Fox Theatre

527 N. Grand Boulevard,
St. Louis, MO 63103

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Fox Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened in 1929, 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 out—including a group of large gilt maharajahs. The cavernous auditorium was spectacular in scope, dramatic in its lighting and swirling decor, and when the Governor of Missouri appeared on its stage on opening night to dedicate it, he was nearly at a loss for words.

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 1960’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.

Contributed by Paul Salley, Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 147 comments)

BobbyS
BobbyS on December 8, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Scott, missed you by two days. I took Amtrak down there to see “A Christmas Carol”. What a Theater !! The staff member gave us over an hour tour. The auditorium was closed all summer for a complete cleaning and touch-up. It looked absolutely gorgeous…You are so right, one has to be there in person to see this beauty. What a lobby entrance with the organ playing as you entered. First time there and will return. This is what a movie palace is all about. A nice photo tribute to Stan Kahn. This palace is lovingly taken care of.

Scott
Scott on December 8, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Bobby, I attended “A Christmas Carol” as well. I sat in the lower balcony. When it was over I walked up to the back of the balcony, which has an amazing view, of course. Starting at the foyer on the top floor I worked my way down to the main lobby. I believe there are five levels: three balcony levels, the loge, and the main floor. I guess there are six if you count the basement where the main lounges are. In any case, it’s quite a feast for the eyes. The defunct Paradise in Chicago has long been my favorite theatre, but the Fox in St. Louis is a worthy challenger. And though the Fox is not technically an atmospheric, it is about as fanciful as they come. And yes, Detroit is equally fortunate to have their Fox Theatre.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on July 11, 2015 at 2:14 am

Added a small batch of photos courtesy of Kristen Stopp Godar, via the “St. Louis Missouri. History, Landmarks & Vintage photos” Facebook page.

BobbyS
BobbyS on July 11, 2015 at 3:20 pm

August 23rd at 2pm, The Fox will present “Those Were the Days”. The program will include Colonel Jack Moelman, Walter Strony and Lew Williams on the mighty wurlitzer. Also an audience sing-along, Laurel & Hardy movie, and a musical “Tribute to America”. $25 general admission, $35 for the mezzanine. What a Show!!! I won’t miss this one. Come one, Come all !!!!!

Patsy
Patsy on July 11, 2015 at 3:56 pm

This sounds like a wonderful show! If I were closer, I would be there!

Chris1982
Chris1982 on July 12, 2015 at 12:38 am

I wonder why they carpeted over that beautiful terazza lobby floor.

Norman Plant
Norman Plant on July 12, 2015 at 10:45 am

Chris, I was able to finally take the Fox Theater tour yesterday and this topic came up. There were two reasons given. Since most of the Fox shows are during the fall and winter it was a safety issue to avoid people slipping on the floor. The other reason was that it reduced the noise level in the lobby.

Patsy
Patsy on July 12, 2015 at 11:03 am

Thanks for the reason, but to cover the original terrazzo floor is a crime, imo.

JAlex
JAlex on July 12, 2015 at 11:20 am

When the theatre opened in 1929 the lobby was carpeted. So the carpet today is not unprecedented.

Norman Plant
Norman Plant on July 12, 2015 at 12:29 pm

And the carpet was matched as closely as possible to the original carpet and it looks great. The good news is the floor is still there and intact and could be uncovered sometime in the future if the owners so desire. Considering the scope and expense of the original and ongoing restorations of this theater and how such care is taken to match it to its original look, I can’t get too upset about the choices the owners have made.

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