Preston Theatre

400 N. Iron Street,
Salem, MO 65560

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Frisina Amusement Company

Architects: R.A.M. Anderson, Bruce F. Barnes

Firms: Barnes & Anderson

Previous Names: New Salem Theatre

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The 600-seat New Salem Theatre was opened by 1938. On January 24, 1941 it was renamed Preston Theatre, reopening with Clark Gable in “Comrade X”. It was closed in the late-1950’s, and was demolished in the 1980’s.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 19, 2012 at 2:03 pm

A walking tour of downtown Salem gives the address of the modern City Administration Building that replaced the Preston Theatre as 400 N. Iron Street, but it’s possible that the theater was actually around the corner on 4th Street.

Comments about the Preston Theatre on a community forum page say that it closed in the 1960s, but all the movies people mention having seen there date from no later than the late 1950s. I think it might have closed before that decade ended. It was apparently demolished in the 1980s.

Darren_Snow
Darren_Snow on September 9, 2020 at 2:50 pm

The January 23, 1941 edition of the Salem Post & Democrat-Bulletin announced that the Preston Theater would open for business the following day; the owners were Kenneth and Olive Mae Preston. The facade’s first floor was done in black structural glass, with a sunburst motif above the marquee. Inside, the color scheme was reported to be “blue, brown, cream, and soft rust.” There were 600 seats and no balcony. Projectors were by Simplex. The opening show was “Comrade X” starring Clark Gable and Hedy Lamarr.

Darren_Snow
Darren_Snow on September 9, 2020 at 3:03 pm

A photo of the Preston appears in the online guide to Salem’s walking tour: http://www.salemmo.com/walkingtour/location47.asp

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 2, 2022 at 11:21 pm

I wonder if the project in this item from the January 14, 1937 issue of Film Daily got built or not. Are we missing any theaters in Salem?

“Salem, Mo.— F. V. Mercer of Perryville, Mo., will open bids Friday on the construction of a new 600-seat motion picture theater here. Johnson & Maack, Chemical Building, St. Louis, are the architects.”

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