Kimo Theatre

3319 Main Street,
Kansas City, MO 64111

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Kimo Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Alamo Theatre opened in 1910 seating 610. It was just south of downtown Kansas City on Main at 34th Street. Designed by Robert O. Boller of the Boller Brothers practice, the Alamo Theatre was a ‘reverse’ theatre, with the audience entering at the screen end. The Alamo Theatre was closed in the late-1930’s. After a period of closure, it was remodeled in 1943 by the original architect Robert O Boller, who gave it an Art Deco style makeover, and ‘un-reversed’ the theatre.

After the remodel the theatre was re-named Kimo Theatre and seated 592. The theatre had a small balcony with the staircase to the right of the lobby and concession stand located on the opposite side. Three aisles into the auditorium Molded plasterwork lined the ceilings of the lobby and auditorium. The Kimo Theatre closed by Dickinson Theatres around 1972. It reopened briefly as an adult theatre known as the Festival Theatre.

The street numbering may have now changed to 3406 Main Street.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 28, 2009 at 4:54 pm

In the last paragraph it should read “I don’t know if the Kimo South….”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 28, 2009 at 10:57 pm

A July 14, 1969, Boxoffice item does give the location of Dickinson’s Kimo South Theatre as Overland Park, so the Rio must be the one.

I’ve found both the Kimo and the Kimo South mentioned in Boxoffice’s columns about weekly grosses in Kansas City theaters as late as April, 1972, but in the 1973 issues I’ve seen only the Kimo South is listed.

The recent opening of the Kimo Theatre was reported in the June 17, 1944, issue of Boxoffice. However, the article contradicts some of Chuck Van Bibber’s original intro to this page. It states that the Kimo was the result of an extensive remodeling of the Alamo Theatre, while Chuck’s intro says that the Alamo Theatre was a block away from the Kimo.

Chuck also submitted Cinema Treasures' Alamo Theatre page which, if this Boxoffice article and another Boxoffice item from March 19, 1944, are correct is a duplicate listing.

In Google searches I thought I’d found contemporary mentions of the Alamo in Boxoffice from after 1944, but they all turned out to be items in the magazines “From the Boxoffice Files: Twenty Years Ago” feature. I think we can be pretty sure the Kimo was indeed the Alamo rebuilt, but it would be good to get confirmation from other sources.

The Boxoffice article said that the Alamo had been closed for several years at the time it was rebuilt into the Kimo, so it might not be listed in FDYs from the early 1940s. The Alamo might be listed at the Kimo’s address in earlier issues, though (unless KC did a block renumbering about that time.)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 29, 2009 at 4:59 pm

3319 Main and 3406 Main are on opposite sides of the street, of course. I think 3406 can be ruled out as a current address for the theater’s location. It might have been a former address, but it would have been extremely strange for a city to have flipped its odd and even numbers from one side of the street to the other.

Current Google Street View shows a bar called Davey’s Uptown at 3402 Main, and a business called Nick Carter and Company at 3410 Main, and the building in between where 3406 would be is certainly not the theater. It looks old enough that it could have held a storefront theater in the 1910s or 1920s though.

On Google Street View, the odd-numbered side of the 3300 block of Main is seen to be of quite recent construction, so the theater must have been demolished. The address 3319 does not appear to be in use currently.

I think the theater must have been about where the parking lot is in front of the Verizon Wireless store now seen in Street View, though the address of that store is 3385 Main Street. What must be the theater building can be seen in a 1969 aerial view available at Historic Aerials. Their 2006 aerial shows the modern building that has the Verizon store in it, but Google Maps' satellite view shows the site vacant, so the theater must have been demolished before 2006. I don’t know how old the Google satellite view is, but it has to be pre-2006.

kcfan on June 18, 2009 at 2:59 pm

I searched Polk’s City Directories, which listed the Alamo Theater at 3319 Main through 1929, disappearing in the 1930 directory. The Rialto Club, which was a popular nite club appears in the 1936 directory (could have been 1935—I’ll double check. Bars and nite clubs would have only started being listed again in the 1934 edition after prohibition) To the best of my knowledge, there never was a theater at 3406 Main by any name.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 18, 2009 at 4:17 pm

If The Alamo was open in 1929 but closed by 1930, it might have been the cost of making the switch to talking pictures that killed it, and was probably the economic downturn that nailed its coffin shut. That happened to a lot of theaters during that period.

