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Claydoh, The photo linked with cinematour should be the building just west of Blayney’s, 425 Westport Road, with the one-story, terra cotta-ornamented front. After the theater closed in 1998, it became part of Matsu, a sushi restaurant. Prior to being named The Tivoli, it was known as The Bijou, owned and operated by the late Summer Shipp. The theater capacity was 104 seats and not 426.
Here are a couple of photos from an architectural journal titled The Western Architect, Sept. 1919 issue. Lovely interior shot, which also shows the floor plan. Enjoy.
Check out my recent photos of the Midland while attending the Leonard Cohen Concert November 9th. Leonard sailed through three hours like someone half his age, but with an effortless grace that only comes from living a life full and rich. And oh…that velvet voice. A perfect evening in a heavenly place! Enjoy.
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.
I searched Polk’s City Directories, which listed the Alamo Theater at 3319 Main through 1929, disappearing in the 1930 directory. The Rialto Club, which was a popular nite club appears in the 1936 directory (could have been 1935—I’ll double check. Bars and nite clubs would have only started being listed again in the 1934 edition after prohibition) To the best of my knowledge, there never was a theater at 3406 Main by any name.
Lost Memory, You’re correct about the 1927 opening for the Aladdin. The Polk’s City Directory lists the theater for the first time in 1928, which would presumably place it’s opening in late 1927 or early 1928. You’re research skills are par exellence!
Here are a couple of photos of the Royal Theater, including an interior shot from the Dr. Kenneth J. LaBudde Special Collections Department, University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Wow Warren G.,
I had no idea this ranting ideologue had taken the stage at our fabulous Midland. Next time I’m there, I’ll be sure to sprinkle a little holy water around the place. Just kidding. Only fair…..Bill Maher played just weeks earlier. Ah the glory of free speech. I’d rather see The Ten Commandments to get my fix of holier than thou, righteous indignation. Too bad the photo didn’t better show off the beautiful boxes and loge. Could have been the glare from all those white faces.
While the previous owner allowed the theater to deteriorate beyond all hope of repair, at least AMC has pulled off a fairly flawless recreation of the original exterior. The blade marquee can be seen from from Union Hill and the gorgeous terra cotta restoration has made this one of the most beautiful theater exteriors anywhere in the country. Thanks to all responsible for saving this important part of Kansas City history.
The Midland curently ranks third largest among the remaining movie palaces designed by Lamb in the U.S.— the others being loews’s Palace in Bridgeport, CT and Loew’s Metropolitan in Brooklyn, NY. Kansas City should feel honored to have such a grand example of his work, mostly unaltered even after the recent renovations.
Hopefully this link will take you to some great interior shots of the Midland. The pics by Sean O. are best. Enjoy.
Here are a couple of shots of the chandeliers in the lobby. I hope to add better shots of the interior some day soon. Take a look at my other KC theaters in this set of photos on Flickr.
Yes, the new marquee is awesome! Here are a few more photos of the Main Street during renovation at my KC Theaters on Flickr. Hope you enjoy the other theaters too. I will continue to add new theaters as time allows.
Here are a few shots of the Aladdin exterior. Enjoy.
H. Alexander Drake was the Architect for the the Royal Theater, according to the architectural records I viewed at Western Historical Manuscripts Collection, University of Missouri-Kansas City. They have some blue prints showing the front elevation, auditorium, balcony and orchestra pit. No photos though. Thanks to Lost Memory for finding the gems in above post.
Thanks Mike for your great memeoris of the Aladdin in the fifties. Sadly, I didn’t get to enjoy its heyday. I too wish someone had photos from its early days. Too bad the smaller houses didn’t document their openings like the large theaters did. What a great treasure to have passed on to future generations. When the site allows, I will post my photos of the exterior.
I grew up two blocks from the Aladdin Theater in the working class east-side of Kansas City. The theater is located at Belmont Ave. and Truman Road. In the mid-sixties, the theater was showing “B” movies when Elvis impersonator, Rick West bought the movie house. He featured country and western style shows and of course himself as Elvis. He also featured Elvis films much to my sister’s pleasure. There was an adjoining drug store called Tull’s , which was converted to West’s Cafe. The facade is still intact and is a lovely ornate terra cotta structure. It currently is an evangelical church. I will add a photo soon.