1120-24 McGee Street,
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Previously operated by: Sullivan & Considine
Firms: Boller Brothers
The Empress Theatre, at the northwest corner of E. 12th Street and McGee Street, with its handsome front and marquee on McGee Street, was built by the Sullivan and Considine Vaudeville circuit. At the time it was considered one of the most modern vaudeville houses in America.
The $180,000 fireproof building of concrete, steel, marble and tile opened in May, 1910, with three vaudeville shows and motion picture presentations daily, 2:30. 7:30, and 9:30 o'clock.
With the decline in vaudeville it became a burlesque house. It was wired for sound in 1936 and began screening adult movies. In the fall of 1936 a proposed 40-week burlesque season lasted only 12 weeks' movies. In February 1938 there was controversy over the Czechoslovakian movie “Ecstasy”, directed by Gustav Machary and starring Hedy Kiesler (aka Hedy Lamarr) which threatened to close the theatre for time, but the film played on in spite of the critics.
The entire structure was demolished in summer of 1940 to make way for an eight-level parking garage for the Traders National Bank. The basement of the old building was reinforced and is used for bank storage purposes.
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