Beverly Theater

7740 Olive Boulevard,
St. Louis, MO 63131

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Beverly Theater

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This was one of several theaters located in the northwestern part of St. Louis. It was run by Henry Holloway.

In the 1960’s, Mid America Theatres took over the theatre. It was remodeled and turned into an art house in February of 1964 and renamed the Fine Arts at that time. During the day time it would run family movies and the evenings would show X-rated movies. The movies became more hard-core towards the end. In 1984, a small chain, called People Theatre, operated the theater until 1986.

The theater still stands and has been converted into a Chinese restaurant and banquet hall.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on June 27, 2008 at 12:33 pm

Oh yeah, the notorious Fine Arts – Land of Porno! Ooooh-wee! Even as a kid, I know the titles on the marquee were skanky!

Went inside this place 1 time to see a $1 show of “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” after whoever owned it at the time ditched the porn. I felt nasty all over just being inside the joint!

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on July 24, 2008 at 9:22 am

Here is the Beverly Theater building in 1999.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on October 31, 2009 at 12:50 pm

This is the National Register of Historic Places registration form for the Beverly Theater. Photos are near the end of the form.

Kyle Muldrow
Kyle Muldrow on December 11, 2009 at 5:34 pm

I totally agree with Chris about the infamous Fine Arts. I never went to or even drove past this theater, but based on the movie ads I read in the newspaper in the 70s, it wasn’t hard to figure out what kind of movies they were showing.

At some point, it was discovered either the building or the land for the Fine Arts was owned, at least in part, by…get this…the St. Louis Archdiocese!! That’s right, the Catholic church owned a porno movie house!! Granted, the Archdiocese was not involved in booking films or managing the theater, but that discovery created quite the buzz for a while! If anyone has any more information on that, please feel free to post…and correct if I got part of that wrong.

Based on the comments from Chris and the pic from American Classics, it seems the Fine Arts tried to go mainstream in its final years. As a single-screen dollar show in the mid-80s, that idea was destined to be short-lived. However, one personal observation: It seems to me that, once a theater went porno, it was very difficult to shed that reputation. The Plaza Drive-In in St. Charles is another example. It showed a lot of soft-core porn in the 70s, then tried to go more mainstream in its final years of operation, but it just didn’t work. Guess once you get the reputation of showing porno-type films, that reputation sticks with you and is very, very difficult to change. Granted, both the Fine Arts and the Plaza Drive-in were very old theaters that were well past their prime anyway, but I still believe people’s memories of the movies they used to show played a part in their eventual closing down for good.

Just my observation…feel free to comment…

JAlex
JAlex on December 11, 2009 at 9:55 pm

Ah, once again the ownership of the theatre in its “X” days comes to the fore.

There were ten recipients in the wills of Mr. & Mrs. Henry Halloway. In addition to the Beverly were the Gem and the Airway Drive-In.

The ten recipients were: the St. Louis Catholic Archdiocese, the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home, the Evangelical Children’s Home, Emmaus Homes, the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the Sisters of St. Mary, the St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf, the German St. Vincent Home, the Athletic Boys Club of St. Louis and the St. Jude Childrens Research
Hospital.

Kyle Muldrow
Kyle Muldrow on December 12, 2009 at 12:21 pm

Oh, I see…so Mr. Halloway, the original owner, bequeathed (sp?) the theater to the Archdocese in his will. Of course, Mr. Halloway had no way of knowing what future owners of this theater were going to do. Makes sense now…thanks, JAlex! Was it the Archdiocese who eventually sold the theater?? I always thought there was no way the Archdiocese was going to approve of the films the Fine Arts was showing. Guess they couldn’t exercise the option to sell for whatever legal reason…

JAlex
JAlex on December 12, 2009 at 2:45 pm

All ten of the religious & charitable groups I mentioned had an equal holding (10%) of the theatre. A newspaper report said each group was getting $66 a month under the lease for the theatre. The story broke in January 1984; the theatre property was sold to a local realtor that July.

LouisRugani
LouisRugani on April 14, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Architect Oliver W. Stiegemeyer was born in 1891, and by 1910 was listed as a draftsman, working for August F. Haeussler from 1909-1910 and then for Duggan and Huff from 1910-1912, the firm which designed the CLIMAX Theatre in Milwaukee and the CHEROKEE Theatre in St. Louis. From 1913 to 1931 he was a partner with a Mr. Kennerly and together they did a home at 3424 Longfellow in St. Louis, and the Deco/Moderne DuQuoin State Fairgrounds in Illinois. His final office address was at 4412 Lindell Boulevard, where he retired in 1942. Stiegemeyer died in 1985.

Weekend
Weekend on March 12, 2014 at 12:06 am

Saw summer of 42 at the fine arts in 1972. Jennifer O'Neill. Stunning! It went downhill after that.

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