Century 21 Theatre

2801 S. Glenstone Avenue,
Springfield, MO 65804

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: National General Theatres

Functions: Retail

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Century 21 - Springfield, MO

The Century 21 Theatre was located in the Battlefield Mall and opened as a single screen theatre on June 4, 1970 with “MASH”. It was closed in 1997. One of two theatres to operate in the mall at one time.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 29 comments)

KJB2012 on November 2, 2007 at 2:46 pm

Any photos of this cinema?

cerjda on August 28, 2008 at 8:10 pm

God! I just found this site and this place is awesome! Particularly I’ve been in half of the theatres in kansas and missouri. To answer Joel’s question above Re: Star Wars at the Century=> At that point and time, Mann tried to get SW, but the deals were too rich and they had bought the film in a number of other locations – they spread the wealth and leveraged the risk (should it not be a big hit). Several other things to note: The C21 not only had a sister in Wichita, but a sister in St Louis (the Cypress Village). All 3 of the theatres were built around the same time by NGC. I still have an original program from the opening of the Century 21. Some of the interesting pieces of trivia is the Yo-Yo marquee that could go up and down to change programs. I say “could” because in the winter IT USUALLY FROZE IN THE UP POSITION!!!!!! Another plush aspect of the theatre was the composite wall panels. People were amazed at it for some reason and there were many places next to the seats where they would pick to see if it was really that nice. I know – I painted a number of those spots as well as the floor one spring. I worked there as well as a number of other theaters in Springfield from 1971 to 1973. I met many fine people at all the theatres and chains in town. After I left exhibition, I went into distribution and sold pictures to a number of the theatres here. If that Joel Weide is the same person that ran theatres in Ks – I probably sold to him when I worked at MGM-UA.

KingBiscuits on August 28, 2008 at 8:39 pm

You may notice that the film Showgirls ran in first-run but was pulled after a week. You may think this was due to a mall policy (since many malls won’t run NC-17 films). That is incorrect (they had no such policy and the nearby Battlefield Mall 6 ran such NC-17/X titles such as Cronenberg’s Crash and a late night show of Faces Of Death). In actually, the Dickinson NC-17 policy changed shortly after the film opened and the chain forced all of their theatres to pull the film after the first week. As a result, both Springfield theatres running the film (this one and the Town and Country) pulled it after the first week.

JoelWeide on August 29, 2008 at 10:51 pm

Yep you’ve got the right person. I was unaware of the sister in St. Louis. I worked at the Mall Cinema, Wichita, Kansas when ‘Star Wars’ first came out. This version seated 805, but only 725 were useable as patrons complained becuase the picture was too big if they had to sit up close, (go figure!) As for the Yo-Yo marquee, the Fox-Garvey in downtown Wichita had a similar single pole sign. The Fox was new NGC construction next to the Holiday Inn high rise, (it is now something else, and the theatre is gone.) The close proximately between the two buildings created a wind tunnel effect and the sign would actually twist around the pole, periodically the sign company would have to be called to twist the thing back.

hhardley on July 18, 2010 at 11:27 pm

The screen of the old Century 21 Theater is now being used at the Gillioz Theater in downtown Springfield. The Gillioz was closed in 1980 and has been restored and reopened.

jaf on November 6, 2010 at 5:23 pm

I remember seeing Tom Sawyer at this theater in 1973 at age 9. The screen was huge. It may have been a different movie but I also remember intermission with music and the huge curtains opening and closing. When I’m back visiting family it’s bittersweet to drive by the Tower and Century 21 locations.

Nice to hear the screen is being used at Gillioz. Was lovely to walk around the downtown area and see all the renovation and restoration work. It was also so run down and abandoned looking for so many years.

rivest266 on July 15, 2017 at 5:01 pm

This opened on June 4th, 1970 with another appearance of Chill Willis. Ad:

Found on Newspapers.com

JoelWeide on July 15, 2017 at 7:04 pm

Chill Wills must have had a contact with National General for theatre openings. He also was at the opening for the Fox Garvey in Wichita, KS.

rivest266 on July 16, 2017 at 10:57 am

Mr. Wills also opened in Calgary, AB. http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/9462/photos/127842

MSC77 on November 20, 2023 at 6:47 pm

This venue’s 70mm presentations history is included in the recently-published article “70mm Presentations in Springfield: A Chronology of 70mm Large Format Exhibition, 1984-Present”.

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