Fox Theatre

105 E. 5th Street,
Sedalia, MO 65301

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Fox Theatre

The Fox Theatre was opened September 6, 1940. In March 1948, the Fox Theatre hosted the world premiere of “Scudda Hoo!, Scudda Hay!” (aka Summer Lightning) with Hollywood stars Lon McCallister, June Haver, Jeanne Crain and Betty Ann Lynn attending ‘in person’.

The Fox Theatre was closed as a movie theatre in the early-1980’s. It then sat abandoned until 2006, when it was converted into an event center, which had closed by June 2008. Ir has since been demolished. Only the facade and marquee with the Fox name survives.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

William on February 12, 2007 at 3:45 pm

The Fox Theatre in Sedalia was operated by Fox Midwest Amusement Corp. (1944), which was later known as NT & T Amusement Corp. (Midwest Division)(1961), till the mid 60’s when it was taken over by Commonwealth Theatres, Inc..

kschneiderstl on January 30, 2008 at 8:57 pm

On the cinematour website there is a listing for a Diamond Drive-in Theatre. There is a phone # and it is NOT listed as closed. I’d call the number but I’m assuming if it really still exists they would not be open this time of year anyway. Can any Sedalia residents shed some light on the subject? Thanks.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 6, 2014 at 1:09 pm

The Thursday, September 5, 1940, issue of The Sedalia Democrat said that the new Fox Theatre would open Friday evening at 7:30.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 6, 2014 at 9:39 pm

The 1960s aluminum false front has been peeled off of the Fox Theatre and replaced with a retro-style front that might more closely resemble the original Streamlined style of the building. The building has been converted into the Fox Theater Event Center, though the photo gallery at their web site shows that the historic interior of the building has been entirely lost. It’s pretty much just the shell of the theater, and a marquee with the name Fox on it.

CinemaTour has a photo of the renovated front. CinemaTour claims that the Fox was also known as the Sedalia, but the Sedalia Theatre was a different house, at Third and Massachusetts, which opened in 1905 and faded away in the 1930s, and was finally destroyed by a fire in 1977. I’m pretty sure the Fox was always called the Fox, but the Sedalia was called the Fox Sedalia in the early 1930s, around the same time the Liberty was called the Fox Liberty.

Chris1982 on October 15, 2014 at 10:16 pm

Joe, could the Fox have been a renovation of a theatre already in existance. There was a 1400 seat Sedalia Theatre listed at the same address until 1939. The Motion Picture Yearbook also listed the Sedalia Theatre at that address. I posted a street view of what the Fox looks like today in the photo section.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 16, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Chris: The impression I’ve gotten from the articles in The Sedalia Democrat is that the Fox was brand new in 1940. These lines from a September 5, 1940, article are an example: “About the NEW FOX Construction: Fireproof throughout. Steel, concrete, brick with California stucco and tile trim. Dimensions: Over all, 45 feet by 120 feet. Seating Capacity: 1,000, with perfect view of screen from any seat.”

Of course such lines could also apply to a theater that had been substantially rebuilt. However, the location on 5th Street precludes any possibility that an older house on the Fox’s site was the Sedalia Theatre that opened in 1905. There are too many sources indicating that the original Sedalia Theatre was at 3rd and Massachusetts. If there was a Sedalia Theatre at the Fox address in the 1930s, it must have been a second Sedalia Theatre.

A house called the Fox Sedalia Theatre was advertising at least as early as 1930 (the Fox Liberty was advertised at least as early as 1929.) The question would be whether the Fox Sedalia Theatre of the 1930s was the original Sedalia Theatre taken over by Fox, or was a different house at the 5th Street location. I haven’t found any sources confirming either possibility.

Aprilfoolkid on February 23, 2015 at 10:09 pm

I have a friend who said he saw a musical show on the stage of the Sedalia Theater in 1936 located at 3rd & Massachusetts. In 1948 there was 3 theaters operating in Sedalia, the Uptown on Ohio, the Fox on East 5th St, & Liberty on West 5th St. As I recall the Fox was brand new in 1940.

Trolleyguy on February 24, 2015 at 10:04 am


JTyroler on April 7, 2015 at 4:14 pm

Growing up in Sedalia, for most of the 1960’s, the only places to see movies in Sedalia (at least from my memories) were the Fox or the 50-Drive In (destroyed by a tornado in the early 1980’s). In the late 60’s or early 70’s, there was a Jerry Lewis Twin Cinema that was later called the State Fair Twin Cinema. My understanding is that has since been closed. The Uptown was briefly open in the 1970’s. There was also a theater downtown that started showing old movies called either Bogie’s or Bogart’s. Because there wasn’t a big enough demand for classic movies in a town of 20,000, they started showing R-rated versions of porn movies. After they won an obscenity lawsuit, they started showing hard-core porn films until someone burned the theater down.

SethG on August 2, 2019 at 9:48 am

Should really be listed as demolished. Everything behind the first few feet of the building is new, and the interior bears no resemblance to a theater.

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