Smallest Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri

Moving Picture World, July 15, 1916:


“The smallest moving picture house in Kansas City is in the heart of the business district and has as competitors the newest house in the city and two others, all of which are located in the same block. The theater is the Sapphire, at 107 East 12th Street, which seats 185 people. The house has been in its present location since 1908, but A. E. Elliott, present manager and owner, did not get hold of it until October 1913.

“The Sapphire is a success without any possible doubt. So much confidence did the owner of the ground have in Elliott and the Sapphire that, without one dollar security, Mr. Elliott was able to obtain a 99-year lease on the property. So it looks as if Kansas City will have its midget showhouse for some time to come.

“As many as 3,000 people per day have witnessed shows in this little theater, making nearly eighteen performances per day necessary. Regular patronage is assured by this house, which makes a specialty of showing serials, and which has had first downtown run on every large Universal serial ever released.

“Here is another remarkable fact: Five cents is the admission fee most of the time. Special pictures and features bring an increase. Taking it all in consideration, it looks as if some larger houses might well adopt some of the policies of this little playhouse, if they are after real success.”

Gertie’s Gasoline Glide starring Gertrude Selby and Billy Bevan

Floorwalker with Charlie Chaplin

Is that a Chaplin impersonator doing a ballyhoo in front of the theatre? A common practice at the time.


Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, chosen 2010 Best Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society.

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2014, historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.





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