

This site has photos of the Plaza Theatre, along with other KC theatres -
View link

jimfagin on July 28, 2009 at 5:06 pm

My late father, Breck Fagin, was the Plaza Theatre’s first manager. I have a black and white photograph of him from about 1930 standing in front of the theatre aside a big birthday cake that says “Plaza Theatre’s 2nd Anniversary”. I will post it on this website when the site is again able to accept photos.

luvmtains777 on September 20, 2008 at 8:03 am

The manager from 1979 was arrested in a sting operation for re-selling tickets around 1981 and he had been there quite a long time. I won’t name names but I doubt it was any poster in here since that manager was quite old back then. The plaza theater was a Mann Theater before it became part of the Dickinson chain. Other interesting facts about this theater was that it had tunnels that ran underneath the theater and it also housed upstairs dressing rooms on the south side that were accessed by stairs behind the stage. The stage itself was quite large and remnants of the pulleys and stage props existed at least into the late 70s.

The flood that the entire Plaza experienced in 1977 also affected the theater to some degree. About 2 feet of water was in the lobby and the entire basement was flooded. Through the foyer were steps up to the second theater (the old balcony) but underneath the foyer were steps leading down to the restrooms so there were some areas that patrons used which were completely underwater but not destroyed by the flood.

The Plaza was one of the last theaters around to use carbon arcs in the projectors. I believe they still used those in the upstairs projectors until the early 80s.

Steve Martin visited this theater unannounced when the movie the Jerk was playing.

I seem to remember the downstairs as having around 960 seats. I believe the last sell out for the larger theater was the Goodbye Girl on opening week-end,

It was not only the multiplexes that buried this theater but the change in business model away from exclusive rights to a movie for just one theater in all of the kc area. Once you had movie openings in multiple locations, sell outs in the larger theaters like the Plaza or the Glenwood were gone.

cerjda on August 29, 2008 at 2:59 am

That picture from 1979 was when I managed that place. I couldn’t say for certain, but I can’t imagine that theatre having 1950. Those seats seemed to have been there forever and i’m thinking it was like 1650 between the 2 auditoriums and when they built the downstairs projections booth, they only lost like 100 seats.

edblank on May 21, 2008 at 10:59 pm

Saw “White Witch Doctor” here in the summer of 1953. A memorably beautiful theater. – Ed Blank

Aparofan on April 27, 2008 at 2:38 pm

Here’s a picture from 1997. From the book The Plaza First And Always by William S. Worley.

View link

spectrum on September 27, 2007 at 2:46 am

According to the 1936 Americal Film review annual, the Plaza had 1,950 seats.