Mark Twain Theatre

4532 South Lindbergh Boulevard,
Sunset Hills, MO 63127

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Mark Twain Theatre

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The Mark Twain Theatre was the premier of Fox Midwest Theatres into the St. Louis market when it opened in August 1968. The theatre was a beautiful large single screen theatre seating 986. The theatre was striking when passing it on Lindbergh Boulevard. It sat back from the street with landscaping and trees lining the front of the theatre. It had two large porticos that came to a point on each side of the theatre and formed a walkway from either side of the parking lot. The front center was all tinted class and the building was covered in white limestone.

A large spacious lobby greeted the patrons with a central concession stand. There were three aisles into the auditorium and the walls were lined with a gold drapery. The screen was curved and the theatre was equipped with 70mm. The screen was covered with Austrian-made curtains that raised and lowered before and after each show.

Located just down Lindbergh from the GCC Sunset Hills Cinema I & II it had no problems because of its size and the huge screen and excellant sound. The Mark Twain Theatre played “Star Wars” from August 5, 1977, and it played for almost five months. In the late-1970s, the Mark Twain Theatre was twinned.

The Mark Twain Theatre was closed in 1985 and a short time later was turned into a banquet hall that remains open today.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 37 comments)

blittlefield
blittlefield on May 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm

This theatre was a sister to a theatre in Mission Valley in San Diego. The late 70’s were a hard time for the industry, especially large single screen theatres. Seeing an empty auditorium of that size for 1941 was especially sad. The Jerk had it’s world premiere here. Working this theatre during Animal House, Close Encounters and Raiders was exciting!

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 27, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Described in this 1969 trade article: Boxoffice

jmiller
jmiller on January 15, 2013 at 2:05 am

My second all-time favorite cinema after Creve Coeur Cine! Magnificent 70mm projection and 6-track Dolby Stereo sound! Best memory was a re-release of “2001: A Space Odyssey,” my all-time favorite film! I personally remember the projection as being even better than at Creve Coeur. Other great memories were of “Superman,” “The Shining,” “Ghostbusters” and “Reds.”

It is cool that the building still stands, even though it’s now a banquet center! :–)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 15, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Now that we have photographs of both of them, I can see the remarkable similarity between the Mark Twain Theatre and the slightly earlier Valley Circle Theatre in San Diego, California, also designed by Harold W. Levitt.

I don’t know how many theaters Levitt designed for National General during the company’s rapid expansion of the 1960s, but the three houses in California that I know he designed for them (the Valley Circle, the National Theatre in the Westwood district of Los Angeles, and the South Coast Plaza Theatre in Costa Mesa) have all been demolished. I hope Missouri will decide to shame California by preserving the Mark Twain Theatre, thus demonstrating a greater appreciation for the theater designs of this talented Midcentury architect than his home state has shown.

hughgraham
hughgraham on January 19, 2013 at 10:54 pm

I was a projectionist in the St. Louis local IATSE, starting in the early 1980’s. While on the extra board, I had the pleasure of working at the Mark Twain, until the union went on strike against the owner, Wehrenberg. I have to say that at the time, the Mark Twain was by far the best equipped, best maintained theatre in St. Louis. The Norelco DP-75 35/70MM projectors provided bright, crisp images. The plush seating, crushed velvet curtain, clean sound system, and large screen, provided top notch movie viewing experiences.

MikeyM
MikeyM on March 1, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Hey Ben, or anyone else from the 72-76 era it’s Mike Mowery, shoot me an e , I will always remember what a beautiful place to work and watch a movie that it was.

Iagent
Iagent on August 28, 2013 at 7:58 pm

I worked at the St. Louis Mark Twain in the Late 70s, and into the early 80s. I worked Concession, Cashier, Doorman, Usher, Janitor, and General Building Maint. I enjoyed the Mann ownership a bit more than the later Wehrenberg Theatres ownership, but, both companies treated me well. Mark Twain was a 960 seat theater, which was becoming unheard of at the time. My sister also worked there before me, and Ben Littlefield hired me a few months after my sister concluded her employment (Thanks Ben). Before I left the Theater to start my career, I met the girl of my dreams at the theater, who became my lovely wife to this day. We are still together! One very memorable experience at Mark Twain was the grand opening of “The Jerk”. Carl Reiner, and Steve Martin appeared for the showing and it was awesome! I believe that was 1979. The whole place was a classy atmosphere that is hard to find today, or even in the last twenty years in a suburban area. Maybe someday, the big screen will come back. Thanks to all who made those good times possible!

If any other Mark Twain Friends want to contact.

Thanks,
Rick

darrenparlett
darrenparlett on August 28, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Rick what a wonderful story!

oceantracks
oceantracks on September 3, 2013 at 12:52 am

Girlfriend worked there when it first opened in the 60s…….saw Romeo & Juliet there.

Great theater….not so great girlfriend lol

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 10, 2014 at 2:27 am

Architects Ernest W. LeDuc and William H. Farwell were members of the firm of Harold W. Levitt & Associates.

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