Lux Theatre

308 S. Main Street,
Joplin, MO 64801

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Dickinson Theatres

Architects: Trueman E. Martinie

Styles: Neo-Vintage

Previous Names: Lyric Theatre, Pershing Theatre, Gem Theatre, De Ray Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Lux - Joplin, MO

1909 postcard views show the Lyric Theatre standing at 3rd Street and S. Main Street. From 1921 to 1928 it operated as the Pershing Theatre. It became the Gem Theatre in October 1928 and closed on February 25, 1929. It went over to movies and became the De Ray Theatre on June 2, 1929 when it was remodelled by architect T.E. Martinie. It became the Lux Theatre from March 30 1952 when it was taken over by Dickinson Theatres and it closed in 1972.

Contributed by Red Ball

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

seymourcox on September 20, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Here is one of the 1909 colour postcard views that feature the Lyric Theatre – – -
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raybradley on September 20, 2009 at 3:53 pm

This 1937 airplane view shows that the Lyric Theatre (left of center) had a nice size stagehouse. There also appears to be a modern marquee.
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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 20, 2009 at 7:01 pm

This theater should be listed under its final name, the Lux Theatre. It also had at least one name between Lyric and Lux. From the 1930s until 1952 it was the DeRay Theatre.

The Lyric Theatre opened after 1900 and was in operation at least as early as 1906 when it was shown on the Sanborn Fire Insurance map of Joplin. Though it was a narrow house it had a fairly deep stage, and may have presented legitimate stage productions, though it was not the town’s largest theater. The Lyric was more likely a vaudeville house before movies became popular.

I’ve been unable to find out anything about the house between the 1900s and the 1930s, but at least as early as 1937 it was being operated as the DeRay Theatre by the Fite brothers, whose small regional movie house circuit consisted of five theaters in Kansas and Missouri.

In 1952 the DeRay was acquired by Dickinson Theatres, and was completely remodeled and reopened as the Lux Theatre. Dickinson operated the Lux for two decades, and it appears to have been a first-run house the entire time.

The Lux closed when Dickinson opened their new Northpark I & II Theatres at Northpark Mall in 1972. The Lyric Theatre building has since been demolished, along with everything else on its block.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 20, 2009 at 11:51 pm

The DeRay’s vertical and marquee can be seen in this 1941 photo of Joplin’s Main Street. The theater also had a large rooftop sign at this time, but it is facing the other direction. The vertical signs of the Fox and Paramount can also be seen, down the street on the left side.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 13, 2010 at 7:17 pm

I’m wondering why the Lux Theatre’s architectural style is classified as Neo-Vintage, which is a style that didn’t come into existence until after the theater was closed and demolished?

mfricks on November 8, 2011 at 11:20 am

My Great Grandpa wrote my Great Grandma a post card telling her he would be doing a show the 5, 7, 8, 9,10 and 11th of July 1908 at this theater!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 20, 2015 at 3:55 pm

The new name of this theater was styled De Ray, rather than DeRay, according to the congratulatory ads for its opening in the June 2, 1929 issue of The Joplin Globe. The old Lyric Theatre had been extensively remodeled, with plans by Joplin architect T. E. Martinie. The block on which it was located is now the site of the Joplin Public Library.

dallasmovietheaters on March 17, 2020 at 4:31 am

William Parsons operated the venue as the Pershing Theatre from 1921 to 1928.

dallasmovietheaters on March 17, 2020 at 4:59 am

In October of 1928, it became the Gem Theatre closing likely at end of lease on February 25, 1929. A circuit operating in Kansas by W.D. Fite and R.F. Fite took on the location launching as the De Ray Theatre on June 2, 1929 with Steamboat Bill, Jr. They’d convert it to sound. The Dickinson chain purchased the theatre closing it on March 30, 1952 for a refresh and renaming. It re-emerged as the Lux Theatre.

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