Esquire Theater

6706 Clayton Road,
St. Louis, MO 63117

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Esquire at night 4

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened on November 8, 1939, this vintage Art Deco style theater was renovated into a seven screen multiplex. Retains vintage charm including an exterior ticket booth. It was closed for renovation in May 2014.

Contributed by J W Boone

Recent comments (view all 38 comments)

studio2
studio2 on December 29, 2011 at 1:22 pm

I remember standing in line in what liked seemed forever with my parents to see Return of the Jedi here. Also remember skipping school to see Young Guns II here as well. Great memories for me.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on February 9, 2012 at 11:30 am

Stood in line for opening day of “Jedi” myself! It was so weird to me that the flick was playing here instead of at Creve Coeur.

jmiller
jmiller on January 15, 2013 at 4:05 am

I’ll lead off by saying it was a MAJOR crime to not show “Jedi” at Creve Coeur or Mark Twain! Anyway, the Esquire was definitely a mixed bag.

In the 1970’s and 1980’s, the main auditorium was notable for its 70mm and 6-track Dolby Stereo capabilities, best used for films like “Blade Runner” and “Aliens.” The original fourth auditorium was one of Mid-America’s usual utilitarian screens. Nothing special, just reasonably sized. Saw movies like “Predator” there. My memory was that it had a separate entrance, box office and concession. You entered on the east side, as opposed to the other three screen’s north entrance.

Best not to speak of the impossibly awful two upstairs screens. Don’t get me started! Mid-America was advertising that “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” was being shown at the Esquire on the “largest screen in the city.” When my mom and I got there for a matinee, it was instead showing in one of the tiny shoebox-sized upstairs screens. That memory still gets on my nerves!

The newer four screens are along Mid-America’s amazingly unremarkable blueprint: unappealing and nondescript. I saw movies in those four auditoriums, but definitely never wanted to. Bad in the way the Woods Mill was.

The Esquire’s updating of the main auditorium around 1989 did go well, however, and had good projection and sound.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on January 29, 2013 at 1:18 pm

The 4 newer screens were built in 1989 – LONG after AMC took it over and the Mid-America name faded into memory.

Weekend
Weekend on March 13, 2014 at 12:08 am

Should’ve left it with one big screen like it was originally designed. I remember seeing Blazing Saddles upstairs in one of the little shoebox rooms in 1974. Never went back.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on May 28, 2014 at 6:23 pm

Theatre is currently closed for renovations.

MuttTheHoople
MuttTheHoople on June 14, 2014 at 7:23 am

Chris, have you driven by there in the last few days? It looks like it’s closed for demolition. The long glass panels are broken out, the “Esquire” letters on the marquee are gone,the marquee is pretty much trashed, and if you look inside there interior has been completely gutted and there are a number of dumpsters. It’s a pity that it suffered that horrible pseudo postmodern renovation that obliterated much, but not all of the original Art Decó façade and interior, but it looks like all original remnants have now been destroyed. It is nfortunate that the last if the Art Decó theaters in the city has been treated this way. A beautiful renovation and modernization of an old theater is The Tivoli on Delmar. Though they changed it from one big screen to three smaller ones, the original decor was lovingly preserved and the. we was beautifully integrated. I fear that the Esquire not be so lucky. I’m pretty sick of the disdain this city shows towards it’s architecture.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on June 24, 2014 at 9:40 pm

I live in LA – so no I haven’t driven by there! Wow…one of the last links to my childhood in St L is gone now, I guess.

MuttTheHoople
MuttTheHoople on June 27, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Not gone but it Lou’s like everything that was original is gone. I feel your pain. Most of the paces that I went to…. All those concerts at the Arena and Kiel Auditorium, movies at The Varsity, Shady Oaks, the Granada, the TransLux, even the theaters at the malls are gone and so are the Malls… Northwest Plaza is almost completely gone.

JAlex
JAlex on July 1, 2014 at 8:31 am

Since I remember the Esquire in its original, single-screen configuration, the desecration of this house began in 1969 when the balcony became two additional venues. It’s been downhill ever since.

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