Orpheum Theatre

122 N. 5th Street,
Springfield, IL 62703

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

The ornate lobby of the Orpheum (circa 1960-62)

The New Orpheum Theatre cost approximately $2,000,000 to build, an extraordinary sum of money at that time. The New Orpheum Theatre opened April 30, 1927. It contained 2,764 seats, and the walls were lavishly painted ivory with a background of turquoise, magenta, and gold. A 7 ½ foot-wide chandelier hung on the ceiling. It was equipped with a Barton 3 manual 11 ranks theatre organ which was opened by organist Joe Gibbs Spring. By 1941 the Orpheum Theatre was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary John Balaban.

The final show to play the Orpheum Theatre was Walt Disney’s “The Monkey’s Uncle” starring Tommy Kirk on July 31, 1965. The Orpheum Theatre was torn down that same year, replaced by a bank.

Contributed by P Shaw

Recent comments (view all 25 comments)

properduck on April 24, 2009 at 1:14 pm

The golden-voiced 3-11 Barton Organ with its white console adorned by gold filigree was played on opening day by Joe Gibbs Spring. It was used regularly until about 1940 when a roof leak damaged the solo chamber. The organ was not restored to operation until 1960. Tom Harmon, Johnny Ferguson and Wendell Kennedy played it the last few years.
This from the jacket notes of Concert Recording CR0005 made in 1965.

Sudsnsadie on May 5, 2011 at 11:46 am

My brother-in-law (David Eugene Punches) was a manager who hired entertainment/celebrities at the Orpheum in the 30’s. I have 30+ signed photos of the great and near great of this time period. Duke ellington, Cab calloway, Rita Rio, Dick Powell, Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, Stephin Fetchit, Harry Black Sr., Faith Bacon,Erskine Hawkins, Etc. Etc.If anyone has any interest of purchasing any of these-let me know-I’ll send a list of what’s available.

Ted Wanack

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 5, 2011 at 5:01 pm

There are three more photos of the Orpheum in this Flickr set.

From YouTube, here is a 57 second clip of Mark Gifford playing the Orpheum’s Barton organ, now installed at Springfield High School.

Roger6 on June 18, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Don’t want to sound arrogant, but I (Roger Beltz) uploaded the pictures you are seeing on this page (Not P Shaw). I don’t know what happened to the comments that I entered at the time I uploaded this picture. The comments seen below the picture might be that of P Shaw but, as I say, I uploaded the picture and I have this picture licensed under Creative Commons as © All Rights Reserved. It seems that the upload application being used my Cinema Treasures is not working properly.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 18, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Roger6: I’m not connected with Cinema Treasures except as an active long-time user familiar with its workings, and I’ve been able to puzzle out some of the features of the new site.

The attribution on this page only means that the theater was added to the database by P Shaw. Your photo attribution is on a different page. Click on the “Photos” link above the picture, or on the photo itself, then click on the thumbnail on the page the link fetches, and that will take you to the page where the photo and the comments you uploaded are displayed (the link to your Flickr page isn’t working, though. I don’t think they’ve worked out all the bugs yet.)

To the right of that photo on its own page it does say that it was uploaded by Roger6. There’s also a box below the photo where viewers can leave comments on the photo itself. Your user name to the right of the photo on that page is also a link, and it will take you to a page where thumbnails of all the photos you upload will be on display.

If you need more detailed information, you’ll have to contact the site’s moderators. The contact email addresses are on a page linked from the “About” page, which in turn is linked in the banner at the top of every page.

rivest266 on July 27, 2015 at 9:59 am

April 30th, 1927 grand opening ad in photo section.

DavidZornig on August 7, 2017 at 11:34 am

1929 photo added courtesy of Patrick Gillespie‎.

DavidZornig on August 25, 2017 at 8:46 am

Orpheum Lobby photo added, 1965 photo credit Springfield Rewind facebook page.

DavidZornig on February 9, 2019 at 9:19 am

37 images of the Orpheum Theatre in this Memories Of Springfield Facebook link. Once on the link, click right to see all the photos.


You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater