Victory Art Cinema

607 E. Douglas Avenue,
Wichita, KS 67202

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Additional Info

Architects: C. Bates Manning

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: New Theatre, Victory Theatre

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Victory Art Cinema

The New Theatre was opened on May 28, 1938 with Melvyn Douglas in “Fast Company” & Lew Ayres in “Spring Madness”. It was renamed Victory Theatre on June 24, 1943. In 1967 it was renamed Victory Art Cinema and began screening XXX Adult movies. During the summer of 1971, before I started my freshman year at college, I attended a base ball camp near Wichita, KS. One warm Saturday night I drove myself over to Wichita to see a movie. I remember a 3-D sexploitation movie entitled “The Stewardesses” was playing at the Orpheum Theatre. I had already seen that one up in Kansas City. Two other downtown movie houses were closed down. About three blocks from the Orpheum Theatre, I can’t recall which direction, I came across the Victory Art Cinema that was showing double feature XXX adult films.

The Victory Theatre had a long façade constructed of brown and tan tapestry brick arranged in a 1930’s Art Deco pattern. A long orange and yellow box marquee ran across the length of the theatre.

A circular box office and poster boards were made of baked orange enamel metal. Yellow and orange light bulbs formed tracer patterns on the marquee underside.

The T-shaped lobby smelled musty, was sparsely furnished, but very spacious with narrow staircases at each end of the chamber. Carpeting had a woven wine and grey tropical design. Lining lobby walls were silver framed poster display cases, and tall, slender, silver sconces. The ceiling had box step cove lighting trimmed in silver. There were four auditorium entrances, each surrounded by silver plasterwork.

Upstairs was a long, Art-Deco style furnished mezzanine where the restrooms were located. There was no balcony.

An offending stench permeated an auditorium that was quite wide, but not particularly deep. It had isles running along both side walls, and two more isles that separated three sets of seat rows. Auditorium walls had silver framed plasterwork panels that framed zig-zag artwork, and wall sconces that matched those seen in the lobby. The ceiling had a vast square cove, decorated in stencilled design, with an amber glass, six point, silver light fixture. A wide stage was heavily draped in wine color valour and silver fringe.

Regrettably the old Victory Theatre had not been well maintained and was a bit rough around the edges. There were around a dozen other men watching those sizzling films, but no women.

The Victory Art Cinema was closed on October 30, 1977 with John Holmes in “The Danish Connection” & “Back Stage”. It was demolished in November 1977 and a park was created at this address.

Contributed by Lefty Walker

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

missmelbatoast on December 22, 2006 at 12:23 pm

Do any of you theatre buffs know in which Wichita theatre a juvenile vaudivillian named Louise Hovick developed her stip tease routine and changed her name to Gypsy Rose Lee?

seymourcox on May 28, 2009 at 10:01 am

A gentleman who grew up in Wichita recently told me that the Victory, though not identical, was quite similar to the Empire in Grand Forks, ND. While the Victory decor had a silver & wine color scheme, the Empire was decked out in tan & wine.
Buchner & Orth could have designed both theatres, though it is most likely that the Victory was a Boller Bros. creation.

Keith Wondra
Keith Wondra on August 5, 2012 at 8:52 pm

The Victory Theater was originally named the New Theater and was built in 1939. It was renamed the Victory Theater in 1943. It converted to art cinema in 1967. Ten years later it was razed for Naftzger Park.

Keith Wondra
Keith Wondra on August 5, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Miss Melba, According to local legend Gypsy Rose Lee did her first routine on the Orpheum Theatre’s stage. Many believe instead of the Orpheum she first did her routine at the old Marple Theater at 417 east Douglas.

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on November 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre in its adult days, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

JWO on November 13, 2015 at 1:21 pm

When the Victory Theater was in its hay day, it was a clean and well kept up place! But as the years went on past 1963 it and several other land marks started to fade and disappeared. Another wonderful place down town was the great Fairland Café, it was a great Chinese restaurant that stayed open 24 hours a day on Broadway, and half a block South of Douglas St.

dallasmovietheaters on April 5, 2021 at 1:46 pm

The New Theatre launched May 28, 1938 as a sub-run, double feature discount house with Melvyn Douglas in “Fast Company” and Lew Ayres in “Spring Madness.” It switched names to the Vicotry Theatre after a naming contest. The Victory ran to the end of a 30-year lease with mainstream product. In 1967, it became the Victory Art Cinema running porno chic and edited XXX titles. The cinema closed with a double-feature of adult titles, “The Danish Connection” starring John Holmes and “Back Stage.” It also had some live shows at the very end as performance / celebratory art on October 30, 1977 as the Victory Theatre to say farewell.

A demolition sale in November of 1977 allowed people to buy the original sunflower designed ceiling and many other artifacts uncovered during the razing of the venue including six giant murals and a box of 1950’s era unused 3D glasses. The theater was removed for urban renewal bringing about Naftzger Park

rivest266 on April 7, 2021 at 2:24 pm

Renamed Victory with little fanfare on June 24th, 1943. Small ad posted.

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