The 2019 Rated SGF Film Festival will take over the Historic Fox Theatre on Park Central Square March 22-23. There will be four screenings in the Fox, which opened as the Electric Theatre in 1916. It also operated as the Paramount Theatre before taking its current name in 1949.
The Fox Theatre screened its last film in 1982. That got us thinking about other long-gone movie theatres. Here are 10 only long-time Springfieldians will remember.
Dec. 16, 1982 was the opening day for the Battlefield Mall Cinema 6. For a while it was the busiest theatre in Springfield, with two 450-seat auditoriums. It was located near the food court, but closed in early 2001.
There were once two theaters inside the Battlefield Mall, including Century 21. It opened with a single screen June 4, 1970, with “MASH” as the featured film. It closed in 1997.
The Mann Theatres Triplex opened in December 1977, just a block and a half from the mall. It later changed its name to Fremont 3 Theatres and was operating as a second-run discount house when it closed in 1999. Its spot is now occupied by Play It Again Sports.
Drive out on East Kearney, past Glenstone, and you’ll still see the Holiday Drive-In sign on the north side of the road. The Holiday opened in August 1970, showing “Paint Your Wagon,” featuring Lee Marvin. It had just one screen, but could park 529 cars. The Holiday operated into the late 90s and was demolished in 2005.
There used to be two malls with movie theatres in the Queen City of the Ozarks. The North Town 4 Cinemas sat on the north end of the North Town Mall, opening with three screens in June 1979. One of those screens was showing “Rocky II.” The fourth auditorium opened in 1983. But the demise of the mall meant the end of North Town 4. It’s now the site of a Walmart Supercenter.
Three screens, apparently, were the way to go in the 1970s. The Petite 3 Theatre opened in April 1973, right across the street from where the Fremont 3 later opened. The 700-seat theatre made it to 1992 before competition from multiplexes finally forced it out of business. And, just like the Fremont 3, the Petite 3’s last days were spent as a discount theatre.
The first drive-in theatre in the United States opened in 1933. Springfield got its first drive-in more than a decade later when the Springfield Drive-In opened near the intersection of Sunshine and Glenstone. It operated for nearly 40 years, closing in 1978. The land is now home to American National Property and Casualty Company.
Springfield’s west side had its own drive-in theatre. The Sunset Drive-In opened in 1950, operated by Commonwealth Amusement. Its 30-plus year run ended in 1985. It was demolished and is now home to a trailer park.
There’s a reason iHeartRadio’s Springfield studio is called the Tower Theatre. The building was formerly a movie house of the same name. It opened in 1948, seating 726. Its tower extended nearly 20 feet above the theatre. It, too, lost the war against multiplexes, closing in February 1997.
The north side of Springfield had two great locations for film buffs, including the Town & Country 6. It opened its doors in 1983 with seating for more than 1500. Its life was less than 20 years, however. It closed in 2002 and has been converted into retail space