527 N. Grand Boulevard,
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The Fox Theatre was opened on January 31, 1929 with Janet Gaynor in “Street Angel”. The St Louis Fox Theatre and its twin in Detroit were intended to be the Fox studio’s flagship Midwest theatres. Built in an exotic Siamese-Byzantine style, the St. Louis Fox Theatre alone cost nearly $5 million, at that time an outrageously huge sum for a movie theatre.
In the lobby, a pair of huge golden griffons flanked the grand staircase, and deep red faux marble columns ringed the mezzanine level. From every corner statuary peeked outincluding a group of large gilt maharajahs. The cavernous auditorium was spectacular in scope, dramatic in its lighting and swirling décor, and when the Governor of Missouri appeared on its stage on opening night to dedicate it, he was nearly at a loss for words. It was equipped with a Wurlitzer 4 manual, 36 rank theatre organ which was opened by organist Betty Gould.
From the 1930’s through the 1950’s, not only did the Fox Theatre host gala movie openings, like 1957’s “The Spirit of St Louis” starring James Stewart, but was host to elaborate stage shows, and big-name entertainers, like Nat King Cole. But by the 1970’s, the theatre was reduced to screening kung fu epics to half-empty houses.
In 1981, the Fabulous Fox, not so fabulous after years of decline, was renovated in a year-long, $2 million renovation. Improvements were made to the sound and lighting systems, dressing rooms, and stage.
The St. Louis Fox Theatre is now host to concerts and Broadway shows and is more successful today than at any other time in its history.
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