Esquire Theater

6706 Clayton Road,
St. Louis, MO 63117

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Showing 1 - 25 of 38 comments

JAlex on July 1, 2014 at 5:31 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.

MuttTheHoople on June 27, 2014 at 2:28 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.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on June 24, 2014 at 6:40 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 on June 14, 2014 at 4:23 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 May 28, 2014 at 3:23 pm

Theatre is currently closed for renovations.

Weekend on March 12, 2014 at 9:08 pm

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 January 29, 2013 at 11:18 am

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

jmiller on January 15, 2013 at 2:05 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 February 9, 2012 at 9:30 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.

studio2 on December 29, 2011 at 11:22 am

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 July 15, 2011 at 10:22 am

\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!

Kyle Muldrow
Kyle Muldrow on December 20, 2010 at 6:46 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 December 10, 2010 at 11:37 am

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

JAlex on December 10, 2010 at 6:26 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 1, 2010 at 1:07 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?

kencmcintyre on April 7, 2010 at 10:32 am

Currently advertised as AMC Esquire 7.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on December 10, 2009 at 6:45 am

I suspect that the “City” folks patronize the Esquire because it’s familiar. They along with their families have been going there for DECADES!

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on December 9, 2009 at 10:28 am

That’s a 5 screener, right? Aren’t they more indie/arthouse oriented?

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on December 9, 2009 at 7:31 am

If I’m not mistaken, the Esquire is the only multiplex in close proximity to the “City” – what the locals call the city limits of St. Louis – which, for all intents and purposes, is basically “the hood.” That explains the savory characters that the other guy complained about.

Calling them PIGS is a bit harsh, though.

TLSLOEWS on November 23, 2009 at 9:15 am

Cool looking movie house does not look bad to be 70 years old.Bad costumers however is not a new thing, working in the theatre business for Loews in Nashville years ago we had the same problem at horror movies and others.If you show classy movies you get classy customers if you show horror movies you get horror patrons, but as theatre owners know all their money is green.Go to the movies during the week when all the freaks stay home.

donnie on November 23, 2009 at 8:31 am

The Esquire audiences are NIGHTMARES of epic proportion…they TALK, they take cell phone calls, they bring in fast food to eat, they bring babies to horror films…they are like animals who have been let out of their cages and the management is apparently terrified of confronting the illiterate street trash for fear of lawsuits and/or physical violence.

Wanna witness a social experiment? Go see “Precious” at the Esquire on FRI or SAT night-you will think you stepped into Lord of the Flies. It is a parade of the lowest common denominators within our society-PIGS.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on November 4, 2009 at 6:42 am

This week marks the Esquire’s 70th Anniversary. According to CinemaTour records, the theatre opened on November 8, 1939.

Here’s to you, Esquire – the movie theatre that made me love the movies!

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on September 8, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Are there any interior pictures of this place from the 50’s – early 80’s floating around cyberspace? I’d love to see a picture of the main auditorium (w/the original curtain & floodlights) from those days.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on May 29, 2009 at 7:28 am

Nice pic of “the good old days.” Wish they took another (or wider) shot to let us see what was showing on Screen 4.