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Harry Wald Collection

The outside of the World Theatre Play House in St. Louis.

The Harry Wald Collection is an assemblage of burlesque films largely from the 1930s to the 1960s. The collection consists of 250 reels of 35mm film, including the original negative of Tijuana After Midnite (sic)(1954).

Harry Wald owned and operated theaters in the St. Louis area for many years, including the Grand Theater, formerly located downtown on Market Street near Broadway, and The World Theater. The Grand Theater produced burlesque and comedy shows from the 1940s until it was demolished in 1963. The World Theater, formerly located on St. Charles Street and now demolished as well, went through many changes over the years. Under Wald’s ownership, the World Theater showed risqué movies and also produced stage shows.

A flyer for a burlesque show a the Grand Theatre, marketed as the only burlesque theater in St. Louis. The flyer highlights Sharon Storm and Misty Moro with a photo of "the one and only Blaze Starr, undisputed queen of Burlesque."
Flyer for a show from the Grand Theater owned by businessman Harry Wald

The collection includes the original negative of Tijuana After Midnite (1954), a film produced by Wald; Dance Hall Racket (1953), written by and starring the comedian, Lenny Bruce; and many burlesque film prints from the 1950s-1960s. This collection provides not only a cultural history of mid-20th century America but is also part of St. Louis history and documents the burlesque and variety shows which were produced at that time.

Burlesque, St. Louis, and the Harry Wald Collection: Q&A with Dan Wald and Susan Kleinschmidt (Off the Shelf: Fair Game? pg 14, V9:2, Fall 2013)


Andy Uhrich
Job Title
Curator of Film and Media
Phone Number
(314) 935-3301