Tivoli Theatre

6350 Delmar Boulevard,
St. Louis, MO 63130

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Arthur Enterprises Inc., Landmark Theatres (USA)

Architects: Henry L. Newhouse

Firms: Newhouse & Bernham

Functions: Church

Styles: Italian Renaissance

Previous Names: Magic Lantern Theatre, U-City Cinema

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Tivoli Theatre

St. Louis' beloved Tivoli Theatre featured the finest in independent film and foreign language cinema. Architecturally and historically, the Tivoli Building is the most prominent edifice in the University City Loop area of St. Louis. It has a street frontage of 180 feet, is four-stories tall, houses seven specialty shops in addition to the theatre, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

On May 10, 1924, the ornate Tivoli Theatre opened to the public with a seating capacity of 1,440. The evening’s festivities included speeches by St. Louis Mayor Henry W. Kiel and University City Mayor Warren C. Flynn, a photoplay called “The Confidence Man” starring Thomas Meighan, music from the Jules Silberberg Orchestra, Art Lee Utt at the Kilgen Wonder Organ and five vaudeville acts. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch described the theatre as having ‘luxury and splendour eclipsing that of any other St. Louis theatre’ and ‘the piece de resistance of glorified beauty’.

Through the years, the Tivoli Theatre went through numerous changes in ownership and was temporarily renamed Magic Lantern Theatre in September 1969. It was operated by Landmark Theatres (USA) from 1977 to 1991. It suffered a long period of decline and closed in 1994. Joe and Linda Edwards, owners of the nearby Blueberry Hill, bought the building and theatre and began meticulously restoring the Tivoli Theatre, bringing it back to its 1924 splendour.

After a renovation costing in excess of $2 million, the Tivoli Theatre reopened on May 19, 1995 as a three-screen theatre. Architects, designers and sightseers have toured the restored Tivoli Theatre, marvelling at the marquee, the 29-foot tall vertical sign, the newly-built box office, the vestibule with its terrazzo floor and ornate ceilings, the new seats, recessed ceiling domes, proscenium arch, side wall arches, stage, orchestra pit and lush burgundy curtain. With the renovations complete, people could once again enjoy seeing great movies as they were filmed to be seen—on a big screen in an architecturally stunning setting. From 1999 to 2020 it was again operated by Landmark Theatres (USA).

Elegant display cases have been filled with movie memorabilia including Marilyn Monroe, Little Rascals, Wizard of Oz and Marx Brothers dolls, a statue of Vincent Price and a plaster Maltese Falcon. Golden-age poster collages and original posters of St. Louis-related movies, actors and actresses line the corridors.

The Tivoli Theatre is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

It was purchased by the One Family Church in 2021.

Contributed by Laura Resnick

Recent comments (view all 24 comments)

sophiek on September 24, 2010 at 7:21 pm

Hey JAlex- what are your sources for info on the Tivoli? Am writing a report and need solid info.

JAlex on January 31, 2011 at 5:39 pm

My sources are contemporary (meaning 1924) St. Louis newspapers which are available at local libraries.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on July 18, 2011 at 1:41 am

Wow! The U-City Cinema! The place where this whole movie loving obsession of mine began some 36 years ago! Wish I could read what was on the marquee! Thanks again, Norman!

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on October 6, 2012 at 4:27 am

Wow. That is the very first concession booth I ever remember visiting. Amazing find!

DavidZornig on August 17, 2014 at 2:22 am

Fire at Stivers Lincoln-Mercury 1956 (University City Public Library photo)just added. Via the Vintage St. Louis Facebook page.

rivest266 on February 20, 2016 at 11:53 pm

May 10th, 1924 grand opening ad in photo section.

rivest266 on March 7, 2016 at 1:08 am

May 19, 1995 grand opening ad as a 3-plex also in photo section.

OKCdoorman on February 2, 2019 at 9:04 pm

Temporarily closed/temporarily retired the name “Tivoli” on Monday, September 1, 1969, with Sidney Poitier in THE LOST MAN and Richard Widmark in MADIGAN. Re-opened on Monday, September 15, 1969 as the Magic Lantern with a “New British Talent” festival featuring the Peter Collinson films THE PENTHOUSE and UP THE JUNCTION. (St. Louis Globe-Democrat)

cinecism on November 9, 2020 at 10:59 pm

Visiting from out of town on spring break, I saw “Fargo” here just after it opened in 1996. It ended up being one of my all-time favorites.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on December 9, 2021 at 11:28 am

I believe the theatre was purchased by a church and they’re now running church services in the main auditorium. Not sure if they still show films.

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