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.

Contributed by J W Boone

Recent comments (view all 35 comments)

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on December 1, 2010 at 3:07 pm

JAlex posted this relevant Esquire info on the thread of another St. Louis area theatre:

“The Esquire converted to a three-screen venue in late 1969 and early 1970. The theatre was closed in December 1969 and the main theatre (without the balcony) reopened on December 25, 1969. The two mini-theatres (the old balcony) opened on February 4, 1970.”

When was the 4th auditorium was added? Also, when was the 4th aud rebuilt to add the 4 newer screens?

JAlex on December 10, 2010 at 8:26 am

Theatre #4 opened in March 1977. This structure was demolished during the summer of 1989 with the present building with four screens opening that November.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on December 10, 2010 at 1:37 pm

I’d love to see a pic of the old #4…as well as a pic of the original #1 with the floodlights & curtain.

Kyle Muldrow
Kyle Muldrow on December 20, 2010 at 8:46 pm

I only saw one movie here…“Fantasia”, when it was re-released in 1990. I remember driving by it many, many times when parents and I would visit the Science and Natural History Museums, which were in a park in Clayton at that time. When I last visited that neighborhood, it was really dead…hardly any activity at all on a weekday summer night. That’s not how it used to be…

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on July 15, 2011 at 1:22 pm

\o/ @ Norman Plant for that mid 70’s marquee shot. LOL @ the fact that “Flesh Gordon” was playing there! Somebody at Mid-America must have loved that movie…it ran at the Holiday Drive-In probably one or 2 weekends a year every year too. Then again, I shouldn’t be surprised – they DID operate a full blown porn house (Fine Arts) and featured a weekly diet of T & A at the Holiday, I-70 AND the Falcon Drive-Ins!

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 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 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.

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