Regent Theatre

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

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wpeagle on December 5, 2017 at 12:04 pm

I worked nights as an usher and operated the refreshment stand at the Regent Theater in 1950. After the bars closed, members of the Kansas City crime family and their girlfriends arrived and stayed till the last show ended. The woman standing inside the refreshment stand in one of the four the historical pictures was the theater manager—I don’t recall her name, just that she was a handsome woman who drove a large, shiny black sedan. Bill P

WTKFLHN on July 22, 2014 at 2:27 pm

My mother told me when I was a child, that her mother used to refer to the Regent as “the smelly feet theatre”.

Don H

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 23, 2012 at 6:13 am

David and Noelle’s list of known Boller Brothers theaters says that the remodeling of the Regent Theatre by Robert Boller was a 1947 project.

The original architect of the Regent Theatre in 1916 was H. Alexander Drake, who also designed Frank Newman’s Royal Theatre of 1914 and the Newman Theatre of 1919, which later became the Paramount. According to the March 4, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World, the Regent was then nearing completion:


“Kansas City, Mo.—Work on the new Regent theatre being erected here at 107 East 12th St., by Frank L. Newman, manager of the Royal, is rapidly progressing and the theatre will probably be opened by March 10. One of the problems of Alexander Drake, the architect, was to design a house with a capacity of 700, as the Regent will have, on a lot 38x76 feet. This was accomplished by an unusual balcony, made possible by the fact that the theater is fifty feet high. A grilled celling, above which three 36-inch fans will suck air into ventilating shafts is one of the many interesting features being introduced by Mr. Newman. The entire cost of the structure is to be $60,000.”

kcfan on July 30, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Hey Dave W. The mystery theater you are looking for may have been the Palace, which was a block north of the Royal on Main Street and was open into the early fifties. It had a marquee in the forties, but it could have been taken down in later years. I asked a friend who was acquainted with the theaters in the downtown area, and he said it was indeed on the seedy side.

kencmcintyre on July 20, 2009 at 7:40 pm

The first comment for this theater notes its demolition for an office tower. There’s no trace of the theater building currently. Status should be closed/demolished.

retireder on April 22, 2008 at 12:56 pm

Thanks all. Would anyone be interested in helping me get to the bottom of the mystery theater on Main st. Believe it was located at the old Royal address, closed in 1936. It is known to have operated in the late 40’s and early 50’s, showed cheap movies like the Regent, had no marquee or apparent name and never had an ad in the paper. A real bare-bones operation. Seemed to have some seedy looking characters hanging around it. I know others that remember seeing it there but no one seems to know any more about it than I do. I have a theory but no proof.

RobbKCity on April 10, 2008 at 3:48 pm

Photo from 1950 of the Regent Theater.

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A photo of the entrance from 1925.

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A photo from 1961.

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RobbKCity on April 10, 2008 at 3:38 pm

According to the book, Kansas City Style: A social and cultural history of Kansas City as seen through its lost architecture, the Royal Theater, 1022 Main, was built by Frank Newman in 1914. The Kansas City Star reports that it opened June 10.

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The book states the Newman (aka Paramount) Theatre was built in 1918. It doesn’t state whether that was the construction completion, or opening, date though.

However, the book, Saturday Matinee in Olde KC states the Newman opened in June, 1919.

retireder on April 1, 2008 at 9:47 pm

I never thought of using theater organ records. Good Show! The Royal 1913 date is still possible. They could have started with a piano in their theater band. In 1913 most theaters had stage shows along with movies. Either way it’s a guess plus or minus a year. Growing up, my elderly neighbor had a theater band in the vaudeville days. He told me a lot about the “good old days”. One of my favorite research sources is the Theater ads in the Kansas City Star/Times of earlier days. It’s amazing what you can find about the entertainment of a time period.

retireder on April 1, 2008 at 6:44 pm

Good work! That date sounds about right. It would put the Newman theaters on a 3 year opening schedule. Royal (1913), Regent (1916), Newman (1919). Sounds Logical. I think 1916 can be used as a probable opening date.There are some mysteries about the Royal too.

retireder on April 1, 2008 at 5:38 pm

There appear to be some inaccuracies in your posting. 109 East 12th. St. is only 1 ½ blocks from 12th. & Main, the historic center of downtown, not on the outskirts. Also, it may have been redecorated in 1945 but it opened around 1920 or before. A picture taken in the early 20’s in The KC Star Book “A Splendid Ride”, Pages 132-133 shows the Regent Marquee clearly in a picture of 12th St. Frank L. Newman built 3 theaters, Royal Theater (1913), Newman (1919) and Regent (?) in the same time period. Born in 1935, I remember before and after re-modeling. The Regent struggled through the 30’s but made a mint during WWII. Showing 3 movies, it was open 24 hrs a day. Servicemen loved it and often used it as a cheap place to sleep between trains.

RobbKCity on June 12, 2007 at 9:12 am

The Regent Theater was demolished prior to construction of the 1201 Walnut office tower.