Ozark Theater

112 N. Maple Street,
Eldon, MO 65026

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50sSNIPES on March 23, 2024 at 8:23 am

The Ozark Theatre opened its doors on September 23, 1930 with “The Eyes Of The World” (unknown if extras added) and was first operated by J.R. Ghosen. Tom Edwards purchased the building in 1933 and was remodeled in 1940.

The Ozark Theatre fire of February 1949 happened in the morning hours of February 24, 1949 caused by faulty wiring, causing an estimate loss of $50,000 in damages. Ms. Phillipean Spaulding was underneath the marquee after spending time at the business section upstairs when she turned around and saw the explosion. She said several doors and windows were blown open. Afterward, she ran across the street and back toward town to report the fire when she met two of the city’s firefighters, who immediately went Code 3. They fought the fire and climbed on top of the Masonic Temple. Bill Smith was the manager of the theater at the time and said that the janitor had left the building a short time before the fire started. Despite nobody being injured, Smith notified Tom Edwards (or Tommy Edwards by his real name). Edwards said that the total loss of the theater was the amount above, but most of which were covered by insurance, and immediately planned for a new theater at the site. The original schedule for the Ozark Theatre immediately hopped on over to the other nearby movie theater in Eldon at the time, Tom’s Theatre.

  • NOTE: It was also the second theater being destroyed in a fire in Eldon, with the first one dating back to the early 1900s when four frame buildings on First Street, just north of Maple, were completely destroyed. One of which was the Electric Theater, operated by C.H. Barkalow at the time.

The Ozark Theatre was rebuilt by Edwards and Smith themselves and reopened on September 8, 1949 with Doris Day in “My Dream Is Yours” with no extra short subjects.

The Ozark Theater closed on May 14, 1969 with Steve McQueen in “Bullitt” and was demolished in December of that same year.

SethG on August 6, 2019 at 9:50 am

Theater was not on the corner, but was somewhere north of the senior housing.

MichaelKilgore on June 14, 2019 at 8:37 am

From the Aug. 27, 1949 issue of BoxOffice:

ELDON, MO. – The new Ozark Theatre built here by Tom Edwards of the Edwards & Plumlee circuit to replace the house destroyed by fire last February is expected to be ready for opening about September 1. Constructed of concrete and brick, the new Ozark is virtually fireproof. A cry room will be one of the features of the house. The personal property of Edwards and his wife, the new Ozark will be managed by Bill Smith.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 5, 2014 at 2:09 pm

The Ozark was probably the unnamed theater in this brief item in the May 29, 1930, issue of The Sedalia Democrat:


J. Thomas Ghosen, of 1022 West Sixteenth street, has contracted to construct a $15,000 theatre at Eldon, Mo., and began work Monday. The plans and specifications were drawn by Leroy H. Parrish, of Jefferson City, Mo.“

Ghosen operated several theaters in central Missouri from the 1920s into the 1950s, some independently and some in partnership with the Commonwealth circuit.

Chris1982 on August 3, 2014 at 4:32 am

The Ozaark Theatre goes back to 1930 when it opened.