Crest Theatre

8800 Gravois Boulevard,
Affton, MO 63123

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Crest Theatre

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The Crest Theatre was located just outside the St. Louis City limits in Affton. It was a single floor theatre in the Quonset hut style. It was very similar to the Rio Theatre on the north side of the city. The theatre was just a few blocks to the west of the Annex theatre but about three times the size.

The Crest became the neighborhood favorite in just a short time. There was noting elaborate about the inside of the theatre. Just built to show motion pictures. The exterior was plain also but the marquee was rather unique. It was built to extend from the left side of the building out the the curb under which on that side was a free standing box office.The Crest had a rather large sign with flasing lights and neon. There was not color to the lights and neon though, everything was in black and white.

The theatre was always a neighborhhod second run but when ever they had four wall deals ie: “The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams”, the theatre sold out for every performance. The neighborhood patrons never even complained about the doubling of the prices for this type of movie. They supported their theatre.

When the new Sunset Hills Cinema 1 & 2, and the Mark Twin Theatres opened a short distance away on Lindbergh, the Crest went downhill. It lasted until 1979 when the building and property was sold by the Arthur Theatre chain to a fish and chips restaurant. The restaurant didn’t have the staying power that the theatre did, it only lasted a couple years and it closed.

Contributed by Charles Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

kathylewis
kathylewis on January 7, 2006 at 6:38 am

My mother, Norma Garwood, worked at Crest Theater from 1953 to 1957. She worked at the concession stand but anyone who worked during this time period would likely remember her. She would love to hear from anyone who worked during this period. Any responses can be sent to me & I will send them on to her. My e-mail is Thank you.

dapoppa
dapoppa on August 7, 2006 at 3:34 am

Now 60 years old, I still remember walking with my friend Buzz from Holly Hills and Morganford, where we lived, to the Crest show on Sunday afternoons for the double feature. The walk west on Gravois was always a treat as we passed St. George church and the cemetery on the left side and other sights we found exciting. Others theaters we walked to were the Avalon and the Granada, as they too were in walking distance. Sadly, all three are now gone, but the memories of those good times and wonderful movies still remain in my memories.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 21, 2009 at 8:54 pm

The Crest Theatre in Affton opened on July 20, 1948, according to Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of October 30 that year. In October, the operators of the house were seeking to make permanent an injunction against the St. Louis Theatrical Brotherhood, Local 6, lATSE, whose members had been picketing the theater due to the operator’s hiring of a non-union projectionist.

There’s an earlier article from Boxoffice, October 18, 1947, which might be about the Crest. It says that the Affton Theatre Company had plans to build a new theater on Gravois Avenue near Arthur Avenue. Google Maps finds an Arthur Avenue in Affton, but it’s nowhere near Gravois. The article also says that a rival company was planning a new theater on Gravois at Elgin Street, a short distance from the first theater’s location. There is an Elgin Avenue just a couple of blocks west of the Crest’s address.

If somebody can dig up an old map of the area, maybe they can see if one of the streets near the Crest was formerly called Arthur Avenue (though it’s possible that Boxoffice just got the street name wrong.) If one was, then the first theater mentioned in the 1947 article probably was the Crest. The proposed house was described as being 60x154 feet, with a concrete foundation and a steel roof. It was designed by St. Louis architect Bernard Bloom.

The second proposed theater, at the corner of Elgin Street, which was to have been called Ronnie’s Affton Theatre, and was to have been operated by the Wehernberg circuit, might have remained unbuilt.

JAlex
JAlex on October 6, 2009 at 4:06 pm

Theatre closed in April 1976. Final bill: “Phantom of the Paradise” and “Legend of Hell House.”

gcpretzel
gcpretzel on August 31, 2011 at 10:04 pm

I spent MANY happy hours at the Crest! I can still remember the original burgundy and beige swirled carpeting inside, just past the lobby. This theater DID have a small balcony area upstairs, that was generally closed, but no one ever stopped you from stepping over(or going under)the The velvet rope and going there……as long as you were well behaved and not “making out” or throwing popcorn or Milk-Duds down on the other patrons. My Grandparents owned the property right next door (to the East) at 8716 Gravois. They lived upstairs and ran (what was originally)the grocery store that was on the first floor. After WW-2 my grandparents added on to their building, on the West side.It was a tavern was run by my uncle. The parking lot was then shared with the Crest and Eddie’s Tavern and Ratskeller

Kyle Muldrow
Kyle Muldrow on October 10, 2011 at 11:47 am

Based on what I saw on Google Maps, the South Community Credit Union building now occupies the spot where the Crest Theater once stood. Of course, if I have that wrong, feel free to correct…politely…

Norman Plant
Norman Plant on October 10, 2011 at 7:36 pm

Kyle, you are correct. The credit union is in the former Long John Silver’s building that replaced the Crest. I know this because I managed the Long John’s when it originally opened. It turned out to be one of their poorer locations and closed soon after.

misterbluesky
misterbluesky on January 5, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Kyle, the address of the Crest was 8800 Gravois and the structure there now is, I believe, 8014 although it IS exactly where the theatre was.

Epistkool
Epistkool on January 22, 2012 at 12:58 pm

The area on Elgin where Joe Vogel is referring to is now occupied by a Quiktrip and a Circle K.

JAlex
JAlex on May 16, 2012 at 9:26 am

The Globe-Democrat of 11/28/47 said: “Virginia Mayo, St. Louis film star from Hollywood, attended the dedication of the Crest Theatre, and left the imprints of her hands in a block of wet cement in front of the theatre for posterity.” Since the theatre did not open until July 1948, it would seem “dedication” means “ground breaking.” One cannot help but wonder whatever happened to this cement block.

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