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.

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • Amarillo by morning!

    July 17th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Westward Ho! We’re pressing on to Amarillo, Texas on America’s Main Street for a taste of […]

    Westward ho!

    July 10th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Leaving My-yam-uh (the proper pronunciation as you wouldn’t want to be called out by locals), we […]

    Crossing into Oklahoma!

    July 3rd, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Continuing our virtual road trip of historic Route 66, we leave Joplin behind and make the […]

    Joplin, our last stop in Missouri!

    June 26th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News From Meramec Caverns State Park, Route 66’s paved two-lane surface carries us westward, toward Rolla and […]

    Meramec State Park

    June 19th, 2019

      Michael Bushnell Northeast News After crossing the Mississippi River on the Chain of Rocks Bridge, Route 66 loosely followed […]

  • Chain Of Rocks Bridge

    June 12th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News From the auspices of downtown Chicago and the Route 66 beginning or end point (depending on […]

    Welcome to Route 66, America’s Highway

    June 5th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News This week, we start a fourteen-week series on America’s famed Route 66. Each week we’ll feature […]

    Kansas City Athletics Baseball at Municipal Stadium

    May 29th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Located at 22nd and Brooklyn, Municipal Stadium was the home to many professional sports teams long […]

    Brush Creek synonymous with Plaza living

    May 22nd, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News This Kodachrome postcard published in the late 1950s shows the numerous apartment buildings built on the […]

    Sharp Building stood downtown

    May 15th, 2019

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News This week’s postcard, published by the South West News Company of Kansas City, Mo., features a Real […]

  • What’s Happening

    BOE postpones consideration of property tax cap proposal

    The Board of Equalization has postponed the consideration of a proposal that would cap the increase in property tax increases at Thursday's BOE meeting.

    Arrests made on Bellaire Avenue early Thursday morning

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News KCPD Officers responded to the 100 block of Bellaire this morning on a sound of shots […]

    Indian Mound Neighborhood Association gets new leadership

    New leadership joins the Indian Mound Neighborhood Association board in Northeast Kansas City.

  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.