Victory Theatre

607 E. Douglas Avenue,
Wichita, KS 67202

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During the summer of 1971, before I started my freshman year at college, I attended a base ball camp near Wichita, KS. One warm Saturday night I drove myself over to Wichita to see a movie. I remember a 3-D sexploitation movie entitled “The Stewardesses” was playing at the Orpheum Theatre. I had already seen that one up in KansasCity. Two other downtown movie houses were closed down. About three blocks from the Orpheum, I can’t recall which direction, I came across the Victory Theatre that was showing double feature XXX adult films.

The Victory had a long facade constructed of brown and tan tapestry brick arranged in a 1920’s Art Deco pattern. A long orange and yellow box marquee ran across the length of the theatre.

A circular box office and poster boards were made of baked orange enamal metal. Yellow and orange light bulbs formed tracer patterns on the marquee underside.

The T-shaped lobby smelled musty, was sparsely furnished, but very spacious with narrow staircases at each end of the chamber. Carpeting had a woven wine and gray tropical design. Lining lobby walls were silver framed poster display cases, and tall, slender, silver sconces. The ceiling had box step cove lighting trimmed in silver. There were four auditorium entrances, each surrounded by silver plasterwork.

Upstairs was a long, Art-Deco furnished mezzanine where the restrooms were located. There was no balcony.

An offending stench permeated an auditorium that was quite wide, but not particularly deep. It had isles running along both side walls, and two more isles that seperated three sets of seat rows (I’d guess capacity at 900). Auditorium Walls had silver framed plasterwork panels that framed zig-zag artwork, and wall sconces that matched those seen in the lobby. The ceiling had a vast square cove, decorated in stenciled design, with an amber glass, six point, silver light fixture. A wide stage was heavily draped in wine color valour and silver fringe.

Regretably the old Victory had not been well maintained and was a bit rough around the edges.

There were around a dozen other men watching those sizzling films, but no women.

Contributed by Lefty Walker

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

raybradley
raybradley on December 16, 2006 at 1:55 pm

This is a fun web-site devoted to Kansas classic theatre history, with lots of vintage images. It mentions the Victory;
View link

seymourcox
seymourcox on December 19, 2006 at 9:44 am

I’ll bet ten to one that the Victory Theatre opened around 1918 to honor battles won WWI!

missmelbatoast
missmelbatoast on December 22, 2006 at 12:23 pm

Do any of you theatre buffs know in which Wichita theatre a juvenile vaudivillian named Louise Hovick developed her stip tease routine and changed her name to Gypsy Rose Lee?

seymourcox
seymourcox on May 28, 2009 at 10:01 am

A gentleman who grew up in Wichita recently told me that the Victory, though not identical, was quite similar to the Empire in Grand Forks, ND. While the Victory decor had a silver & wine color scheme, the Empire was decked out in tan & wine.
Buchner & Orth could have designed both theatres, though it is most likely that the Victory was a Boller Bros. creation.

http://www.cinematour.com/tour/us/10110.html

Keith Wondra
Keith Wondra on August 5, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Seymour,
The Victory Theater was originally named the New Theater and was built in 1939. It was renamed the Victory Theater in 1943. It converted to art cinema in 1967. Ten years later it was razed for Naftzger Park.

Keith Wondra
Keith Wondra on August 5, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Miss Melba, According to local legend Gypsy Rose Lee did her first routine on the Orpheum Theatre’s stage. Many believe instead of the Orpheum she first did her routine at the old Marple Theater at 417 east Douglas.

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on November 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre in its adult days, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

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