Star Theatre

16 South Jefferson Avenue,
St. Louis, MO 63103

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Noir on October 21, 2013 at 1:30 am

Was the segregated London half a block from the Star Theater?

I pass these comments along.

“The London Theater was over that way. They didn’t have a toilet……—so we called it the Funky London.”

“Now on Jefferson, about half a block down, was the Star Theater. That was an upright, clean theater. They had a toilet. And most of the people who wanted to be dignified would go there. It cost about 15 cents.

But they had cowboys at the Funky London, seven days a week. I’d look both ways to see if anybody I knew was lookin’, then rush in. It cost a nickel.”

“This Irish restaurant, Maggie O’Brien’s, was The Strand Theater. And Blue Moon Restaurant was at
22 ½ S. Beaumont. It was a tavern, so I never went in there.

I couldn’t afford the Deluxe Restaurant, either—that was comparable to the finest restaurant today. Even the black movie stars were segregated back then, and when they came to St. Louis, that’s the only restaurant(segregated) they ate at. Joe Louis, Cab Calloway, Count Basie…”

Mill Creek Valley Born in 1934, John Curtis grew up in Mill Creek Valley, the historically black neighborhood that had produced Josephine Baker 28 years earlier. By 1959, the entire neighborhood had been wiped out, its shops, theaters, and nightclubs replaced with bland businesses.

I lived in Mill Creek Valley all my young life. My grandfather, A.W. Curtis, had a big church, The Church of God in Christ, and a grocery store, Curtis Confectionery, at 2714 Clark. It was for black people—90 percent of the black people went to black stores.”

Mill Creek Valley was blighted in early ’50s. Most people went north, where I stay. — As told to J.C.” From Vanished Neighborhoods…..from STLM Nov 2010 Jeannette Cooper

Being black,DOS(Descendent of Slavery) racial segregated, financially segregated, kept to 1/50 of financial assets back then, (1/20 to 1/30 now in 2013), far less financial income, limited where you work, live, buy, type of education, voting, what you eat and who you could marry(no interracial marriage) or marrying into the vast majority of familes with ownership resources really defines how “dignified” your life is in comparison to the average movie go-er.

Politically and legally they had no power to save their community or in some cases theaters forced to close. It all even impacted if————all theaters had a bathroom. It takes money to do most things, even go to the movies. Notice the theater with a bathroom cost triple the price. How did these prices compare with the general society in 1940’s?

JAlex on June 14, 2006 at 10:35 pm

Years of operation were 1918 to 1959.

An operation of Chris, then Peter Efthin.

Seating capacity was 521.

One of the theatres for Black audiences.