Midland Theatre

1228 Main Street,
Kansas City, MO 64105

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Midland Theatre, Kansas City, MO in 1929 - Auditorium

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This large movie palace was designed by Thomas W. Lamb in 1927. It originally seated over 3,573 patrons and was built for a staggering $4 million — quite an amount for a theater in Kansas City in its day.

Originaly known as Loew’s Midland Theatre, and part of Marcus Loew’s theater empire, the theater briefly became a bowling venue in 1961 when Loew’s left the theater.

In 1966, American Multi-Cinema bought the theater. A company known then for its innovations with smaller, twinned theaters now operated one of the largest movie palaces on earth.

The renamed Midland Theatre was listed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1977 and stopped showing movies in 1981 when it became a venue for stage shows, concerts, and other peforming arts.

It remains one of the grandest movie palaces ever built in the United States and a testament to the heralded work of Thomas Lamb.

It was closed on May 13, 2006 for a major refurbishment, re-opening on September 9, 2008.

Contributed by Brooks

Recent comments (view all 58 comments)

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on November 11, 2009 at 9:48 am

Great slideshow kcfan, loved the this is not an exit sign.Hard to believe that this was a bowling alley for a while.

John Fink
John Fink on June 26, 2010 at 10:48 am

I found this, not sure if anyone else has posted it, but this an interesting bit about the theater under Durwood’s ownership from 1965:
View link

InesitadaSilva
InesitadaSilva on December 30, 2010 at 7:36 am

The poster I’d like to share with you here View link was for a show which took place in the Loew’s Midland Theater I suspect in 1929. The back of the ad promotes a film called “The Taming of the Shrew” which featured Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. It was released on 30 Nov, 1929. I guess the show then was about the same time.

I’d have a couple of questions in relation, and would welcome your thoughts.

First, it says ‘our opening show.’ Would I be right to assume this does not mean the opening show of the theatre itself (which according to the above would have to be 1927) but rather means one of the following: the first vaudeville show in the theatre or the opening show of the Six Rockets at this theatre. In case of the latter, would that mean they’d perform a run of shows? If yes, appx. how many would be a reasonable estimate? I should add, the Rockets includes my grandmother and her sister (bottom left and bottom right respectively who by this time had been on the road since mid-1928!

Second, are all the original schedules of the theatre archived anywhere?

Many thanks in advance for any comments! Warm wishes and season’s greetings!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 25, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Some of the best pictures on CT,thanks.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 18, 2012 at 1:13 am

Here is a paragraph from a January 16, 1926, article about the proposed Midland Theatre in The Reel Journal:

“T. W. Lamb, a New York architect, and Robert C. Boller, of Boller Bros., Kansas City architects, are preparing plans for the big four-story movie palace and office building. Contracts for the construction will be let as soon as plans are finished, it has been announced.”
As finally built, the theater portion of the project was six floors, rather than four, and the adjacent office tower had twelve floors.

It’s noted in the description on this page that the Midland Theatre cost $4,000,000 to build in 1926-27. The theater was indeed large and lavish, but I don’t think it accounted for the entire budget. The twelve story Midland Building at the back end of the theater has about three times the floor space of the theater portion of the project, and probably consumed at least half of that $4,000,000 construction cost.

Here is a 1927 photo showing the office building and theater under construction, taken from the office building end of the project.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on June 18, 2012 at 10:33 pm

It gets barely a mention in this article, but AMC is giving up control of the Midland to the Cordish Company, its former partner in operating both the Midland the Main Street theaters. It had been previously announced that Cordish had signed an agreement with Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas to operate the Main Street Theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm

This page needs the AKA’s Saxon Theatre and Studio Theatre, per the Boxoffice article Tinseltoes linked to.

Carlj
Carlj on January 19, 2013 at 8:11 am

The Midland no longer shows any movies. It’s main use today is for smaller concerts. They removed all of the seats from the lower level. I remeber seeing The Empire Strikes Back here back in the day.

Infanma
Infanma on July 7, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Not sure what it was called, but I remember the VERY small auditorium in what seemed like the basement of the Midland. One of the posted articles mentioned The Screening Room.I’m not sure it was named that, but I saw many movies there, including Midnight Cowboy.

KCB3Player
KCB3Player on August 15, 2014 at 4:53 pm

I thought I might add this bit of information. After the Loew’s Midland Theater Closed, it was converter in the Stage are to a Pro Bowling Facility. That lasted for only several months and then folded because the other pro bowling team had their competitions at the old Plaza Bowl. With in two months an owner of major surfact parking lots in Kansas City wanted to get a permit from the City to demolish the Midland Theater leaving only the Midland Tower. What is really insane is that the City was actually going to issue the demolition permit. At the same time, there were plans to demolish the Tower and Esquire Theaters also for surface parking lots – that did not happen because of a contract dispute between the owners of the theaters and Fox Midwest Theaters that had open contracts to use the Buildings and they were still paying taxes even though the theaters were closed. It is very sad to think that the beautiful Midland Theater was very close to being lost forever. Sadly we lost the Tower, Esquire and Orpheum Theaters in 1961 all in beautiful condition.

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