Missouri Theatre

203 South Ninth Street,
Columbia, MO 65201

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Missouri Theatre

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The Missouri Theatre in Columbia is elegance at its best. Bob Hope appeared here and the Missouri Rocket girls, later to become the famed Rockettes, also got their start here. The Baroque style house is a true movie palace. A survivor of an era of fantasy and anachronism of true beauty.

The Missouri Theatre was designed by the Boller Brothers and is the only movie palace in Central Missouri. The magic of this theatre took its patrons back to the days of eighteen-century France. Past the outer foyer into the grand, red carpeted lobby with gold leaf on the walls are the grand staircase, the inner foyer and the entrance to the auditorium.

The auditorium mingles romance and adventure in its decor. The central chandelier weighs 1800lbs, and has over 200 light bulbs and its sparkling crystal.

The orchestra seats 800 and the balcony 436. The theatre is adjacent to the Missouri University campus and some classes are held on a regular basis at the theatre.

The proscenium arch features a stationary red waterfall curtain over silver velvet on travellers, which open to reveal the cinemascope screen. The theatre still shows first run movies unlike many of its peers.

The Missouri Theatre opened on October 5, 1928 and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1978. The theatre was first a vaudeville house with top acts and names. In 1953, Commonwealth Theatres took over the palace and has kept it in a top-run movie house since. The theatre has kept much of its original furnishings and features. But it has also been remodelled and up-to-date. One remodeling was completed in 1960.

The Missouri Theatre still crowns Columbia as an architectual gem. It remains special in its lavish surroundings and unique in that it’s one of the few palaces to still show first-run movies and remain intact not divided into several theaters. This theater remains an elegant movie palace.

The Missouri Theatre was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

eean
eean on October 15, 2004 at 11:15 am

This description is out of date. Movies are shown here, but only as special events. It has been owned by the Missouri Symphony Society for a while now.

JAlex
JAlex on June 21, 2008 at 9:39 am

The Missouri Rockets (now the RCMH Rockettes) did not get their start at the Missouri Theatre in Columbia but at the Missouri Theatre in St. Louis.

AndrewBarrett
AndrewBarrett on September 19, 2008 at 3:41 am

The original theatre organ from the Missouri Theatre is up for sale! It is a 3/7 Robert-Morton built in 1928 and is apparently mostly complete.

They only want about $4,750.00 which is really cheap!

View link

It would be REALLY nice if someone in MO could buy the organ, restore it, and re-install it back in the theatre!

WriterDianna
WriterDianna on September 9, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Keeping up with movie theatres is difficult. Here’s an article about Columbia’s theatres, including the Missouri Theatre – no longer primarily showing movies, but live performances. By the way, the Missouri Theatre was not the only “movie palace.” At one time, Columbia had three movie palaces on one street, all with roughly 1,000 seats. Two are still used for entertainment, the third is a restaurant. Here are the details on movie theatres in Columbia. http://columbiabusinesstimes.com/8240/2010/06/25/capturing-columbia%E2%80%99s-cinema-century/

JAlex
JAlex on September 10, 2012 at 9:17 am

Introduction says the Missouri Rockets/Rockettes started here. No, it was the Missouri Theatre in St. Louis where they originated.

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