311 E. Walnut Street,
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Firms: Boller Brothers
Previous Names: Landers Orpheum Theatre, Landers 400 Theatre
The Landers Theatre opened on September 18, 1909, with a stage production of “Golden Girl”. It was designed by architect Carl Boller of the Boller Brothers architectural firm. It was soon operating as the Landers Orpheum Theatre offering Orpheum vaudeville and quality live shows. The front facade is done in brick and terra cotta.
In 1915, movies were added to the vaudeville programme when D.W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation” was screened. It suffered a major fire on December 17, 1920. It was renovated to the plans of Robert Boller and reopened in 1921. Equipped for sound in 1927, it was the 35th facility in the world to play talkies, the first talkie movie to play at the theatre was “The Jazz Singer”. During the 1940’s, the Landers Theatre was operated by Fox Midwest Amusement Corp. and it operated as a first run movie theatre until the late-1960’s. For a while in summer of 1961 it was also the home for a NBC national TV show titled “Five Star Jubilee”. It reopened as the Landers Theatre on December 25, 1964.
The Springfield Little Theatre purchased the Landers Theatre in 1970. Major renovations were done to the theatre in 1985 and 1988.
The Landers Theatre was placed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1977. The Landers/Orpheum Theatre was decorated in a Baroque/French Renaissance style. It is one of the oldest theatre operations in the state of Missouri.
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