626 N. Grand Boulevard,
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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 with Elliott Dexter in “Behold My Wife!”. 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 as the Roxyettes in March 1927. The Missouri Theatre was equipped with a Wurlitzer Hope-Jones Unit Orchestra organ which had 4 Manuals, 32 Ranks. It was dedicated in July 1921.
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.
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