LaBudde | Joseph K. Redmond, Jr. Collection
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The Joseph K. Redmond, Jr. Collection was donated to the University of Missouri-Kansas City by Redmond's wife, Virginia Redmond, in 1996. Redmond was a theatre manager for the Uptown and Tower theatres in Kansas City, Missouri; he collected material about theatres, both movie and stage, primarily in Kansas City. The collection, housed in the Dr. Kenneth J. LaBudde Department of Special Collections, dates from 1875 to 1996, with the majority of the material being concentrated between 1930 and 1945. The collection includes photographs, movie advertisements, promotional material, newspaper and magazine clippings, theatre programs, notes, payroll and other theatre expense logs.
Joseph K. Redmond, Jr. was a veteran showman, starting his career while still a student at Westport High School in Kansas City. He began as a theatre usher and was promoted to doorman while a freshman at Rockhurst College. In 1931, he dropped out of school to become assistant manager of the brand-new Uptown Theatre.
During the Depression, Redmond stayed continuously employed as a stage manager, house manager, vaudeville booker and film booker. He spent most of that time at the Tower Theatre in Kansas City, one of only four theatres in the entire Midwest that followed a stage show policy. He also provided management at the Esquire Theatre.
In 1943, Redmond went to Hollywood to become a studio promotion man and to pursue another longtime ambition: to be a radio singer. He won a CBS audition, but received his military draft notice right after that. As a member of the U.S. Signal Corps, he set up a training film library in France, distributed motion picture equipment, and personally trained more than 200 G.I. projectionists.
After being discharged from the service, Redmond joined Fox-Midwest Theatres, supervising the advertising promotion of 120 movie houses in the area. In 1959, he took a job at KMBC-TV; and later followed with a career at the Kansas City Star, where he handled movie and other amusement advertising as a member of the ad sales staff.
Joseph K. Redmond, Jr., passed away Tuesday, September 17, 1996, at his home at the age of 83.