Fox Theatre

411 W. Front Street,
Missoula, MT 59802

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Fox Theatre exterior

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The Fox Theatre opened on December 8th, 1949 with the movie “Everybody Does It”. The architect of the Fox Theatre was Charles D. Strong. The theatre was situated just outside Missoula’s main business section. It was a deluxe first run house with many special features.

The stone brick and stainless steel facade was topped by a neon-lit tower with the name “Fox” in giant neon letters. Glass doors led into a lobby carpeted in green and red with indirect lighting.

Before reaching the foyer, patrons passed through a large outer lounge where a striking metal refreshment stands were located. Illuminated animal murals were on the back walls. Decoration in the 1,050 seat auditorium had Native American theme.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

Liz on January 15, 2005 at 7:19 pm

killerbob on February 9, 2005 at 7:28 am

UPDATE: The sign has been moved and is laying along the side of the road along US Highway 93 two miles north of I-90 and looks weatherbeaten. I will try to take a picture if I can but I have to dodge traffic plus it may be two to five years before I can get a picture submitted to this site. I’m trying to get a picture of the theatre taken in 1959 showing the world premire of The Hanging Tree submitted but can’t.

killerbob on May 26, 2007 at 4:58 pm

Here is an updated photo of the sign. This is a picture that was in the 5/24/2007 issue of the Missoula Independant

kencmcintyre on February 14, 2008 at 7:43 pm

Here is a 1959 photo from the University of Montana archives:

killerbob on February 18, 2008 at 7:31 am

If I can find it, the 1950 University of Montana yearbook has an ad for the Fox with a picture of the first day of business in 1949. I will submit it as soon as I find it

killerbob on April 26, 2009 at 5:13 am

the 1984 photo was taken a few months after the theatre was closed

Trolleyguy on August 6, 2013 at 8:07 am

The “American Pickers” TV show on the History Channel featured some lobby poster boxes from this theater. They were salvaged by a couple from Pennsylvania who were visiting Missoula at the time of the theater’s demolition.

MTFireFlyer on February 19, 2016 at 5:49 pm

I remember going to this theater as a kid. I remember seeing the grand opening of Star Trek The Motion Picture here and I think the last time I went to a movie there it was a double feature. Caddyshack and some other movie which escapes me. Obviously not as memorable as Caddyshack! :) The don’t make theaters as grand as they were back then. Modern seats and all yes but not as much class like this theater had. Thanks for the memories.

Catfishjohn on August 31, 2016 at 8:56 pm

My grandfather installed the ceiling and recessed lighting in the iconic shape of Mickey Mouse. The flashing neon lights and marquee were mesmerizing. I remember watching Cinderella, I couldn’t have been more 5 or 6 years old. At age 14 I had a summer job as a tour guide at the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula. The museum was asked to to preserve items, like the big FOX neon sign, rows of red velvet seats and matching red velvet rope, the auditorium lights and if memory serves the screen, curtains and movie posters. Photographs were also taken at that time.

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