Melvin Theatre

2912 Chippewa Street,
St. Louis, MO 63118

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Melvin theatre.

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The Melvin Theatre opened in 1914 and seated 481. It opened as an indepedent theatre and remained that way until its closing in the 1980’s. It only had two owners. One of the more successful of the neighborhood theatres located in the Dutch Town area of south St. Louis. Just a block away from the Yale Theatre on Minnesota and within walking distance from the much larger Melba Theatre on South Grand. Even until its closing in 1979 the box office was in the inside lobby and the tickets were on large rolls hung above the cashier. The marquee had no current attraction lettering on it it just simply said Melvin Theatre on all three sides.

The auditorium had two aisles with the larger seating section running down the middle and about four seats on the side aisles. The rest rooms were located on the second floor above the lobby of the theatre.

Bill Miller bought the theatre in 1972 and it was gutted and remodeled, replacing the screen, the sound system, the seats and a new concession stand but kept that old box office with the rolls of tickets.

The Hope Community Workshop Center owns the building, and as well as use as a church, regular concerts of live Christian music are held. The building is in great shape, the facade is restored and still has the marquee, recently painted.

Contributed by Charles Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 25 comments)

BMiller
BMiller on November 28, 2011 at 11:01 am

Kyle, I would be interested in touring the facility and would apprectiate if you would be willing to send contact info from the owner(s). My family reconditioned the theatre in the 70’s and I was the projectionist from 1972 – 1976. Best regards, Bill Miller

Kyle Muldrow
Kyle Muldrow on November 28, 2011 at 11:58 am

Bill,

Unfortunately, I don’t know the owners (I live in Southern California), so the only information I can give you is the Melvin Theater’s Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/themelvintheater

There’s a phone number and an email address on there. Give that a try an let me know how it goes…

By the way, how was the Melvin back when your family ran it? Was the neighborhood decent? What kind of turnout did you get? How were the crowds? What really brought them in?

Kyle Muldrow
Kyle Muldrow on November 28, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Bill, you can also go to the Melvin Theater’s website (http://themelvintheater.com) and go to the Contact link. That might be the best way to get hold of them. Again, keep my posted.

BMiller
BMiller on December 22, 2011 at 7:27 am

Kyle, the neighborhood was safe in the 70’s and small businesses flourished. There was an ice cream parlor on one corner, a small barbershop, and a convenient store all within 1 block of the theater. I was 8 years old when my father appointed me as the projectionist. I worked 7 days of week alongside my family.

Jaws was our biggest turnout. I believe that was the only show we extended 1 or more weeks to satisfy our customers.

Thanks for the info — perhaps I contact them for a tour.

Zorronov
Zorronov on March 10, 2012 at 7:55 pm

I recently watched the Disney remake of Mighty Joe Young. I saw the original at the Melvin Theater back in the 1950’s. Back then, the Melvin was showing double features of older movies. My great aunt used to take my sister and me there when she was “babysitting”. It’s a cherished memory.

Weekend
Weekend on March 11, 2014 at 11:31 pm

Kyle : where in So Cal?

davidgodbout
davidgodbout on July 28, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Bill (and anyone else),

I am a part of a group that has recently taken responsibility for the development and use of The Melvin Theater building.

Our preliminary plans are to utilize the building as a community based and resourced center, including auditorium space, classroom space and possible business incubation space.

I would love to connect with anyone who has historical information or experience with the building.

davidgodbout
davidgodbout on July 28, 2014 at 12:55 pm

I can be reached at also

BMiller
BMiller on September 24, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Hi David, I haven’t seen the theatre in over 35 years. we were family owned and operated from 1972 – 1978. What would you like to know?

BMiller
BMiller on September 24, 2014 at 12:02 pm

I can be reached at

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