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 and then the Dove Theatre before eventually dropping adult films in favour of live adult entertainment which lasted into the early-1990’s.

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

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 20 comments)

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.

OKCdoorman on September 29, 2015 at 1:26 pm

It appears the newly-released DEEP THROAT was the opening feature when this theater went hard-core as the Dove around 1972, and Kansas City press were invited to the premiere.

OKCdoorman on September 29, 2015 at 3:21 pm

There’s been so much redevelopment in the area of the Kimo that hardly any very old businesses from that time operate there now. But I’m hearing from locals the Kimo is where the Verizon Wireless is in the street view, that it was a pretty big theater taking up most of the block, couldn’t have been open later than 1981, and it was raided for pornography immediately before demolishing.

OKCdoorman on October 3, 2015 at 5:51 pm

I’ve posted some on this theater and was finally able to view its presence in the local newspapers of the time.

In searching through the Kimo’s ads during the 1980s in the Kansas City Star, you can see the evaporation not only of adult theaters themselves but also any individually owned single screen houses. KCS movie ad pages of the late 1970s can not only take over 3 entire pages (on an average non-premiere weekday with dozens of films) but there’s perhaps only 1 chain in control of 15-20 total screens out of perhaps 80 to 90 total theaters and a couple mini-chains taking another 10-15 screens combined of their own, dozens of individual businesses and their film product wrestling for attention. At the bottom of barrel by then was of course the Kimo.

But starting in 1981 the picture changes drastically. Not only did the Star itself shrink for several years but the 500-lb gorillas literally take over the page —Dickinson, AMC, Commonwealth—the effect is ominously startling. By the mid 80s on a weekday the entire Kansas City range of movie marquees has dropped to a martially-designed, corporate-banner-controlled single page, with plenty of room at the top for some page filler. (There’s some recovery later in the decade.)

I write this to explain what happened to the Kimo’s advertising. The latest I can see this theater still labeled the Kimo was October 1972 when they were showing Bill Diehl’s THE SECRETARY, then they stop advertising for at least two months. I’m guessing this is when they take a rest break before becoming an X-rated operation called the Dove but wasn’t able to get to the next issues advertising it.

The Dove alternated porn with live shows through 1990. Originally in the early 1980s they advertised every day, and their ads include pictures and graphics . Then as the Star began losing pages the adult theater ads become simple tiny squarish paid blurbs each, scrunched into the bottom of the movie page, banished by themselves a couple pages away from the conventional ads around 1984, and by 1985 relegated to the sports section or a Friday entertainment supplement. By the late 80s the remaining three adult theaters including the Dove advertise only on weekends—you had to buy the paper four separate times to catch any of them—and somewhere around 1990 the Dove admits surrender to the VHS/home-video revolution and ceases even mentioning movies, only live porn vixen performances.

It would literally take at least a week poring through the Star’s archives to get a much better idea about the Kimo’s final years—including about its reported raid by authorities—but wanted to try to get a better idea of what happened to it.

aeast on July 10, 2016 at 2:24 am

Bardot’s “And God Created Woman” played at the Kimo for a solid year back in the late 1950s.

Stranger_In_A_Strange_Land on April 5, 2017 at 8:27 pm

I lived in Kansas City for three years in the late 1980s while attending grad school. Some of what little spare spending money I had was spent going to the Dove once or twice a month. Until I moved to Kansas City in my mid-20s I’d never seen a go-go dancer, much less a totally nude dancer, live on stage. I was mesmerized the most by the cute girl-next-door types that seemed to be from the Kansas City area.

When I left town in late 1989, the Dove was still alternating adult videos/films for about 90 minutes with a live feature dancer who would go on stage for a little less than half an hour.

Some of the live dancers were well known adult film starlets who would tour around the country. I remember Hyapatia Lee coming through the Dove for a week when she was supposed to be one of the top names in the business. She didn’t impress me much. Half the time for her dance sets was taken up by her husband/manager standing on stage blathering on and on and on about the highlights of her illustrious porn career before she finally started performing.

I seem to remember the postage stamp sized ad for the Dove appearing each Wednesday near the end of the sports section In the Kansas City Star. It would tell who the featured (and normally only) dancer would be for the following Friday-Thursday. Or maybe the ad ran in the Sunday paper for a Tuesday-Saturday engagement. The dancer would do three sets a night. Something like 7:15, 9:00, and 10:35.

The two names I remember very fondly are Trixie Vaughan and (Sybil?) Rush. Any time I saw either name in the ad I would be sure to catch all three sets one night that week. They both did a classy yet sensual set that always left me wanting more. At least one time they appeared together for a week. That might have been the only time I ever went twice in the same week!

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