Tower Theatre

1856 South Glenstone Avenue,
Springfield, MO 65804

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Antiquarius
Antiquarius on February 8, 2010 at 9:38 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.

JimS1
JimS1 on February 1, 2009 at 11:09 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.

DonLewis
DonLewis on September 12, 2008 at 7:50 am

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

KingBiscuits
KingBiscuits on May 22, 2008 at 8:04 pm

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

OscarGuy
OscarGuy on May 22, 2008 at 6:02 pm

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 March 11, 2008 at 4:06 am

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

dewright23
dewright23 on March 11, 2008 at 2:24 am

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).

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on December 28, 2007 at 2:44 am

This is a recent photo of the Tower Theater.

KingBiscuits
KingBiscuits on March 31, 2007 at 10:47 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.

rhodapenmark
rhodapenmark on November 2, 2006 at 1:20 pm

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.

swdailey
swdailey on August 27, 2006 at 4:08 pm

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.

KingBiscuits
KingBiscuits on May 13, 2006 at 1:13 am

The final film shown was “The First Wives Club” in January 1997. A report was even done on the theatre’s closing. I hoped the theatre would be reopened, but alas, no avail.

dabutcher
dabutcher on May 2, 2006 at 10:26 am

I managed the Tower in the mid ‘80s, and it was then “The Jewel In The Crown” of Dickinson Theatres,after a million plus dollars were spent on an upgrade of equipment (platters and Dolby).and an attempt to retro some of the art deco touches.

To have a radio station literally gut the whole building and make an attempt to say they were “saving” it by dolling up the remaining facade sickened me.

Like many a theatre, she was a beautiful old girl in her day,and her days ended much too soon. All for the sake of a buck.

KingBiscuits
KingBiscuits on December 23, 2005 at 9:46 pm

I saw Toy Story in this theatre in 1996. It was a nice though cavernous place. Though it’s cool KGBX (70’s Saturday!) now broadcasts there, it’s too bad they took everything out. One day, I plan to own a theatre styled after movie palaces like this, but as a multiplex and mainstream and art films would show with midnight screenings and special college retrospective series.

moviejs
moviejs on November 7, 2004 at 3:46 am

I saw quite a few double features at the Tower during the 50s – “The Colossus of New York” and “The Space Children” come to mind. It was a really nice neighborhood theatre full of art deco touches. In recent years it’s been used as the headquarters for a group of radio stations that advertise their various call-letters on the original marquee. The exterior is very well-kept and still attractive.