Orpheum Theater

116 N. Sixth Street,
Waco, TX 76701

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Interstate Theatres Inc. & Texas Consolidated Theaters Inc., Paramount Pictures Inc., RG Theatres

Styles: Baroque

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Orpheum Theater

This theater was the last operating movie houses in downtown Waco until it closed in late-1978 and was demolished two years later.

The Orpheum Theater opened on August, 1915. It had 500 seats in the orchestra and 50 seats on either side of its divided balcony (the division was due to the location of the projection booth).

Contributed by Don Mosher

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

JV2k4 on March 10, 2004 at 7:44 am

When was this theatre built?
What other uses did it have other than movies?

grandmarosi on June 23, 2011 at 6:52 am

i worked here all my high school years, i sure love it .mr mitchell was a very good friend, , there was jerry merritt, martha and judy, neil, mr mitchell would take me home at night cause i had a curfeww at the methodist home ,he would always let me take a bag of popcorn home to the girls ,at my dorm, he was a very nice man, i learned alot form working out side of the home , almost all the old downtowns are gone ,, sadden by this.i still kept in touch with me mitchell for years,then i moved away.from 1968 to 78

wacopat on April 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm

I worked there in 64 and 65. JC Mitchell had an office upstairs and one in the back of the theater also. He spent a lot of time there. Back then the Mitchel Brothers also ran the Imperial on Waco Drive and built a new Drive in where Richland Mall is now. I worked for the construction company building the drive in and at night at the Orpheum. Worked with Debbie, Sharon, Reen, Phil, Niel and Jimmy. Jimmy and I once met some girls who were at a future nurses convention or something and we invited them all to the Imperial. We took a roll of tickets and handed them out and as I recall we had about 50 of them show up, we appropriated some free pop corn and joined the ladies for an almost private showing, since there wasn’t a paying customer in the place! Lots of fun memories! I went off to school, to VN and when I returned I would drive by from time to time and then one day it was gone… not just closed but gone! Plenty of good memories, thanks for lettine me share them.

fpk9154 on August 14, 2013 at 5:39 pm

I was the manager of the Orpheum in the mid 70’s. I was the projectionist when the riot broke out. Mitchell Theaters had turned the theater into a one that showed primarily “black” movies (yes, there really was such a thing back then). Anyway it was premier night for a really big one called “Monkey Hustle”. Well the turn out was incredible and the manager at the time “Clint B.” just kept selling tickets. There were over 800 tickets sold and we had patrons in the lobby, on the stairs, on the balcony rails, everywhere. So the patrons who couldn’t see the movie started getting a little (understandably) upset. One thing led to another, a fight broke out in the theater then spread to the lobby. Eventually, police and fire department units showed up from everywhere around Waco, even as far away as Temple!!
When the smoke cleared, the manager was in deep trouble, not only because of the over selling of seats, but because he claimed that somehow the cash taken in, which was in a canvas bank bag, had mysteriously gone missing. Like in all of the confusion someone had laid their hands on it and “poof” no more money. I and the General Manager and Jim Mitchell were not fooled by this and the manager was fired. Welcome ME to the new managers job.

fpk9154 on August 14, 2013 at 5:57 pm

P.S. If any of you Orpheum Theatre guys and gals are on facebook, I am . Also Paul Kneipp but I had a previous account that I no longer use under that name and well, it’s a mess… Hope you can find me. Would love to exchange stories.

dallasmovietheaters on June 19, 2015 at 2:07 pm

The Orpheum officially took over for the Cozy Theatre on August 2, 1915 though had been running under the moniker earlier in the summer. The Cozy Theatre had moved into the space that was formerly the original Hippodrome on March 31, 1913. The Cozy had been operating at 604 Austin only since January of 1912 but when the Hippodrome moved in June of 1912 to the former Imperial, the Cozy went from Cozy sized to larger. (The Hippodrome would construct a new builld theater launching in 1913 and surviving past its 100th anniversary.) The Orpheum Theater’s incredible run is to 1978. In 1983, the theater was demolished.

steelarena on May 20, 2017 at 6:47 pm

This photo page is amazing. I was at the Orpheum to see Tex Ritter in person. We don’t see the whole page, so someone advise me of the date when Tex was there. I still had my leg in a cast from surgery, so this may be in the years 1947-1949 (?). Of the others listed, my dad’s contracting business was at 4000 La Salle, next door to the Waco Drive-In. We used to sit on his back lot and watch the movies for free—but we didn’t climb the fence for the concession stand. Roger Smith

50sSNIPES on March 10, 2022 at 3:18 pm

The Orpheum Opened In Late August 1915.

During World War II, The Orpheum Was Operated By Interstate Theatres.

rivest266 on June 16, 2023 at 7:36 am

August 1st, 1915 opening ad posted.

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