Newman Theater was a beauty downtown

Michael Bushnell
Northeast News

The Newman Theater is shown on these 1919 postcards. It was the third and finest of Frank L. Newman’s movie houses in Kansas City.

The Newman Theater was located in the Brady Building, which had been gutted by fire in 1918. It was the largest and most expensive motion picture theater to be built downtown at the time. It was built on a 100-foot frontage at 1114-18 Main St. — a stone’s throw north of 12th Street. Newman’s other downtown theaters were the Royal, one-half block north, and the Regent, on 12th Street near Walnut.

Noted theater architect Alexander Drake drew up the plans for the fireproof, steel and concrete building that cost almost $400,000 to erect. Seating capacity was a little over 2,000, and the orchestra pit could accommodate a 35-piece orchestra. A large mezzanine floor promenade was located between the first floor and balcony that housed various lounges and sitting areas. There was even a children’s nursery area in the theater.

Each year on the anniversary of the date of the Newman’s opening, a weeklong celebration took place that featured special stage acts. One of the premier local acts, The Marie Kelly Dancers, were featured one year.

Frank Newman left Kansas City in June 1925 after 11 profitable years operating his theaters. He went on to manage theaters in Los Angeles for the Famous Players-Lasky Film Corporation, which paid Newman $900,000 for the Newman and Royal theaters. Many of Newman’s employees followed him to California.

In later years the Newman Theater was called the Paramount and later the Towne Theater. The theater was razed in the early 1970s in order to make way for a high-rise steel and glass office building that now occupies the site.

Comments are closed.

  • Chicago World’s Fair: Century of progress

    February 13th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News One of the highlights of the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair was the Firestone Singing Color Fountain. […]

    A Postcard from your Valentine

    February 6th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Around 200 A.D., the Roman Emperor Claudius was busy conquering various parts of Europe and Asia, […]

    No better view west of the Hudson

    January 30th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Built in 1906-07 by the Swenson Construction Company at a cost of $15,000, the stone-arched 15th […]

    Airport was among best in the US

    January 23rd, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News This Hallmark Cards postcard titled “Airplane View of Kansas City, Mo.” is actually a copy of […]

    A little slice of Beverly Hills in Independence

    January 16th, 2019

      Michael Bushnell Northeast News “Beverly Hills Acre Tracts. Ideal home sites on easy terms. City conveniences, no city or […]

  • Thru these portals pass…

    January 9th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News This week we make a departure from our normal preview of old Kansas City cards and […]

    Armour mansion an 1800s wonder

    January 2nd, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News When Kirkland B. Armour began construction of his palatial mansion on the boulevard that bears the […]

    Here’s to the New Year!

    December 26th, 2018

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News “Here’s to a happy New Year! A year wise in its plans, persistant in its efforts, […]

    Clapsaddle’s sad demise adds value to her cards

    December 19th, 2018

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News This artist-signed Clapsaddle Santa postcard was sent to Ernest Julien of Amsterdam, Mo., on Dec. 23, […]

    At 101, bridge still carries heavy traffic

    December 12th, 2018

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News This Max Bernstein pre-linen style postcard, circa 1925, was sent to Miss May Clifford, R.F.D. of […]

  • What’s Happening

    Two Kansas City women have been arrested, charged in connection with Tuesday’s shooting at Central High School

    Jamya D. Norfleet and Taylor McMillon face felony charges in connection with Tuesday night's shooting.

    15-year-old victim in shooting at Central Academy of Excellence has been identified

    The victim in Tuesday night's shooting outside Central Academy of Excellence has been identified as An'Janique Wright, 15. 

    Shop the International Marketplace this Valentine’s Day

    Still need a gift? Shop the International Marketplace for your Valentine!