Title: Main Street Theater

Description: Postcard of Main Street Theater

Historical Article: The Mainstreet Theater at the southwest corner of 14th and Main opened October 30, 1921.

The popular vaudeville and movie house, with a seating capacity of 3,000, was the first theater in Kansas City to have a nursery for children whose parents were attending the show. Located in the basement and under the supervision of a trained nurse, the nursery had toys and games for older children and cribs for babies. It was quite an experiment in that pre-feminist day, when babies and their mothers were almost inseparable.

A tunnel from the lower level of the theater led to the President Hotel at 14th and Baltimore. This was mainly for actors who dressed in rooms adjoining the tunnel and then walked to the theater. The tunnel became infamous because bootleggers used the runway to escape police during Prohibition years.

In Mary Magley's book on the great theater heritage of Missouri, she tells of the Mainstreet having a basement and sub-basement where animals were kept for shows: It even had an elephant cage, a pool for seals and an elevator large enough and powerful enough to haul elephants to the stage. Noted performers such as Cab Calloway, Charlie Chaplin, Sir Henry Lauder and Olson & Johnson all head-lined at the vaudeville house.

Records put show attendance three months after the theater opened at an average of 4,000 daily, including daytime and evening performances.

Max Bernstein of Kansas City pubilished the postcard in color. It was mailed June 29, 1923, when the popularity of the theater was at its height.

Kansas City Times
April 24, 1987

Author: Ray, Mrs. Sam (Mildred)

Item Type: Postcard

Collection: Mrs. Sam Ray Postcard Collection (SC58)
See finding aid: http://localhistory.kclibrary.org/u?/Local,36981

Location: SC58

Local Subject: Theaters; Main Street Theater; Empire Theater

Digital Format: JPEG

Barcode: 20000678

Repository: Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri

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