Orpheum Theatre

1105 Massachusetts Street,
Lawrence, KS 66044

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The Orpheum Theatre opened April 21, 1924, with Corinne Griffith in “The Common Law”, a Myron Selznick picture. The risqué display in the Journal-World showed pre-code freedom trickled down to movie advertisements and newspapers. The advertisement depicted a revealing drawing of an artist and his model with the caption “Is Marriage Essential”. The story revolved around the Bohemian life style of the fascinating citizens of New York’s Greenwich Village.

When the Orpheum Theatre reopened on September 4, 1924, after a summer hiatus, it was noted in the Daily Journal World that Glen W. Dickinson operated the Orpheum Theatre, Varsity Theatre, and Bowersock Theatre. In July 1929 Mr. Dickinson remodeled the Bowersock Theatre and renamed it the Dickinson Theatre. In 1932, Dickinson, then operating 15 theatre, moved his general offices from Kansas City to the Dickinson Theatre.

In 1935 the Spencer-Knight Company leased the Orpheum Theatre from its owners, A.T. Hatfield and C.A. Hardtarfer. The theatre was remodeled, equipment upgraded and reopened on May 24 as the Jayhawk Theatre.

The Jayhawk Theatre, not to be confused with the later Jayhawker Theatre, dropped out of the local listings in November 1936. The 1936 Film Daily Year Book lists a closed Orpheum Theatre with 650 seats.

The building was later converted to retail use and for more than 50 years has been a restaurant, most recently Brothers Bar & Grill.

Contributed by Ron Pierce
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