Twilight Theatre

132 S. Main Street,
Greensburg, KS 67034

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This historic theater originally showed silent films, after its 1915 opening. At one time it boasted one of the largest screens in Kansas.

It was still screening films in May 2006, when it was badly damaged by a tornado.

Contributed by Paul Salley

Recent comments (view all 22 comments)

KenLayton
KenLayton on May 31, 2009 at 1:55 pm

So I guess the theater is not being rebuilt?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 5, 2009 at 11:38 pm

Here’s a color photo of the old Twilight Theatre on the City of Greensburg’s web site. This photo shows it from another angle. The cable channel Planet Green has posted this rendering of the proposed replacement for the Twilight Theatre. Plans call for 458 seats, and the building will be of neo-moderne design.

On a recent episode of Planet Green’s series about Greensburg, it was revealed that the local school district is planning to have a partnership with the operators of the theater so that when it is built it can be used for school functions during the week. The rebuilt school will not have an auditorium, and apparently the old Twilight Theatre only operated on weekends in any case. Kiowa County only had a population of a little over 3000 even before the tornado, so a full-time movie theater wouldn’t be economically viable there, especially as it will have to be located in costly new construction.

The Twilight is mentioned surprisingly often in Boxoffice Magazine, as the long-time operators Charles and Ben Spainhour frequently wrote pieces for the magazine’s “The Exhibitor Has His Say” feature. A thumbnail biography of Charles Spainhour appeared in the March 3, 1945, issue of Boxoffice, which revealed that he bought his first theater (for $375, fully equipped) in 1916. He bought the Twilight the next year. His first theater was also in Greensburg, but Boxoffice didn’t give its name.

jgenung
jgenung on January 3, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Date Correction to this Thread: The devastating tornado struck Greensburg the night of May 4, 2007. Not 2006.

jgenung
jgenung on January 3, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Sorry Chuck1231. I see you had already set the record straight and thanks for clarifying the reason for “the renovation.”

Keith Wondra
Keith Wondra on May 5, 2012 at 10:54 pm

The Twilight Theatre is being rebuilt. Image of the construction from the 5th anniversary of the Greensburg tornado: http://www.flickr.com/photos/historian77/7146937779/

Trolleyguy
Trolleyguy on November 21, 2013 at 10:57 am

The History Channel show “American Pickers” was set in Greensburg last night. (11/20/813). The guys were in a warehouse filled with items from the tornado’s aftermath that were going to be auctioned. Two 35mm projectors and lamp houses from the Twilight Theater were shown, as well as an exterior photo. They were expected to bring $500 each at auction.

KenLayton
KenLayton on November 21, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Does anyone know if a new theater ever did get built?

Joe Vogel: The links in your July 5, 2009 comment have now gone bad.

Silicon Sam
Silicon Sam on November 21, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Go to Street View in Google Maps, you’ll see a new theater is being built.

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=132+S.+Main+Street,+Greensburg,+KS&ll=37.605307,-99.292846&spn=0.020926,0.018818&client=safari&oe=UTF-8&hnear=132+S+Main+St,+Greensburg,+Kansas+67054&gl=us&t=h&z=16&layer=c&cbll=37.605228,-99.292842&panoid=yhrmQMbWFJGF-b1vIsHnyg&cbp=12,141.82,,0,13.65&source=gplus-ogsb

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 21, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Partial linkrot repair: The cable channel Planet Green is no longer in operation, and the URL of its web site now redirects to a web site called the Mother Nature Network. It has several items about Greensburg (use the site’s internal search) but none of them are about the theater.

The City of Greesnburg web site,however, has several pages mentioning the Twilight (internal search again), including pages with the two pre-tornado photos and the rendering of the new building.

Also, here is Silicon Sam’s Google Street View link in clickable form.

Plus here is a clickable link to Keith Wondra’s photo of the theater under construction.

Those views both date from 2012, and there has been progress since then. The Twilight Theatre now has its own web site, and more recent photos can be seen there in the “Construction” section. In addition, there are a couple more vintage photos of the Twilight at the “History” link, under the “About” section. The new Twilight will have a 27' x 55' screen, so it will rival those in much larger cities.

The new Twilight Theatre was designed by Spangenberg Phillips Tice Architecture, the Wichita firm that has designed projects for Warren Theatres. The firm donated the plans for the new house.

KenLayton
KenLayton on November 21, 2013 at 5:29 pm

A 55 foot wide screen is gonna take a lot of light to light it up, probably around 7,000 watts.

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