Loew's Mid City Theatre
416 North Grand Avenue,
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The Princess Theatre, at the corner of N. Grand Avenue and Olive Street, was opened September 12, 1910. This building must have suffered identity crises because it changed its name about every decade.
The theatre on N. Grand Avenue was renamed the Rialto Theatre in 1919 and later became known as the Shubert-Rialto Theatre. It showed movies from 1930 to 1953. Eventually, this became the Shubert Theatre, then the American Theatre, then Loew’s Mid City Theatre, the Campus Theatre and the Sun Mid-City Theatre.
Late in its theatre career, this was a movie house. It seated 1,500, 200 fewer than the original American Theatre, although the Shubert/American’s seats were larger and provided more leg room. The narrow, long auditorium had only one balcony. The American Theatre moved into it on October 5, 1953, the American Theatre had found its new home but not for long. When the American Theatre moved in, the stage was 10 feet deeper than its former home.
It had undergone extensive remodeling, $150,000 worth. Some may have not recognized the palace because it had new everything, seats, seating arrangements, lighting, orchestra pit, carpeting, dressing rooms, draperies, lounges, furniture, painting and scenery lofts.
The terazzo floor and facade were marble while the paneled lobby had murals by artist John Sherman. Although the theatre had a striking appearance, it was not well attended. One critic said it was caused by the new and unusual wave of off beat drama. Audiences didn’t like it.
So the American Theatre once again changed its format to Broadway musicals. The playhouse remained at this location for seven years before moving back downtown to the old Loew’s Orpheum Theatre.
In 1960, when the American Theatre moved out, the building became known as the Loew’s Mid City Theatre after the swap with the Orpheum Theatre downtown. This gave Loew’s on North Grand along with the other big movie palaces along the Grand White Way. The Loew’s was a movie house and replaced the once lively stage with a silver screen.
The Loew’s Mid City Theatre didn’t last long in St. Louis. Eventually it had to close. Later as the Campus Theatre and Sun Mid-City Theatre, the theatre was also unsuccessful and eventually was razed.
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