Fox Theatre

157 Park Central Square,
Springfield, MO 65806

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Related Websites

History Museum on the Square (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Dickinson Theatres, Fox Midwest Theatres, Mann Theatres, Paramount Pictures Inc., Publix

Architects: Carl Boller, Robert O. Boller

Firms: Boller Brothers

Functions: Concerts, Museum, Special Events

Styles: Renaissance Revival, Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: Electric Theatre, Publix Electric Theatre, Paramount Theatre

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 417.831.1976

Nearby Theaters

Fox Theatre

Located in downtown Springfield and opened on October 8, 1916 with Theda Bara in “Her Double Life”. It was originally known as the Electric Theatre with 1,800 seats and was designed by the Boller Bros. architectural firm. Interior decorations were by Kansas City based interior decorator G.T. Noel in a Renaissance style and local Springfield artist Oliver J. Corbett provided decorative paintings. Vaudeville acts were booked through the Pantages circuit and supplemented the movie program. It was refurbished in 1926 and a theatre organ was installed.

The Electric Theatre was taken over by Publix on February 9, 1930 and renamed Publix Electric Theatre. Paramount took over on September 24, 1930 and it was renamed Paramount Theatre. They sold it to Fox Theatres on November 30, 1933 and it reverted back to the Electric Theatre name.

It was given a major facelift and reopened as the Fox Theatre on December 4, 1947 with the world premiere of “Killer McCoy” starring Mickey Rooney. Five days later, on December 9, 1947, the Fox Theatre was badly damaged by a fire. It took a year and a half to renovate and the Fox Theatre reopened on June 23, 1949 with Hedy Lamarr in “Let’s Live a Little”. It closed on December 2, 1984 with Clint Eastwood in “Tightrope”. Afterward it became home to a church who moved out in 2014.

By 2017 the Fox Theatre is owned by the History Museum on the Square. As the museum expands, the Fox Theatre will continue to be an integral part of this development. Currently, the Fox Theatre is used for a variety of purposes including displaying exhibits, hosting concerts and lectures, and serving as an event rental space.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

cerjda
cerjda on August 28, 2008 at 7:17 pm

Worked here too. God that hideously Green and White color scheme thruout the theatre??????? And — I don’t think there was a square wall in that lobby at all. I’ll never forget the day I threw out 20 years of press material that George Hunter had saved. OMG! Tyndall Lewis almost kicked my butt up between my ears LOL.

seymourcox
seymourcox on September 15, 2009 at 11:23 am

Here is a 1949 photo of fire damage –

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seymourcox
seymourcox on September 15, 2009 at 11:29 am

Other images of the Electric Theatre -
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Antiquarius
Antiquarius on February 9, 2010 at 10:11 am

Other pictures of the Fox Theatre, when it was the Electric, can be found at:

View link

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scottc
scottc on August 10, 2012 at 12:39 am

I worked at the old Fox all through high school , right up until it closed . We had such fun showing the midnight movies on weekends and the summer parks program movies matinees for kids . The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Pink Floyd The Wall were always a trip !

midtown_kc
midtown_kc on August 11, 2014 at 2:24 am

I transferred to Springfield, Mo from KCMO to manage the Fox Theatre in 1974. It was a Mann Theatre. I was 21 years old. Very fun times. Someone mentioned Tyndall Lewis. “Lewis” was manager of the Gillioz Theatre and a great friend of mine. When I managed the Fox, it showed mostly Disney type films. One film I remember was Herbie Rides Again (1974). We had a real Volkswagon with Herbie decals parked on the sidewalk in front of the theatre. It had a microphone and speaker so we (the car) could talk to people walking by. I was told that in the Fox basement, artists used to paint all the theatre posters for almost all Springfield theatres.

midtown_kc
midtown_kc on November 9, 2014 at 1:52 pm

The Fox may have been restored if I am reading this website correctly.

http://historymuseumonthesquare.org/

wwatkins11
wwatkins11 on December 1, 2014 at 2:00 pm

When Abundant Life Church left the Fox, it was purchased by the Springfield History Museum, which plans to renovate the theater. It will be used for film screenings, live performances, etc. when renovation is complete. It is currently open and being used to house the museum’s exhibits.

dallasmovietheaters
dallasmovietheaters on November 6, 2020 at 4:49 am

The Electric Theatre launched October 8, 1916 with Theda Bara in “Her Double Life.” Ten years later, the Electric Theatre received a major refresh including a mighty $25,000 Wurlitzer Orchestral Organ. Sydney B. Dawson was the organist at the opening. On February 9, 1930, the Electric became the Publix Electric Theatre when the circuit took on the location.

On September 24, 1930, the theatre became the Paramount Theatre with a dedication show screening of “The Santa Fe Trail” starring Richard Arlen. In 1933, Fox purchased the Paramount when Paramount Publix went into bankruptcy reorganization. It reverted reverted to the Electric Theatre with a November 30, 1933 showing of “Man’s Town.” The Electric became the Fox Theatre with a major streamlined moderne facelift and a World Premiere showing of “Killer McCoy” on December 4, 1947. Just five days later, the Fox was gutted by fire leaving its front and four walls intact.

The Fox moved its screenings to the inactive Jefferson Theatre while recreating the Fox. the Fox reopened on June 23, 1949 having a 35 year run. The architects for the new look Fox were Kent Cole and Sam Bihr, Jr. The Fox Theatre closed on December 2, 1984 with Clint Eastwood in “Tightrope.”

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on October 17, 2021 at 7:36 am

Additional history credit Richard Crabtree. (Image added)

“The Electric was built on the spot where Heers burned on the NE corner of the square next to Reps in 1913. The theater was built by A.F. Baker of Kansas City for the Edward J and Frank Grubel also of KC at a cost of $75,000. The theater had a capacity of 1,800 and advertised as being fire proof ~ hope they go their money back 😉 Grand opening was on Oct 8th 1916. They charge 10 cents for adults and 5 for children. They had 12,000 customers in one day opened from 1:30 to 11pm.”

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