So the time-line would be Alamo Theatre from 1910 to 1929, rebuilt as the Kimo and reopened in 1944, operating (except for the temporary closure in 1952) under that name until at least 1969 (the last time I can find it mentioned in Boxoffice), and then probably becoming the Dove sometime in the 1970s and operating as a porn house under that name at least as late as 1984, and finally demolished prior to 2006.

Hubinger on December 11, 2009 at 10:51 am

Not sure if this is useful information but after high school my friends and I would visit the Dove theater so this was in 1991-1992. The theater inside was large but I would have trouble guessing the capacity. A wall had been built dividing the theater in half with movies on one side and stage show on the other. The stage was large and the full width of the theater. Entering from the street the lobby was probably 20-30' deep before the theater. The theater was on the East side of main as the picture shows.

WTKFLHN on December 30, 2012 at 4:46 pm

I can remember the KIMO in the 1950’s as an art house. I can recall them Playing the “RED SHOES” for something like 5 or 6 months. It was at that time operated by the Dickinson Theater chain.

MovieSnob on June 27, 2013 at 10:32 pm

If I recall correctly, Dickinson closed The Kimo around 1972 or ‘73. From 1967 through the end, the theater operated as a first-run house, however with a steady stream of Russ Meyer films, and Swedish/Danish adult product, with most features running for at least four weeks.

The notable exception to that rule was, “I am Curious(yellow)” which only ran for about ten days, before the theater was raided, despite a 21-and over age policy for that feature. With no print, The Kimo closed for two or three days. That “Curious” engagement may have outlasted the film’s run at The Kimo South, which also ran afoul of the law in showing the Swedish import (though with an 18 and over policy). BTW, the Kimo South alternated French and British M/GP films with European X-rated flicks.

After The Kimo closed, it reopened a short time later, however the name escapes me. The new theater ran hard-core films, though, as I recall, it tried to pass it off as higher-quality couples fare. I don’t remember if the old marquee survived that owner, but that incarnation didn’t last long. By the time the name changed to The Dove, and catered to the trench coat crowd, the marquee was gone, as was the neon and any traces of its former grandeur—replaced with dark wood around a flush marquee and cheap stucco.

I wish someone had decent pics of The Kimo and The Kimo South. It seems nothing exists anymore, though since both theaters were raided, you would think there would be a newspaper photo somewhere.

KCB3Player on April 18, 2015 at 10:38 am

The name change for the Kimo was The Festival Theater – it was both a live performance venue and some of the better art films that competed with the Fine Arts Theater. It was really beautiful and the vintage Marquee was repaired with fresh neon and when lit up looked fantastic. I was able to get two of the side wall light fixtures that were identical to the ones that were in the Aladdin Theater. I got parts of those but the pieces were pretty usless without the rest of the fixture. The rug cleaning company that took over the Aladdin Theater building took off those faces to just have the lights showing. I ended up giving my pieces to Rick’s Mom of Rick’s Rock and Roll Club when he was doing reserve duty. Not sure if they were re-installed or now. As for the Kimo – it was completely destroyed when it became a XXX house with live nude performances. Sad loss for Midtown.

KCB3Player on April 24, 2015 at 11:15 am

I remember my Dad and I going to the KIMO to see the movie – A Raisin in the Sun. It had an exclusive run at the KIMO and did very well. Ruby Dee and her husband Ozzie Davis were there for opening night along with a sky Light. It was a pretty big deal for Kansas City and it all happened at The Kimo.

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