Missouri Theatre

626 N. Grand Boulevard,
St. Louis, MO 63103

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Missouri Theater auditorium

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The Missouri Theatre was one of the most popular theatres in St. Louis in the 1920’s. It was located at N. Grand Boulevard and Lucas Avenue, and was opened on November 8, 1920. The temple of entertainment seated about 3,600 and was one of the largest theatres in the nation at that time. It was designed by the firm of DeRosa & Pereira for the Famous Players Missouri circuit, which was a subsidiary of the Famous Players Lasky circuit.

Luxury abounded, rotundas with massive chairs, fireplaces in many rooms and three inch thick carpeting added to the already impressive decor. The interior featured arches and Corinthian columns. Curved architecture throughout the theatre gave the impression of softness in contrast to modern streamlined architecture. The twelve story Missouri Theatre building was brick, but the theatre was distinguished by a light stone front.

The Missouri Theatre was one of the first theatres in St. Louis to have air conditioning, which was a big deal then. It was called “the Pike’s Peak Breeze” in it’s advertising of the air conditioning.

The theatre housed inside the twelve story Missouri Theatre Building. The theatre was later operated by Skouras Bros., RKO, and Fanchon & Marco which evolved into Arthur Enterprises. The Missouri Theatre was so successful that the Skouras Brothers went on to build a sister theatre only a block away, the St. Louis Theatre (now Powell Symphony Hall).

The Missouri Theatre featured a chorus line of dancers known as the Missouri Rocket Girls. This troup of precision dancers became well known throughout St. Louis. They we so successful that they toured the country, eventually settling at the famed Roxy Theatre in New York City.

The Missouri Theatre was abandoned in 1957 and the auditorium was razed for a parking lot on June 26, 1959, so another legend died on the Great White Way of N. Grand Boulevard in St. Louis. This left the number of theatres on the Great White Way at five from it’s original nine.

Contributed by Charles Van Bibber, JAlex, Paul Knittel

Recent comments (view all 28 comments)

JAlex
JAlex on January 5, 2006 at 12:33 pm

Interior shots are available on postcards which, on occasion, can be found on eBay.

JamesGrebe
JamesGrebe on January 5, 2006 at 3:00 pm

There is onhe shot of the stage area with the piano in it in Mary Bagley’s book, “Missouri’s Grand Theatres

signguy
signguy on July 25, 2007 at 8:42 am

I have been asked to get involved with a sign and marquee restoration at the Missouri Theater. The new sign must match the design and theme of the original sign and marquee.

Can someone help me find good photos of this?

JamesGrebe
JamesGrebe on July 25, 2007 at 10:42 am

There is a pic in Mary Bagley’s ,‘The Front Row: Missouri’s Grand Theatres"
jJames Grebe,

sjjansen
sjjansen on August 15, 2007 at 4:26 pm

I would appreciate anyone who could send me a photo of the now demolished Missouri Theatre that was located on Grand Ave., in St. Louis, MO. One of my Ancestors, Adeline Rotty was one of the original Missouri Rockets. After she graduated from Harris Teachers College she won a scholarship to study in New York City. She was most noted for training and bringing to New York six dancers from St. Louis, MO., known as the Missouri Rockets, who were the forerunners of the famous Rockettes of Radio City Music Hall. Her routine of the “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” is still done today. She was also the choreographer for the Marx Brother’s show, “Animal Crackers”. She lived to be 100 and died on March 10, 1997, in Wilbraham, Mass. My e-mail address is

Lak
Lak on July 23, 2008 at 8:23 am

For future reference, please note that “The Front Row, Missouri’s Grand Theares” by Miss Bagley, has numorous errors and has interior photos of theatres that are incorrect!!!

jgrebe
jgrebe on August 12, 2008 at 9:31 am

The first console of the Missouri died in a fire due to a careless smoker. The 2nd console along with a new expanded unification relay took it’s place and made the organ noteworthy. In 1954 the console was purchased by Harvey Heck and made it part of the Graumann’s Egyptian Theatre Wurlitzer that he owned. In 1972 it became part of Bill Brown’s Wurlitzer in the first “Organ Stop Pizza”. In 1987 the restaraunt closed , organ removed and was sold to Jim and Sherrie Krughoff in Downers Grove, IL and Dave Junchen restored it and it is now part of the Krughoff Residence Wurlitzer since Aug. 5, 1989 when it was formally dedicated.
jgrebe

1elvisfan
1elvisfan on April 22, 2009 at 11:38 pm

I recently read that Elvis Presley performed at the Missouri Theater Oct 21 – 23 1955. He was touring with the Roy Acuff jamboree. Anyone know anything about this?

JAlex
JAlex on April 26, 2009 at 6:52 pm

That is correct. The attraction was a Grand Ole Opry show with Roy Acoff, Kitty Wells, Johnnie and Jack, Pop and his Jug Band, Smoky Mountain Boys, Tennessee Mountain Boys, and “Extra Added: Sensational New Star” Elvis Presley. Two shows the nights of the 21st and 22nd, three on the 23rd. Admission: 75-cents in advance; $1.00 at the door. Kids 25-cents.

Lak
Lak on January 14, 2010 at 11:57 am

The building which housed the Missouri Theatre is set to be redeveloped as a hotel and luxury apartment complex.

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