Art Theatre

3143 Olive Street,
St. Louis, MO 63103

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Movies

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Art Theatre

The Art theatre originally opened as the Movies. It was always an independent and not associated with any of the chains. It was small and simple. By 1950 it became known as the Art Theatre and showed the foreign movies along with the Richmond Theatre, the foreign films were never successful and the theatre finally closed only to reopened as the Screening Room.

As the Screening Room it was used by the various fim distributors such as MGM, Fox, Paramount, Allied Artists and others that had their booking offices all located on Olive right near the theatre. They would screen the upcoming movies for the local theatre chains and the press in advance of the release to the public.

Contributed by Charles Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

JAlex on April 21, 2005 at 11:49 am

The Art Theatre the first “art-film” venue in St. Louis. It was, in reality, the S'Renco Screening Room which was located in the RKO Radio building on Olive Street along “film-row”.

Facility closed for public attendance in 1952.

JAlex on May 8, 2005 at 7:23 pm

Years of operation were 1938 to 1952. Seating capacity of 115.

JAlex on October 5, 2007 at 2:40 pm

This operation is not to be confused with the theatre on St. Charles Rock Road in St. John which opened as the GEM and was renamed the ART by Mid-America in 1970.

JAlex on August 12, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Theatre did not have an AKA of Movies. There was a venue with the Movies name, on Market street just east of Jefferson.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on August 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Sounds a lot like Augusta’s Art Theatre,guess a lot of these theatres were the same.

Darren_Snow on June 12, 2013 at 6:31 pm

The strange name of “S'Renco” came from the theater’s manager, Ruby S. Renco. I wish I had the date of the newspaper I saw it in to back me up, but I’m pretty sure I read that this cinema closed to the public shortly after the projectionist was mugged IN THE PROJECTION BOOTH DURING A MOVIE. Must’ve been a rough neighborhood! The apparent age of the building now on the site, the Barnard Rubber Stamp Company, suggests that it’s the same building that housed the theater.

JAlex on October 5, 2013 at 11:23 am

The date of the assault/robbery was May 27, 1952. The perpetrators made off with all of $1.75. The theatre closed on May 30th “for the summer”, but with art film competition from the Shady Oak, Pageant and the Lyn, the venue did not reopen in the fall, reverting to strictly a screening room operation.

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