Omaha Theater

1506 Douglas Street,
Omaha, NE 68102

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dallasmovietheaters on November 16, 2021 at 7:15 am

The trade press cites C. Howard Crane and Harry Lawrie as co-architects in 1921

DavidZornig on November 11, 2016 at 2:06 pm

Omaha Opera House should be added as an AKA name in 1939. I added an April 28, 1939 photo of the premiere of “Union Pacific” at the then Omaha Opera House to the Photo’s Section. Photo & copy courtesy of Richard Thies‎.

greatray on April 9, 2016 at 2:11 am

I remember going to this theater back in the 70’s during the era of blaxploitation films. Movies like Shaft, Superfly, Across 110 Street etc… were showing there at that time. Great memories.

JIM_POLZOIS_13 on November 1, 2015 at 2:46 pm

I last saw this theater in 1955, when I was agout 16 years. The interior was in neoclassival, “Adam” style, in colors of Pompeian red, moss green and cream. Very restained and rather elegant. At that time the organ was still in the pit, though the grille openings originally draped with curtains had been plastered over and painted. Some said that the organ originally spoke throught a “mixing” chamber from the ceiling, though I doubt this very much. The sight-lines in this theater wer pehnomenal. From the last row on the orchestra level one felt as though one could reach out and touch the stage. There were two balconies, neither very deep. The house was usually quoted as seating 2200.

atmos on June 27, 2015 at 9:26 am

Theatre closed 26 Feb 1978 and was demolished in 1980.

Ogthedog on September 22, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Mormonpreacher, you think like I do. I would love to see Omaha’s old “theater row” recreated. The problem is, there was a reason those buildings were knocked down. They weren’t viable from a business standpoint. How would someone make a new Omaha Theater work?

histrebuff on September 14, 2013 at 1:45 am

The UP Center is located on 15th & Douglas. The Rialto Theater was located on the corner and it showed movies. Later the building contained the men’s store Tully’s. The only movie I saw at the Omaha was “Jaws”. Now that entire block is a parking garage. Downtown Omaha is now just a mass of parking lots & parking garages. I’ve lived here all my life and am very disappointed with the lack of historical preservation and seeing memorable buildings being demolished.

TorstenAdair on January 30, 2012 at 1:21 pm

According to the WPA Guide to Omaha, there was a theater on the east side of this block, where the UP Center is now located (formerly a parking lot, directly north of the library). Am I mistaken? And if it did exist, did it ever show movies, or just live shows?

rivest266 on December 4, 2011 at 2:03 pm

February 20th, 1935 grand opening ad as Omaha has been posted here

rivest266 on December 4, 2011 at 12:46 pm

April 15th, 1922 grand opening ad as World has been posted here

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 13, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Here is a photo of the World Theatre that appeared in an ad for Crane plumbing fixtures in a 1923 issue of the trade journal Domestic Engineering and the Journal of Mechanical Contracting.

mormonpreacher on November 29, 2009 at 8:30 pm

Here’s a thought that I’ve had for some time, after researching at the Omaha city planning department. I discovered that the blue-prints for the World/Omaha Theater are still down there, permanently preserved on micro-film.

The lot it sat on is still only occupied by a parking garage, and not an excessively expensive, valuable highrise office building.

Wouldn’t it be incredible if money could be raised and support garnered from some quarter to recreate this wonderful building?

I’ve thought alot about this kind of stuff. I think there’s a real, viable solution to the problem that provided the inspiration for the creation of this website. The Europeans have spent billions of dollars to recreate their historic, bombed out cities. Why could we as American lovers of architecture not start our own movement to begin recreating and rebuilding our own urban-renewal destroyed cities?

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 29, 2009 at 7:42 pm

Wellen; It’s a website based in Adelaide, Australia, mainly about Wurlitzer organs around the world:

mormonpreacher on November 29, 2009 at 7:34 pm

Where is the location of primary source material for finding this kind of information about theater organs?

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 29, 2009 at 7:23 pm

The World Theatre had a Wurlitzer organ Style H3M. Opus 530, shipped on March 18, 1922.

mormonpreacher on November 29, 2009 at 7:01 pm


beardbear31 on November 4, 2008 at 1:18 am

Back in the 70’s when I was a small child me and my mom were downtown doing some shopping at Brandeis dept. store and I asked her if we could see a movie at the Omaha Theater, she said that there had been a shooting there and it wasn’t safe…I’m not sure if what she was telling me then was true or not

MarkinIA on October 9, 2007 at 3:55 pm

In the 1970s the Omaha Theater started primarily showing what were (and are) known as “blaxploitation” movies (such as “Shaft”, “Superfly”, “Blacula”, and many lesser similar works.) Occasionally they’d show kung-fu or ultra-obscure horror movies, but it more or less became known as “the black theater” around town.

I think the demise of the “blaxploitation” subgenre in the late ‘70s contributed heavily to the demise of the Omaha Theater.

beardbear31 on June 3, 2005 at 2:07 am

A pdf file of Omaha’s theme song, as written for “Arthur Hayes on the great World Theatre Organ”, also with drawings of the theater, can be seen at:

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 6, 2005 at 5:49 pm

The World Theatre opened in 1922.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on October 30, 2004 at 5:48 pm

The architects of the World Theater were C. Howard Crane and Kenneth Franzheim. It opened in the early 1920’s and had a seating capacity of 2500.

beardbear31 on September 30, 2004 at 8:20 pm

A vintage view of the World Theater can be found at

THoffman on January 11, 2003 at 7:23 pm

My father was Carl Hoffman, and he managed the Omaha Theater in the 1960’s.

The earliest memories of my life include this theater. And from the eyes of an 8 year old, it was really a cool place to spend time.

I remember the deep maroon paisley carpeting. I remember the plastic orange containers of orange-drink that sat in a bowl of ice on the counter of the concession stand.

I remember the Balcony.

I remember Paxton Billiards next to it on the corner.

I’m sad about it not being there anymore as well. It was among the last of the “Old School” houses.

IvanSteinke on December 11, 2002 at 8:43 am

My name is Kent. I grew up in Omaha, and can still remember, just barely, the beautiful old theaters and department stores which were once downtown. One of the things I remember is the World Theater, which was torn down when I was six years old.

My mother took me see 101 Dalmatians at the World Theater, and I believe we also went to Snow White there. Even as a little boy I thought it was such a beautiful place. I can remember seeing the 15th Street wall collapse during demolition, and how sad I was that such a wonderful place was destroyed.