Orpheum Theater

1521 Welton Street,
Denver, CO 80202

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Orpheum Circuit, RKO

Architects: John J. McNamara

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: RKO Orpheum Theater, RKO International 70 Theatre

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News About This Theater

RKO Orpheum Theater

The original Orpheum Theatre was opened by the Orpheum circuit on October 2, 1903 as a vaudeville theatre. It was demolished in 1930 to build for RKO this new Orpheum Theatre, which opened February 11, 1932 with Bert Wheeler & Rober Woolsey in “Peach O'Reno” on the screen an RKO vaudeville on the stage. It was equipped with a Wurlitzer 2 manual 7 ranks organ. It was modernised several times. It was closed in 1953. It reopened on August 31, 1955 after a modernisation by architect John J. McNamara, the seating capacity was for 2,600.

Remodeled again, the seating capacity was reduced to 1,200 when it reopened on December 27, 1963 as the RKO International 70 Theatre with Tom Tryon in “The Cardinal”. It was closed September 10, 1967, and subsequently was demolished for a parking lot.

Contributed by TC

Recent comments (view all 22 comments)

Coate on July 30, 2009 at 4:22 pm

While known as the International 70, this theater showed (single-strip) CINERAMA during 1965-66.

Denver’s complete CINERAMA exhibition history has been included in the “Remembering Cinerama” series and is posted here.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on June 21, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Here is a Boxoffice magazine spread on the theatre, with eight photos, from the issue of February 4, 1956:
View link

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on August 21, 2010 at 2:38 am

1964 photos show what the real theatre business was all about.sadly.that is gone today.

Anthony L. Vazquez-Hernandez
Anthony L. Vazquez-Hernandez on January 10, 2015 at 4:05 am

The original Orpheum, that was on this very same site (1537 Welton Street in those days) opened in October of 1903 at the cost of $200,000. It was completely demolished in 1930 and was subsequently replaced with the last Orpheum to occupy the site which opened on February 11th, 1932.

Obviously, this existing description needs to be changed and a few of the photos are of the original Orpheum while a few are from the new.

How should this be handled-a case where a theater was closed, demolished and completely rebuilt as a theater with the same name. Should a new listing for the old Orpheum be created? What do you all think???

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 10, 2015 at 12:54 pm

Anthony L. Vazquez-Hernandez: I have added a page for the original 1903 Orpheum Theatre.

kennyjames on January 25, 2020 at 9:32 pm

The theatre reopened as the International 70 on Christmas Day, 1963. I’m currently putting together a series of books on the Denver area drive-ins and indoor theatres, including some booking histories. If anyone has any questions on the subject I’ll be happy to share my research with you. See you at the movies ! – Ken Mitchell

kennyjames on January 25, 2020 at 9:35 pm

you can reach me at . – Ken Mitchell

rivest266 on April 3, 2024 at 12:20 pm

1903 and 1932 grand opening ads posted.

rivest266 on April 4, 2024 at 9:24 pm

Closed in 1953 and reopened on August 31st, 1955. Grand opening ad posted.

rivest266 on April 5, 2024 at 8:21 pm

Reopened as the RKO International 70 on December 27th, 1963. Grand opening ad posted.

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