Tower Theatre

1856 South Glenstone Avenue,
Springfield, MO 65804

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Tower Theatre

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The Tower Theatre opened in 1948 seating 726. It was really a nice Art Deco neighborhood theatre lcoated on South Glenstone at Sunshine.

The front was done in a light colored brick with rows of brick extending outward to give a column effect. There was a large tower extending about twenty feet above the theatre with Tower in bright neon.

It had a large rectangular marquee with attraction panels on each side. A nice sized lobby and spacious auditorium.

The Tower finally lost its drawing power to all the multiplexes that were popping up around Springfield and finally closed its doors in 1996.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

swdailey
swdailey on August 27, 2006 at 8:08 am

The theater opened in 1948, not 1938. It was still amazing that a “suburban” theater would be built that far from downtown in a city the size of Springfield. There wouldn’t be a second one (besides the drive-ins) until 1970 when the Century 21 was opened.

rhodapenmark
rhodapenmark on November 2, 2006 at 5:20 am

I only saw one movie in this theater…“Dances With Wolves” premiere in 1990. I was only a young teen but I recall thinking the Art Deco facade of the theater was beautiful.

KingBiscuits
KingBiscuits on March 31, 2007 at 2:47 pm

Dances With Wolves was shown from November 21st, 1990 to June 13th, 1991, which may or may not be the all-time Tower record.

dewright23
dewright23 on March 10, 2008 at 7:24 pm

When the Tower first opened it was known as the Park-In theater.
This web site has it listed as the Tower Park-In Theater and incorrectly labeled as outdoor.
http://www.cinematour.com/theatres/us/MO/10.html
When my brother-in-law managed the theater he had a grand opening photo framed in his office where it was called the Park-In. According to him they changed the name because people were confusing it with a drive-in theater (which is probably why the confusion in the listing at cinematour).

KingBiscuits
KingBiscuits on March 10, 2008 at 9:06 pm

The final film shown was actually One Fine Day in February 1997.

OscarGuy
OscarGuy on May 22, 2008 at 10:02 am

I miss this granddaddy of Springfield theaters. It was a majestic old palace and those of us who grew up in the 80s remember it fondly. I was devestated when I heard that it would close and outraged that a radio station would move in there, especially since they gutted it.

Perhaps one day the building will be saved and the radio station evicted to make way for a refurbishment and a re-instatement of the lavish interior.

KingBiscuits
KingBiscuits on May 22, 2008 at 12:04 pm

That may never happen. KGBX is one of the city’s top radio stations and they could never be evicted.

DonLewis
DonLewis on September 11, 2008 at 11:50 pm

A 1987 view of the Tower Theatre in Springfield here and here.

JimS1
JimS1 on February 1, 2009 at 3:09 pm

When I was a kid, the Tower would show Paramount, MGM and Universal pictures. The other theatres downtown (Mann Fox) got Warners, United Artists, 20th, Buena Vista, Columbia releases. In the mid 60’s all of this changed. I remember when MY FAIR LADY played Springfield it was at the Tower. That was a first- Warner Bros. film at the Tower. After that the bookings were split between all of the theatres.

Antiquarius
Antiquarius on February 8, 2010 at 1:38 pm

I did not go to this theatre a lot, but I do not remember it being what I would describe as “lavish.” However, I remember going to this theatre in its later years each time with a sense of the history of the place. Something this theatre had in its earlier days, my father once told me, was a crying room, for parents to take noisy children to as needed. The theatre had a side exit that came out to the left of the main doors as you exited. There were coming attractions cases in this small exterior passage. The cases are intact.

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