Esquire Theatre

211 E. 12th Street,
Kansas City, MO 64106

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Esquire Theatre

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One of the long gone downtown houses of Kansas City. Opened as the Twelfth Street Theatre in around 1922, became the Wonderland Theatre in 1932. Then Downtown Theatre and by 1943 it was renamed the Esquire Theatre. It closed in the 1960’s.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 31 comments)

KCB3Player
KCB3Player on August 25, 2014 at 11:56 am

Maybe South Pacific was moved over to the Capri when the Tower finally closed its doors because my family did go to the Capri. There was one more long engagement movie at the Capri before BenHur. BenHur was the longest running movie ever in any KC Theater. I will never forget seeing it there and could not believe how wide the screen was and that beautiful sound. Sadly, my Dad took me to the Auction when the contents were being sold in preparation for the demolition of the Tower and Esquire Theater. All the beautiful Italian Marble on the walls of the long entry way just destroyed with no attempt to salvage it. The screen had already been removed and half of the seats were gone. We walked up to the projection booth and also just looked at the beauty of the theater especially the ceiling and the stage that was going to be gone in a short time. It was a sad time for KC especially because the Orpheum was meeting the same fate just a few months later.

WTKFLHN
WTKFLHN on August 25, 2014 at 10:23 pm

Mike. Did you ever work at the Plaza? The was a man with your last name there. He was an assistant mgr. But he left before I got there. I have heard his name mentioned. But I don’t know his first name.

Don H.

WTKFLHN
WTKFLHN on August 25, 2014 at 10:32 pm

Mike. Where was the Capri Theatre you mention? I think I’ve heard of it, but I don’t find in KC listings here.

Don H.

KCB3Player
KCB3Player on August 25, 2014 at 10:42 pm

the Capri was a Durwood Theater near 11th and Broadway and then became the Lyric for many years of performances by the Lyric Opera and the Kansas City Ballet. I really thought that UMKC would take it over. It is a very good theater originally built as a Shriner’s Temple. KMBC TV had their studio in the basement. I hope it can be saved. I did not work at the Plaza but that was a 2nd Cousin of mine that did. If it would have still been owned by the J.C.Nichols Co. it would have never been destroyed -it would have been a great live performance Theater and could could have been easily renovated. I used to go to all the WHB Saturday morning Shows and always sat in the balcony. I saw Goldfinger there. Loved that theater too. Feel free to call me sometime and let’s talk old KC Theaters. 8168133664

WTKFLHN
WTKFLHN on August 26, 2014 at 9:30 pm

Mike. I’ll do that, I promise. When is the best time to call?

WTKFLHN
WTKFLHN on August 26, 2014 at 9:31 pm

By the way. I live in New Orleans, now. So be looking for a 504 area code.

Don H.

KCB3Player
KCB3Player on August 26, 2014 at 10:43 pm

Afternoons or in the evenings after 8:00 pm. Enjoy the restoration of the Orpheum, Loew’s State (Palace) the Joy and the Saenger Theaterss (and a few others). I think the Joy is now a night club but at least it was saved. The Orpheum is similar to our Orpheum that was demolished in 1961.

WTKFLHN
WTKFLHN on January 16, 2018 at 10:21 pm

Mike G. I have a good one for you. Last Friday, I was watching TCM and the were running a 1953 movie from 20th Century Fox, Named “Inferno”, staring Robert Ryan, Rhonda Fleming and William Lundigan. The host, Ben Mankowitz, says that although the film was shot in 3D, it was only shown in 3D in L. A. New York, Chicago and London. I was nuts about 3D movies, especially color ones, and made a trip down to the Esquire to see 1st run, because it was advertised in 3D. I’m 99% sure if it hadn’t be 3D, I would have been agitated to say the least. Mankowitz also said most theaters weren’t equipped to show 3D. I’m sure most of the Fox theaters were because when I worked at the Plaza in 1955, they still had their 3D equipment in a storage room in the projection booth. What do you recall?

JAlex
JAlex on January 16, 2018 at 11:55 pm

“Inferno” was also shown in 3-D at the Ambassador Theatre in St. Louis that August. Somebody at TCM needs to do better research.

WTKFLHN
WTKFLHN on January 18, 2018 at 9:35 pm

JAlex. I quite agree. Thanks for the info.

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