Kirkwood Cinema

338 South Kirkwood Road,
St. Louis, MO 63122

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analogcinema on June 23, 2016 at 1:19 pm

I worked at this cinema when I was in high school in 1986-87, when it was a “dollar show.” Actually it cost $1.50. I worked box office, concessions, usher, janitor. I would climb out of the second floor office window onto the top of the marquee to change the movie titles. I remember sitting in the lobby while the movie ran, smoking cigarettes and doing my homework, fishing butts out of the sand ashtrays with a sieve. I had keys to the place and went in on Saturday mornings to mop the floor and count the inventory. The only movies I remember showing there were The Color of Money and Little Shop of Horrors. As I remember it, there was a parking lot just north of the building.

rivest266 on February 27, 2016 at 2:42 pm

June 28th, 1968 grand reopening ad in photo section.

oceantracks on November 1, 2014 at 8:14 pm

I use to go to the Osage in 1964-65, and it was definitely called the OSAGE then, not the Kirkwood Cinema….

StLouisTheatreMan on October 30, 2014 at 11:41 pm

I think TheWiz may be confused about the dates when he or she worked for AMC and saw “Rocky Horror” at the Kirkwood. AMC didn’t operate theatres in St. Louis in the 70’s. AMC did show “Rocky Horror” but that was probably in the late eighties. The Kirkwood was operated by Arthur Theatres in the 70’s. I worked there as an usher/parking lot attendent, assistant manager and finally manager. I was hired in 1973. “The Harrad Experiment” had been playing there for months when I started. There were pickets outside protesting the sex and nudity in the film. My first night, we also showed “Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels” as a sold-out midnight show. The Kirkwood was known for showing art films for months. Before I started they had shown “Nicholas and Alexandra” exclusively for a long run. When the Arthur Theatres closed, the Kirkwood Cinema and the Webster Groves Cinema remained open because both theatres were partly owned by the original theatre owners and were still able to pay their bills. The Fox and the 270 Drive-in also operated independent of the rest of the Arthur circuit and remained open. I was the manager when the Arthur Theatres closed. Eventually, Mid-America bought us, closed for two days, and reopened, keeping the entire staff as well as me.

TheWiz on July 15, 2014 at 11:59 am

I worked for AMC in the early 70’s… A perk of working for AMC, was you could watch a movie at any AMC movie house for FREE… I remember a continuous Midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, what had quite the following.

I always liked the look of the Kirkwood.

DavidZornig on January 26, 2014 at 1:11 pm

I just posted a 1946 photo of the Osage, courtesy of the Vintage St. Louis Facebook page.

JAlex on July 15, 2011 at 2:55 pm

My research has shown that the venue first appeared in the Arthur Enterprises blanket ad in April 1967. It was at this time the theatre became known as the Osage Art.

Prior to this time, theatre had been owned and operated by Henry, then Charlene Wendt.

My research also has shown that this theatre had union problems…even before opening. It was in 1944 that this, and two other theatres (the Kirkwood and the Ozark), effectively closed every other theatre in the area. (In brief, the film handlers struck in sympathy with the projectionists.)

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on July 14, 2011 at 10:56 pm

My money’s on JAlex’s comment. The brother’s fact checking skills are second to none!

Coate on July 14, 2011 at 7:27 pm

“ Arthur Theatres took over the operations in 1961 and completely remodeled it and it became the Kirkwood Cinema.” (Chuck Van Bibber)

“Name changed to Kirkwood Cinema in June 1968.” (JAlex)

So which is it? 1961 or 1968?

JAlex on July 13, 2011 at 9:44 pm

During the period of April 1967 to June 1968 theatre was known as the Osage Art.

Operators over years also include…Mid-America, RKO Mid-America, AMC.

The last operator was Harman Moseley who reopened the house in September 1991 as a twin (each auditorium seating around 200). Closure as a film operation took place in October 1999

JAlex on April 26, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Theatre opened in January 1937. The architect was O. W. Stiegemeyer.

Name changed to Kirkwood Cinema in June 1968.

stlactor on March 30, 2006 at 5:24 am

Characters & Company, a non-profit community theatre company, owned the building from October 1999 to August 2002. The organization removed the center wall which had been constructed to convert the building into a two screen cinema and constructed a stage as well as backstage accomodations. With the addition of professional stage lighting and other technical accoutrements, the Kirkwood Cinema became an attractive venue for live theatre. Characters & Company brought new life to the building and served the community by providing family entertainment year-round. Under the leadership of Mark D. Vaughan, the theatre company produced a full-length musical for 2 weekends of each month and a one-act musical every Saturday morning which regularly attracted a large number of families. Unfortunately in 2002, Characters & Company lost the Kirkwood Cinema to a developer who converted the building into loft condominiums. An unattractive neon sign on the front of the building now advertises loft apartments. Despite the neon sign, the building, which was once full of life, now seems dark and lifeless.

lindasue on January 27, 2005 at 3:15 pm

I was one of the cashiers at the Osage Theatre from 1961-65 (my high school years). My brother, Bruce, (now deceased), was one of the projectionists and my other brother, Brooks, was one of the ushers.

Would anyone be able to tell me if Mrs. Wendt is still alive and if so how I can get in touch with her. She was a wonderful boss and a dear friend.

My name at the time was Linda Martin. I’m now Linda Tate. My mailing address is 860 East Lakeshore Drive West, Shelton, WA 98584; my phone # is 360-432-1607; and my email address is Hope to hear from someone soon.

Thanks very much.

Remofamily on May 16, 2004 at 9:43 am

The children’s theatre only lasted for a couple of years. The building is currently being renovated into loft apartments.