The Madrid Past and Present
When construction began on The Madrid Theatre in 1925, Kansas City was in the midst of a booming entertainment expansion. Theatres were being built in every direction from the downtown hub of Kansas City. The Madrid, built and owned by the McCormick Construction Company, celebrated its grand opening to the public on May 29, 1926. George Trinastich leased and operated the 1500 seat silent movie house that he advertised as, "The Distinctive Theatre."
The Madrid was distinctive with a Spanish revival style both inside and out. The interior was plush, with beautiful ornate plaster painted in brilliant Spanish reds and blues. The exterior looked as it does today, yellow brick with terra cotta trimmings.
The Madrid has a rich entertainment history. Carl W. Stalling of Warner Brothers fame got his start at The Madrid as a house organist. He then went on to work for Walt Disney, which ultimately led to his career with Warner Brothers. If you have seen a Bugs Bunny cartoon, then you have heard the intelligently quirky compositions of Stalling.
In the Thirties, billionaire tycoon Howard Hughes, owner of RKO Pictures, was making his mark in Hollywood. He bought up many movie houses across America, including The Madrid and the Warwick Theatre, just a move reel length up Main Street. After a decade, The Madrid closed as a movie house in 1944.
The Madrid sat idle until the early fifties when it was purchased and gutted. The floor was leveled and it became a warehouse for such random things as carpet, tropical plants, and washing machines.
In 1983 craftsman Victor Patti bought the theatrical building and saved it from demolition with the intention of restoring it to its grandeur. In the meantime, the building became Patti's wood shop. In the fall of 1995, a group of investors dedicated themselves to the restoration of the Madrid Theatre. In 2000, after almost five years of negotiations and various obstacles, the restoration process began. In the summer of 2001, with the richness of its past and promise of an incredible future, The Madrid opened its doors to the public once again. Book your special event at the Madrid Theatre, and come make a little Kansas City History of your own!