Mansfield Theatre

W. Commercial Street,
Mansfield, MO 65704

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Paradise Theatre

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Opened as the Paradise Theatre in 1931, by 1934 it had been renamed the Mansfield Theatre. The theatre seated 225 and was still listed as open in the late-1950’s.

Contributed by Chris1982

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 7, 2021 at 5:34 pm

So far the only mention of the Mansfield Theatre I’ve found in the trade publications is an item in the June 18, 1955 issue of Boxoffice which said that L. H. Petit had reopened the house, which had been dark since early March. So far I’ve found no mention of the Paradise Theatre.

There are other theater names associated with Mansfield, but I think not enough information about them to justify adding separate pages for them yet, so I’ll just post what I’ve discovered to this page. A house called the Nugget Theatre was advertised in the Mansfield Mirror as early as 1918. An item in a March, 1924 trade journal mentions the Nugget and its operator, Dr. J. H. Riley.

Then in 1928, capsule movie reviews appear in trade journals, submitted by Robert K. Yancy, owner of a Mansfield house called the Bonny Theatre. In a letter from Mr. Yancey in the April 6, 1929 issue of Exhibitors Herald World he indicates that he had opened the Bonny on November 28, 1926. In 1930, Mr. Yancy’s reviews are from a house called the New Bonny Theatre. Was this a new building, or perhaps he simply remodeled the old Bonny and added New to the name? Was the Bonny of 1926 the same theater as the Nugget that was operating in 1924? As yet there is no evidence, and since I don’t find the New Bonny mentioned after 1930, neither is there evidence that it was or wasn’t renamed the Paradise by 1931.

To add a bit more complication, the September 11, 1943 issue of Motion Picture Herald has a capsule movie review from Charles A. Brooks, operator of a theater in Mansfield called the Ritz. Was this another theater, or a temporary aka for the Paradise/Mansfield? There’s just no evidence yet. All we know so far is that between 1918 and 1955 there were somewhere between one and five movie theaters operated in Mansfield, and until more information is found to clarify it, the history of Mansfield’s movie theaters remains mostly a mystery.

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