Orpheum Theatre

528 S. Main Street,
Joplin, MO 64801

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Paramount Theatre, Joplin history

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Fox Circuit, RKO

Architects: Trueman E. Martinie

Functions: Retail

Styles: Colonial Revival

Previous Names: New Ideal Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Orpheum Theatre

Originally built in 1891, the building was converted into the New Ideal Theatre opening on June 15, 1912 with 1,500-seats. On December 11, 1921 it was renamed Orpheum Theatre, screening Rudolph Valentino in “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”. It was listed with 600 seats. In 1950, the Orpheum Theatre is listed with 798 seats. The Orpheum Theatre was closed May 18, 1955.

Contributed by Jeff Chapman

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 6, 2009 at 1:57 am

The Orpheum in Joplin is mentioned in various issues of The Reel Journal as early as 1925. If the theater was built for the Orpheum vaudeville circuit, it could date back quite a bit farther. Orpheum expanded very rapidly in the region through the first two decades of the 20th century.

Like other major downtown Joplin theaters, the Orpheum was long operated by Fox Midwest. In 1952 it was of many Fox houses put up for sale to meet the requirements of the consent decree in the Federal antitrust case against the company.

After closing the house for awhile, Fox finally disposed of the business and leased the theater to an independent operator named P.D. Crockett. According to the August 28, 1954, issue of Boxoffice, Crockett intended to reopen the Orpheum on September 2. I’ve been unable to find any later references to the Orpheum in Boxoffice.

seymourcox on September 8, 2009 at 11:56 pm

In this 1936 color postcard can be seen the Orpheum Thetare (click image to enchance view). Next door was the Hippodrome Theatre, and across the street sat the Paramount and Fox theatres.
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seymourcox on September 11, 2009 at 7:11 pm

Judging from google maps (528 Main) street view, the Orpheum was of Colonial style arthitecture.
Probably the Hippodrome Theatre was that double arched “nickelodeon” style structure next door.
Still trying to figure out exactly where the Paramount Theatre sat across the street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 15, 2009 at 8:44 am

As Seymour Cox says, the Orpheum was located at 528 S. Main Street. The building it was in was called the Zelleken Block, which was built no later than 1891 and originally housed retail stores on its ground floor. A theater occupied the space circa 1909, as the Orpheum had the same address as that given for the Ideal Theatre, seen in this ca1909 photo.

The building has not been demolished, by the way. It is now part of Joplin’s Sunshine Lamp Historic District, to which it is a contributing building. I don’t know if much (or any) of the theater remains, though, as it was reconverted to retail space so long ago.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on April 6, 2014 at 4:49 am

The Orpheum had a Reproduco organ.

cartert2 on August 22, 2016 at 4:05 pm

I’m reading the book “The Secret Life of Houdini” it mentions that Houdini started touring the Orpheum vaudeville circuit around 1899. It states he was billed as “The Wizard of Shackles, A Man of Marvels” also just “Man of Shackles”. In Joplin, MO., he decided on the billing “The King of Handcuffs”. I’m just wondering if this would be the same Orpheum Theatre as mentioned in the book.

rivest266 on March 30, 2021 at 10:51 pm

Opened June 15th, 1912 as Ideal

Found on Newspaperarchive.com

rivest266 on March 30, 2021 at 11:32 pm

December 11th, 1921 grand opening ad posted.

Found on Newspaperarchive.com

MichaelKilgore on July 15, 2021 at 8:40 pm

Motion Picture Herald, Aug. 21, 1954: “The Orpheum Theatre. Joplin, Mo., will be reopened September 2 under new ownership and management. P. D. Crockett, of Webb City, is the new owner. He said negotiations for the purchase of the theatre were completed a short time after the theatre was closed last May by former owner, Fox Ozark Theaters, Inc., of Kansas City.”

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