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I also found this great color picture of the auditorium from an old book called Movie Palaces by Ave Pildas published by C.N. Potter and distributed by Crown Books.
It dates from 1980 probably around the time I saw The Empire Strikes Back there.
Here’s a newspaper ad from the Kansas City Star on 5/20/80 promoting the opening of The Empire Strikes Back at the Midland.
It was one of the greatest moviegoing experiences of my life.
My wife and I go here as often as we can. It’s a great moviegoing experience. I used to go here all the time growing up and it hasn’t changed that much in the past 30 years. It needs a little upkeep and half the speakers don’t work and there’s a small chunk missing in the corner on screen #2 but that’s somewhat minor. I’m still glad the place is still open. They draw big crowds on weekends which is great to see.
The theater’s been closed for quite some time. I think the Fine Arts Group is adding a second screen next door where the old Ben Franklin used to be but I’m not sure. They did a nice job with the renovation a few years ago but I miss the place being a revival house. First run movies are fine but some of the things they show there are kind of odd for the neighborhood. I don’t think art house fare will play that well in that part of Independence. I went there every week when it was a revival house. I saw great movies like Lawrence Of Arabia, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Ben Hur, Gone With The Wind, and many, many others there. I hope it reopens soon and they start playing classic movies again.
This was one of my favorite theaters growing up. It was down the street from my junior high school and my mom worked across the street for several years. I spent a lot of time at the arcade that was right next door too. It opened in the early ‘70’s as a Mid-America theater. By the early '90’s, it was a dollar house and the owners weren’t keeping up with the upkeep. It had fallen into disrepair. Globe Cinemas bought the theater a few years ago and totally renovated the inside and outside. They renamed it the Pharaoh and turned it into a first run house again. Here are some pictures of the new exterior.
It’s now a real nice theater that doesn’t draw the huge crowds the megaplex on the other side of the city does. It’s a nice moviegoing experience.
This was one of my favorite theaters growing up. I saw a lot of movies there because it was about 10 minutes from my house. The big auditorium always had good presentation and sound. It’s still standing today although it’s been empty for about ten years. It’s really sad to see the building falling apart. I’ll always have fond memories of the place especially in the late ‘70’s/early '80’s when it had the original paint job and before the Blue Ridge West theaters opened in the mall. It was one of the best places in Kansas City to see a movie. There aren’t any theaters like it around here any more.
The Lodge cinema unfortunately doesn’t show first run movies anymore. They show DVD’s projected onto the screen for guests of the lodge. A good friend of mine grew up down there and saw Star Wars there. He posts about his experience on his great blog.
I saw Return Of The Jedi here in 1983 and was completely blown away. What a magnificent theater. It’s a shame it was torn down for a bookstore.
I was also a huge Glenwood fan. I saw Star Wars there the night it opened in 1977 and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I was seven at the time and had never seen a movie in such grand surroundings. I became a fairly frequent visitor there in the early ‘90’s and it was still a great moviegoing experience. Granted, the place wasn’t maintained as well as in its glory days but it was still a very nice theater with great sound. My friends and I went there the last weekend it was open and I cut out a small piece of the carpet as a souvenier of my favorite theater. I posted some more thoughts on the theater on my friend’s blog in honor of Star Wars’ 30th Anniversary.
It’s a real shame there aren’t any theaters like the Glenwood in Kansas City anymore.