World’s Dream in St. Louis

The World’s Dream Theatre in Moving Picture World, June 13, 1925:
“Its 140 folding-chairs and standing room for 200 made it a ‘picture palace’ of its day.”


“The World’s Dream was the first exclusive motion picture theatre in St. Louis. John Karzin, shown in insert, opened it at 1413 Market street on October 17, 1906. Karzin is shown standing in the entrance to his theatre. He is the second figure from the left.

Next to him is ‘Doc’ Miller, his one-time partner. On the extreme left is one Schaefer person, advertising manager by virtue of being ‘Spieler-in-chief.’ On the extreme right is one’Doc’ person–last name forgotten–assistant advertising manager, since he was Schaefer’s assistant in the gentle art of the barker.”


Since 1997, legendary theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle has presented a popular series theatre talks and walks. Currently accepting bookings for 2017:  historical societies, libraries , senior centers, etc.

Del Valle has also joined with Local Expeditions to present a series of walking tours.

He is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I.





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.




St. Louis to the Fore

Excerpts from Moving Picture World, February 26, 1910:

“We have more than once recommended moving picture exhibitors to extend their advertising. That is to say, we think the moving picture theater when properly conducted appeals to as large, important and intellectual a section of the community as the ordinary theater, so we want to see the moving picture theater adopt as far as possible the same methods of attracting patronage as the ordinary theater.”

“The St. Louis exhibitors are apparently of our way of thinking.  This week we reproduce a recent front page of our contemporary, the St. Louis Republic.”

st louis


Cezar Del Valle is available for theatre walks and talks in 2013.

He is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, chosen 2010 Best Book of the year by the Theatre Historical Society.

Bijou Dream, 608 Washington Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri

Bijou Dream, Idle Hour, Unique were common names for early movie houses.

Nickelodeon, April 1909:

bijou_pe (Medium)

“The illustration presented here shows the Bijou Dream, 608 Washington avenue, St. Louis Missouri.  Max Marcus, the manager, has developed a patronage that, for high class, is equal to any in the  country.

The seating capacity is 700. In addition to the regular moving pictures a new model cameraphone has recently been added.”

Cezar Del Valle is available for theatre talks and walks in 2013.

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