‘Dressing’ in St. Louis   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2013.02.27 at 02:07
Current mood: nostalgicnostalgic

carole lombard we're not dressing 06a

Throughout the spring and early summer of 1934, theater audiences flocked to see Carole Lombard and Bing Crosby in “We’re Not Dressing” — though one guesses more came to hear Bing sing the likes of “May I” and “Love Thy Neighbor” than to watch Carole play the haughty heiress who Crosby (lovingly) cuts down to size in this musical spin on “The Admirable Crichton.”

Now, movie memorabilia buffs can purchase a souvenir related to this film, and others of the time, in a brochure distributed by the Florissant, the largest neighborhood house in St. Louis:

carole lombard we're not dressing st. louis 00b

We note that “We’re Not Dressing” played the Florissant from Thursday, June 21 to Saturday, June 23, backed with the Frank Buck travelogue “Wild Cargo” and a Paramount newsreel. What played earlier in the week? We turn to the other side to find out:

carole lombard we're not dressing st. louis 01a

Nothing particularly well-remembered nearly 80 years later, although I never knew Gloria Stuart made a film with Lee Tracy (whose career was in eclipse following an alleged incident while in Mexico shooting “Viva Villa” the previous November).

Easily accessible by streetcar, the Florissant seated slightly more than 1,000, nearly half in the balcony. (One guesses in those days, the balcony was for black customers, as St. Louis was then largely segregated.) The theater also promoted itself over legendary radio station KMOX.

What did it look like? The only photo I can find showed it during a rather inconvenient moment, after a water main break in late 1931:

florissant theater st. louis 1931

Wheeler and Woolsey’s “Peach-O-Reno” was on the marquee.

The Florissant was renamed the Tower in 1946 (it was near a water tower) and tried to attract teen audiences in the 1960s with a battle of the bands on Friday night. But suburbanization spelled doom for “nabes” such as this, and it closed in June 1969. The building was demolished three years later, then served as a site for a Jack-In-The-Box and a Dairy Queen until they too were razed. At last report, the lot is now vacant.

Aside from mounting remnants near the edges of the “We’re Not Dressing” ad, the brochure is in good condition. If you have a relative who’s from St. Louis, he or she might enjoy this souvenir of how the city used to be.

Bidding begins at $9.99, with bids closing at 10:57 a.m. (Eastern) next Tuesday. Interested? Then go to http://www.ebay.com/itm/FLORISSANT-THEATRE-ST-LOUIS-ORIGINAL-1934-BROCHURE-CAROLE-LOMBARD-GLORIA-STUART-/140922314795?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item20cf9fe02b.

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Posted February 27, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized

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