Orpheum Theater

122 N. 5th Street,
Springfield, IL 62703

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

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

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The theater cost approximately $2,000,000 to build, an extraordinary sum of money at that time. The Orpheum opened in 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.

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

Contributed by P Shaw

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

Roger6
Roger6 on July 10, 2006 at 5:24 am

Growing up in Springfield in the 50s-60s, I always thought the Orpheum Theater was a beautiful, grand theater (even as a crazy teenager!). After graduation from high school, my parents moved to Kansas City and soon thereafter, Uncle Sam called me. Long story but I finally settled in the Chicago area but still have fond memories of going to the Orpheum with my friends – not only to watch movies but to bowl and play billards in the lower level of the theater.

If anyone reading this would have any good pictures (inside and outside) of this grand theater (especially circa 50s period), I would gladly pay a reasonable fee to get these pictures.

wthompson
wthompson on August 31, 2006 at 1:35 pm

During the 60’s, I attended the Orpheum on many occasions and thought it was the gem of all the movie houses in downtown Springfield. When it was closed the huge organ that sat in the orchestra pit was moved to Springfield High School. It may very well still be there.

CathyS
CathyS on September 17, 2006 at 9:40 am

The Barton organ from the Orpheum theater is still at Springfield High School.

Willo
Willo on January 25, 2007 at 12:31 pm

RogerB, I have 3 photos of the interior of the grand Orpheum palace in Springfield. I took them from a publication featuring the history of the beautiful movie palace. I can email them to you if you want.

My personal email is:

They aren’t the best quality, but you can see well the beauty of the interior. Contact me if interested.

William Blasdel, Miami, Fl.

properduck
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
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
Peoria,IL

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
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.

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