Esquire Theater (1949)



  1. Craig:

    This is how I remember the Esquire – great photo! Very sad to see the facade all bricked up now and the building empty. Spent many many hours at the movies here. Remember the “island” across the street at S Grand & MacArthur, with the Tom Thumb Grocery strore?

  2. David Robinson:

    The “island” also contained a gas station, Marriott’s Drug Store and the Grand Barber Shop where Butch cut my hair for a quarter! On special Saturday matinees, you could get in the Esquire for two PepsiCola bottle caps. That was back in the ’40s. Double features with Abbott & Costello, a western and a Flash Gordon serial. What a great babysitter for mom!!

  3. I’m glad to see that Craig and David misspent their youths in the same fashion as I. Winter months in central IL can be dreary. Every Saturday I was at the Esquire, a block from our home on State Street. For a quarter, I got admission (14 cents), popcorn (10 cents) and a jaw breaker (1 cent). That entitled me to a double feature with newsreel, cartoon, and coming attractions: four hours of bliss. I still think the old b/w movies from 1948-58 are the best. What I called gangster pictures have now become film noir!

  4. Anonymous:

    My first job was selling popcorn at the Esquire for 75 cents an hour. A real pay increase from babysitting for 50 cents. This was a blast from the past, though I’m sad to see the condition of this building.

  5. Sherry:

    My brother, sister and I used to go to the Saturday morning matinees. It was a real treat.

  6. ed kienzler:

    Why not make this a trifecta-the Orpheum-Strand-and now the Esqire-I hope the new theatre owners do SOMETHING with this place!!!

  7. The Kerasotas folks had this picture in the Illinois Times back during the summer and said it was taken circa 1934-funny thing is that the building wasn’t built until 1936 and Eddie Albert and for matter Abbott and Costello did not make their first pictures until the late 30’s-please put this building out of its misery its too bad it sits like this

  8. Tom Watts:

    Every Friday night us kids from Butler School..(8th graders mostly)..would go to the Esquire and “make out”..The few adults that went to see the movie were always telling us to quiet down. I am talking about the 1952 or so time frame).

  9. Tom Watts:

    Speaking of Butler School…the faculty was first rate (better than most Ivy League Universities IMHO)…I remember Mrs. Hay (English), Miss Roper (art), Miss Chesebro (Geography), Mr. Suddarth (PE), Miss Bergner and then Miss Martin (math), Miss Curdie and then Miss Julie Adams (history), Mrs. Correll (formerly Miss Ervin) Music. Mr. Head was the principal. Those wonderful murals that were Miss Roper’s significant achievement..her eighth grade students each year painted them..were taken down from each room in the school when I last visited about 5 or 6 years ago. So sad!!!
    Some of my classmates made great contributions to the Amercian scene inlater years..George Stericker, Helen Lubin, Frank Sparks, Denny Swanson, Linda Bretscher, Tommy Cooper, Susan Reisch, Nancy and Bitsy Lanphier, Bill Stone, Susan Caudle, Frances Meyerstein, Tom Tennant, Dick Troxell, Carol Reid, Jerry Thomas, and so many more. I wonder how they are now?

  10. Pat Ryan:

    We lived within walking distance of the Esquire in 1949 on Glenwood and often went to the Esquire for the before-mentioned 14 cents admission! Wonderful memories of seeing those shows.

  11. Charles Robson:

    I spent many a Friday night at the Esquire in the early 50s. If you lived on the SW side of Spfld and you wanted to meet a girl, the Esquire was the place to be.

  12. Susan:

    Yep, went to Esquire, esp on Saturday mornings to see Dick Tracy serials. We lived in 1300 block of S. Walnut and went to Butler too. I also remember K- Miss Gregory, 1st-Mrs. Duncan, and 3rd-Miss Jones. I lived in California from 1976-1992. and when I returned to Springfield, I couldn’t believe the change in the town. How sad that all the original theaters, etc. are gone and all you now have is mall-city!

  13. Charles:

    Does anyone have pics of “the island” ???

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