Victory Art Cinema
607 E. Douglas Avenue,
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Architects: C. Bates Manning
Styles: Art Deco
Previous Names: New Theatre, Victory Theatre
The New Theatre was opened on May 28, 1938 with Melvyn Douglas in “Fast Company” & Lew Ayres in “Spring Madness”. It was renamed Victory Theatre on June 24, 1943. In 1967 it was renamed Victory Art Cinema and began screening XXX Adult movies. During the summer of 1971, before I started my freshman year at college, I attended a base ball camp near Wichita, KS. One warm Saturday night I drove myself over to Wichita to see a movie. I remember a 3-D sexploitation movie entitled “The Stewardesses” was playing at the Orpheum Theatre. I had already seen that one up in Kansas City. Two other downtown movie houses were closed down. About three blocks from the Orpheum Theatre, I can’t recall which direction, I came across the Victory Art Cinema that was showing double feature XXX adult films.
The Victory Theatre had a long façade constructed of brown and tan tapestry brick arranged in a 1930’s Art Deco pattern. A long orange and yellow box marquee ran across the length of the theatre.
A circular box office and poster boards were made of baked orange enamel metal. Yellow and orange light bulbs formed tracer patterns on the marquee underside.
The T-shaped lobby smelled musty, was sparsely furnished, but very spacious with narrow staircases at each end of the chamber. Carpeting had a woven wine and grey tropical design. Lining lobby walls were silver framed poster display cases, and tall, slender, silver sconces. The ceiling had box step cove lighting trimmed in silver. There were four auditorium entrances, each surrounded by silver plasterwork.
Upstairs was a long, Art-Deco style furnished mezzanine where the restrooms were located. There was no balcony.
An offending stench permeated an auditorium that was quite wide, but not particularly deep. It had isles running along both side walls, and two more isles that separated three sets of seat rows. Auditorium walls had silver framed plasterwork panels that framed zig-zag artwork, and wall sconces that matched those seen in the lobby. The ceiling had a vast square cove, decorated in stencilled design, with an amber glass, six point, silver light fixture. A wide stage was heavily draped in wine color valour and silver fringe.
Regrettably the old Victory Theatre had not been well maintained and was a bit rough around the edges. There were around a dozen other men watching those sizzling films, but no women.
The Victory Art Cinema was closed on October 30, 1977 with John Holmes in “The Danish Connection” & “Back Stage”. It was demolished in November 1977 and a park was created at this address.
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