Liberty Theater

1333 Walnut Street,
Murphysboro, IL 62966

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Liberty Theater

The Tilford Theater, later renamed Liberty Theater, was continously operated as a motion picture theater from 1913 until 1998, by the Marlow Brothers (circa 1918 to 1967) and then by Kerasotes Theaters (1968 to 1998).

The small theater’s huge wall-to-wall, 32' CinemaScope screen provided a quasi-IMAX experience long befiore the IMAX process was introduced.

The Liberty Theater is now frequently used as a community arts center featuring concerts, stage shows and an occasional motion picture.

The theater has a new marquee and the stage area – never intended for more than a motion picture screen and its accompanying speakers – has been enlarged.

Contributed by Michael Ellis

Recent comments (view all 32 comments)

michaele on April 5, 2011 at 12:36 am

I suspect Kerasotes installed a platter to reduce operating costs. Previously, it was a two-projector, change-over booth.

bodkin6071 on April 9, 2011 at 11:37 pm

Here’s a recent picture of the interior, taken during the Big Muddy Film Festival in 2010:
View link

bodkin6071 on April 9, 2011 at 11:45 pm

And here’s another picture I had stowed away on Photobucket, looking towards the back. Notice the projection booth now houses the spotlights. I never remember the Liberty having the burgundy trim, it was white all around, and the curtain was a fugly brown color.

bodkin6071 on July 29, 2011 at 9:50 pm

A fairly recent Murphysboro American article on the Liberty. There are some exterior and interior pictures from 1950. Notice the interior looks completely different than it currently appears. The reason is the theater suffered a major fire in 1954 and reopened the following year, hence the remodel.

stormdog on August 12, 2013 at 1:04 am

I shot a few photos of the Liberty Theater when I passed through Murphysboro last summer. Here’s a link to the first one of the set. The others are there on my Flickr photostream as well.

stormdog on August 12, 2013 at 2:28 am

Thanks very much! The Liberty is a hard one to shoot, with the jet blacks and the bright whites together!

bodkin6071 on August 25, 2015 at 10:32 am

The Liberty was sold to the Kerasotes chain in August 1969.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 14, 2018 at 6:03 pm

Improvements to the Liberty Theatre were planned in 1918, according to this item from the May 18 issue of The Moving Picture World: “MURPHYSBORO, ILL. — Extensive improvements will be made to Liberty theater, costing about $15,000.”

bodkin6071 on March 31, 2019 at 9:02 am

Added some pics taken yesterday at the Liberty’s open house they had. Pictures taken in 1980 and 1998 of the projection booth from Henry Daniel’s (the Liberty’s longtime manager/projectionist) collection were on display.

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