Watching MU/Kansas football since 1913

If you like to sit back and watch MU football on a screen, you are carrying on a tradition from at least 1913. The first “moving pictures” debuted in Columbia in 1897 and in 1913 movie theaters started advertising football films.

By then, several movie theaters had opened in Columbia. The Airdome had started as a canvas tent on Broadway in 1902. By 1913 it was at Tenth and Walnut, had a roof and walls and a new name, the Hippodrome.

The Airdome, which burned in 1919. Source: 1910 book Columbia, the Coming City of Central Missouri.
The Airdome burned in 1919. Source: The Coming City of Central Missouri, c1910.

People had become accustomed to movies and theaters were looking for new gimmicks to keep moviegoers coming. The Airdome had already switched out its benches for seats and on Dec. 11, 1913, it advertised footage of the MU football game in the University Missourian.

Tickets were still a nickel for movies but the MU-Kansas commanded a 25-cent price — $7.17 in 2022 prices.

A 1913 ad to watch the MU-KS game at the Hippodrome theater.

The history of the Airdome from its opening to its change to a skating rink and the fire that destroyed it in 1919 is covered along with all 28 of Columbia’s movie theaters in the book Historic Movie Theaters of Columbia, Missouri. The book is on sale on this website, at the Boone County History & Culture Center and Skylark Bookstore on Ninth St.

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