Mary Lou Theatre

115 N. Jefferson Avenue,
Marshall, MO 65340

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Additional Info

Architects: Robert O. Boller, Dietz Lusk Jr.

Firms: Boller Brothers

Styles: Streamline Moderne

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Mary Lou Theatre

Replacing an earlier Mary Lou Theatre at 159 W. North Street (it has its own page on Cinema Treasures as the North Street theatre). This Mary Lou Theatre was opened by George & Leo Hayob on June 16, 1949 with Jack Carson in “My Dream is Yours”. The theatre seated 795. It was closed on October 24, 1964 with Elizabeth Taylor in “Cleopatra” The site is now a drive thru bank. The theatre was owned by George & Leo Hayob.

Contributed by Chris1982

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

50sSNIPES on February 12, 2024 at 9:25 am

There are two Mary Lou Theatres throughout its history.

The Mary Lou Theatre on 115 North Jefferson Avenue opened its doors by the Hayob Brothers (George H. & Leo J. Hayob) on June 16, 1949 with Jack Carson and Doris Day in “My Dream Is Yours” along with a cartoon and a novelty, as a replacement of the older Mary Lou Theatre on 159 West North Street (which was renamed the North Street Theatre that same day and it’ll have its own Cinema Treasures page soon).

The newer and second Mary Lou Theatre on Jefferson Avenue was built at a former site of a dealership garage known as the Rieman Motor Company which that dealership was relocated to 68 West Morgan Street at the time of the theater’s construction.

The second Mary Lou Theatre featured a Streamline Modern design with a capacity of 795 seats, then-latest RCA 2-way sound system, and was constructed along stadium lines or known as “station type houses”. The entirety of the 795 seats were Haywood-Wakefield chairs which were spring operated self rising seats. The aisles are four feet wide and the ramps from the foyer up into the theater are 6½ft wide. The seats are set 34in apart.

When a patron enters the Jefferson Avenue Mary Lou Theatre, it features the following: To the left is the arranged concession stand that the patrons can be served from the lobby or the foyer or on the street. The street outlet for the concession will be identical in appearance with the box office which is situated on the north side of the front entrance. Proceeding from the lobby the patron goes into the foyer which is 10x55½ft and going down four steps from the foyer he enters the lounge which is 27x18ft. Off of the lounge at each side are restrooms for both genders. To the right of the lobby is the manager’s office as well as the front furnace and air conditioning room located to the right of the lobby.

There are three sets of double-doors from the street into the lobby and another three sets of double doors from the lobby into the foyer. At each end of the foyer there is an outside exit, the south exit opening on the alley and the north exit on a sidewalk which will run the entire length of the building on the north side. Despite the theater completely fireproof, it is best to use it for emergencies. The stage is 40x18ft which provides ample space for stage presentations and first-run A features. It also includes hearing aid equipment which is tied into the regular reproduction units. There is a full basement under the stage which has a heating plant.

Construction of the theater was first planned in August 1947 and began construction in June 1948. Robert O Boller and Dietz Lusk Jr. are the architects of the Jefferson Avenue Mary Lou Theatre. Boller was the one who also did the North Street Mary Lou Theatre alongside his brother Carl. The newer Mary Lou features black light units which illuminate the walls of the Old Tavern and Missouri Valley College. These black lights consist of mercury vapor arcs which generate ultra violet rays. These rays are beyond the visible spectrum and the units are equipped with filters which prevent any visible light from escaping. All wiring through the theater is enclosed in conduit pipe running through the attic and under the concrete floors providing the best in safety. Approximately 3,000ft of conduit of various sizes have been used in making the installations. It is almost enough wire to extend a length of 15 miles that has been installed on the job. Control panels of lighting are located in the office, booth, and back stage. To provide convenience in the operation of stage, lighting 3-way controls were installed to take care of the stage flood lights and both automatically-operated stage curtains. Fluorescent lighting will predominate throughout the theater in all cove wall installations and in all shadow boxes or poster cases. All the ceiling lights in the auditorium are recessed and faced with concentric louvres for control of the light to prevent glare. The stage flood lights are each mounted on a swivel arm for the purpose of adjustment if needed. These lights are concealed in vertical light recesses at each side of the spandrel walls in front of the auditorium. These are 12 of these lights in each recess with 3-circuit controls and all these spotlights are equipped with roundels of five different colors which provide much flexibility in selecting colors fitting in with the various seasons of the year.

There are 12 different electrical circuits controlling the marquee, and the entire front of the theater over the structural glass is Streamline Modern illuminated with neon lighting. The marquee features the cursive colored concrete letters “Mary Lou” 4ft high across the top on each side. The marquee has a 3-line flashed opal glass attraction board which will be used 10-inch Bevelite letters of red plastic material. The ceiling under the marquee contains a total of 54 receptacles for 25-watt bulbs which with the three 150-watt recessed entrance flood lights will illuminate the sparkling sidewalk.

The newer Mary Lou Theatre did not last very long at all, and on October 24, 1964, the Mary Lou Theatre ended its life with Elizabeth Taylor’s “Cleopatra”, leaving the Auditorium Theatre the only indoor movie house in Marshall.

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