Busby Theatre & Opera House

204 E. Washington Avenue,
McAlester, OK 74501

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Additional Info

Firms: Parr & Parr

Styles: Art Nouveau, Beaux-Arts

Nearby Theaters

BUSBY Theatre; McAlester, Oklahoma.

The Busby Theatre & Opera House was designed in 1908 by local architects Parr & Parr. It had a Beaux-Arts/Art Nouveau design that was an imitation of the St. Louis American Theatre. In the 1926 edition of Film Daily Yearbook it was listed with 382 seats.

Contributed by Lauren Grubb

Recent comments (view all 20 comments)

Okie on February 20, 2006 at 9:23 pm

Here is another interesting birds eye view of the Busby Theatre-

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Also in this image can be seen McAlester’s Scottish Rite Masonic Temple which still maintains it’s original 1930 Kimball Organ with over 3100 pipes.

seymourcox on March 11, 2007 at 4:16 pm

During its burlesque era the Busby Theatre most likely staged these types of strip-tease acts,

with this style of bump & grind rhythm music,
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seymourcox on November 10, 2007 at 2:44 pm

Here is an updated link to listen to burlesque music …
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seymourcox on October 10, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Inspection of this vintage snapshot indicates a wall poster advertising a movie “Queen of the Sea”, featuring Australian swimming star Annette Kellerman, 1918. If so, then the Busby
Theatre most certainly did persent film entertainment …

raybradley on October 11, 2009 at 1:00 pm

A photo of the former Busby Hotel where many famed vaudeville folk once slept (Building was converted long ago into Pittsburg County Courthouse).
The Busby Theatre sat directly behind the hotel.
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Animal acts had to stay at the Aldridge Hotel because there were holding cages located in the vast basement.

seymourcox on October 17, 2009 at 10:02 am

Here is a 1907 postcard view of the Busby Hotel. The horsedrawn bus was a free shuttle between the hotel and train depots. The theatre had not yet been built.
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raybradley on October 17, 2009 at 10:49 pm

1908 picture shows McAlester’s first Public Library surrounded by Busby Theatre billboards –
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1910 picture of Busby Theatre –
1924 picture of Busby Hotel fire (built 1905, burned 1924, converted into courthouse 1925) –
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1955 picture of Pittsburg County Court House with Busby Theatre seen in background –
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1970 picture of Busby Theatre after conversion into a church –
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The Aldridge Hotel also billed itself as fireproof?
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missmelbatoast on October 24, 2009 at 11:38 am

During the brief period when the Busby Theatre staged burlesques shows this was the type routine that strip queens performed.
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thesparky1 on March 17, 2015 at 9:38 am

Enjoy your theatres while you can. I was in McAlester every summer between 1978 to 2007 at Camp Hudgens. I was aware of the building just east of FBC but not aware of its historical significance. Its lost now and I would have loved to see it through the years while I was there. Through the years, we had visited the Masonic Temple, Eastern Star, Okla, Aldridge, old high school, and the old stores of downtown.

drjohnwilson on February 10, 2021 at 1:29 pm

Hello Theater historians,

I am writing a book for History Press about early theaters in Oklahoma. Is it possible that someone can send me a photograph of the BUSBY at 300dpi? FULL CREDIT WILL BE GIVEN. Thank you, Dr. John Wilson, Stillwater, Oklahoma.

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