The Orpheum Circuit was a chain of vaudeville and movie theaters. It was founded in 1886 and operated through 1927 when it was merged with the Keith-Albee theater chain, ultimately becoming part of the Radio-Keith-Orpheum (RKO) corporation.
The Orpheum Circuit was started by the vaudeville impresario Gustav Walter, who opened the Orpheum Opera House in San Francisco in 1886. This first Orpheum seated 3500 and immediately became the most popular theatre in San Francisco. Following this success, Walter opened more Orpheums in Los Angeles and Sacramento but he became financially over-extended and, to settle a $50,000 liquor bill, he had to sell his interest to Morris Meyerfeld, who got Martin Beck to manage and expand the chain further.
In 1927 the company merged with the Keith-Albee theater chain to form Keith-Albee-Orpheum (KAO). In the following year, KAO was merged with Joseph P. Kennedy's FBO film company under the aegis of RCA. The result was Radio-Keith-Orpheum (RKO) which consisted of the former KAO theater chain and a new film studio, Radio Pictures (later called RKO-Radio), one of the major Hollywood studios of the 1930s and 1940s.
Theatres still operating
- The Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver, British Columbia (1927)
- The Orpheum Theatre, Los Angeles, California (1911)
- The Orpheum Theatre, Los Angeles, California (1926)
- The Orpheum Theatre, Madison, Wisconsin (1926)
- The Orpheum Theater, Omaha, Nebraska (1927)
- The Orpheum Theater, Galesburg, Illinois (1916)
- The Orpheum Theatre, San Francisco, California (1926)
- The Orpheum Theatre, Memphis, Tennessee (1928)
- The Orpheum Theater, New Orleans, Louisiana (1918)
- The Orpheum Theater, Boston, Massachusetts (1906)
- The Orpheum Theater, Flagstaff, Arizona (1911)
- The Orpheum Theater, Phoenix, Arizona (1929)
- The Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis, Minnesota (1921)
- The Orpheum Theatre, Wichita, Kansas (1922)
- The Orpheum Theater, Sioux City, Iowa (1927)
- The Roberts Orpheum Theatre, St. Louis, Missouri
- The Orpheum Theatre, New York City, East Village (c1904)
- The Orpheum Theatre, New Bedford, Massachusetts (1912)
- The Orpheum Theatre in Portland, Oregon: built in 1913, remodeled in 1926 and demolished circa 1976.
- Orpheum Theater in Seattle, Washington: built 1927; demolished 1967.
- Martin Beck, chairman.
- Marcus Heiman, president.
- J. M. Finn, M. H. Singer and Mrs. C. L. Kohl, vice presidents.
- B. B. Kahane, secretary and treasurer.
- The Papers of Will Rogers 3. University of Oklahoma Press. 2001. pp. 53–54. ISBN 978-0-8061-3315-7.
- "Orpheum Circuit, Inc.". scripophily.stores.yahoo.net. Retrieved 2011-12-15.
- Arthur Frank Wertheim. Vaudeville Wars. Palgrave Macmillan. Retrieved 2011-12-15.
- "Orpheum Circuit". Encyclopedia of the Chicago Literary Renaissance. 2004. p. 249. ISBN 978-0-8160-4898-4.
-  University of Oregon Digital Library (Image Description describes the Theater was Demolished in 1978)
- Paul Dorpat (March 13, 2010). "The Orpheum Theatre". Seattle Now & Then. Retrieved 2013-12-30.