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Historic Houston Theaters


Subdude

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These were in the Houston calendars that were published a few years back.

Alabama Theater (now Bookstop).

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Iris Theater, Travis between Capital and Texas. Now the site of Chase Tower.

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The first downtown tunnel connected this to the

Texas Theater on Capital.

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Bluebonnet Theater., 1015 Broadway near Lawndale

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Yale Theater, Washington at Yale

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Shepherd Drive-In

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River Oaks Theater, the only one here still showing movies.

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Heights Theater, 319 W. 19th.

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Tower Theater, now Hollywood Video

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Guest danax
Bluebonnet Theater., 1015 Broadway near Lawndale is now the blue Pawn Shop, correct?

No, it's on 75th just north of Lawndale, between Mason Park and Pecan Park. It's a church now and went from the Bluebonnet to a peep show to the church. Thanks for that picture Subdude! I've been looking for one for awhile cause the old-timers in my neighborhood have mentioned "the picture show" and I knew it was the church but always wondered what the theater looked like. The facade, minus the signage, is still pretty much the same. I'll have to check the interior to see if the any of the original features are still there.

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my dad told me tonight that the isis was a silent theatre, and that the iris was named by a man after his daughter. he gave me a framed print of the grand opening of the iris - it took place during the depression and the kids looked like a strong wind could blow them away - the santa clause was so thin his suit was hanging off him. my dad's a real movie buff since it's his business - i guess i never realized how much historical infomation he has for the asking. now that he's retired he has more time and i'm planning on writing down some of the interesting things he's got to say about early houston. he sells stills of the theatres and i just talked him into setting up downtown at the new market square outdoor market. if anyone is ever down there you can look him up and see some of the old stuff.

debmartin

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Picture of Horwitz and caption, again from Bob Bailey site:

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December. 1936. On the stage of the City Auditorium, at the base of a giant Christmas tree, Will Horwitz in a Santa Claus suit prepares for his annual charity Christmas party. Packages of gifts are stacked in front of the stage. More that 5,000 toys were distributed to needy Houston children at this festive party. Flamboyant showman Horwitz borrowed &150 in 1919 to but the Travis Theatre and convert it to the Iris. In 1925 he built the Texan, 814 Capitol; followed by the Ritz, 911 Preston, in 1930; and the Uptown (which became the Rivoli) at 803 Capitol in 1035. In the 1930's 75,000 to 83,000 patrons attended one of Horwitz' theaters every week. Just before his party in 1941, Horwitz had a heart attack. He died on Christmas Day.
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  • 3 months later...
Yep, I am thinking of the one at Brodway and 45.

I think it was also a peep show for a while.

The old theater in the circle at Broadway and 45 is currently the Circle Pawn Shop. I don't believe it was ever an adult theatre. I do know some history of it though. It opened in about 1941 as the Plaza Theater.

The Santa Rosa opened nearby in 1947 (on Telephone Road) and, The Plaza, faced with the new competition from the Interstate-owned competitor, struggled and was sold. The new owner renamed it the Vogue and it became an art theater, showing French and Italian imports. This experiment did not last long and it reverted back to The Plaza. It only remained a theater until about 1951.

I believe that you are thinking of the one that is on Telephone road and Park Place Blvd. It was an Adult theatre for many years and just recently closed their doors.

The Santa Rosa was an adult theater/movie rental place until recently. A medical office building is to be built next door and in the old theater parking lot. There are rumors that the theater will be saved and turned into a community center or something to benefit the nearby neighborhood.

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  • 1 month later...
The old theater in the circle at Broadway and 45 is currently the Circle Pawn Shop.  I don't believe it was ever an adult theatre.  I do know some history of it though. It opened in about 1941 as the Plaza Theater.

The Santa Rosa opened nearby in 1947 (on Telephone Road) and, The Plaza, faced with the new competition from the Interstate-owned competitor, struggled and was sold.  The new owner renamed it the Vogue and it became an art theater, showing French and Italian imports.  This experiment did not last long and it reverted back to The Plaza. It only remained a theater until about 1951.

The Santa Rosa was an adult theater/movie rental place until recently.  A medical office building is to be built next door and in the old theater parking lot.  There are rumors that the theater will be saved and turned into a community center or something to benefit the nearby neighborhood.

I lived in Houston from 1962 to 1964. My mother told me that she took me to the Santa Rosa to see a movie called "The Music Man." I have many fond memories of the Santa Rosa.

Chet Cuccia

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During those years that I lived in Houston (1962-64) we also went to the Winkler Drive-In Theatre.  I found out that it was located at 205 Winkler Drive at Telephone Road.  Does anyone out there have any information about it?

Chet Cuccia

Here's what I could find. Look around the website - they have info on a lot of Houston drive-ins.

Winkler drive-in

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The Santa Rosa was an adult theater/movie rental place until recently.  A medical office building is to be built next door and in the old theater parking lot.  There are rumors that the theater will be saved and turned into a community center or something to benefit the nearby neighborhood.

http://www.houstonarchitecture.info/haif/i...ta+rosa+theater

santa rosa thread

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Many a time I walked through those doors to be greeted by a one-eyebrowed hulk of a gentle giant. Any clue who he was, Tbird?

I didn't go downtown to the theaters much after the late 50's. I think Giant may have been the last movie I saw at the Majestic. The early to mid 50's were my big dating years. I think the price of a ticket to the Loew's, Metropolitan, and Majestic was about $.75 around that time-frame. I gather that you're quite a bit younger than I, so your "hulk" may have come there after I stopped going. I don't remember him.

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It was Bull Curry. He was huge and so hairy that he had just one eyebrow that went all the way across his forehead. All the kids would flock around him, and he just loved the attention. He may have been a terror in the ring, but he was just a little kid at heart.

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It was Bull Curry.

I sure remember that name from Houston wrestling. I don't remember if he was old enough to have participated in the wrestling matches at the old City Auditorium that were televised locally on Friday nights in the late 40's-early 50's. I watched those, faithfully, when I was a kid. My dad actually tried to tell me that those matches were more acting than wrestling. No way! ;) Paul Boesch (sp?) was the announcer, and he occasionally got into the ring against that perennial bad guy Danny McShane.

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My dad went to a wrestling match one time and was standing in a small group as Irish Danny McShane walked by. Someone yelled something not-so-nice to McShane, and he whirled around and saw Daddy and threw a punch at him thinking it was he who made the comment. The blow just grazed my dad, and he was more surprised than he was angry.

McShane and Curry were from an era that included Pepper Gomez, Killer Kowalski, Mr. Moto, Dory Funk, Junk Yard Dog. Haystacks Calhoun (or maybe it was Uncle Elmer) used to come into the ring accompanied by a couple of chicks. Not girls, but live chickens.

My grandma used to watch wrestling from the City Auditorium religiously, and I would watch it when I stayed with her. Paul Bosch still fought on occasion in the early 50s. Few people know that he was a highly decorated war hero from WWII.

I also remember an old lady who always sat in the first row used to yell at the bad guys, and would go after them with a folding chair when they were thrown out of the ring. I

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Guest danax
McShane and Curry were from an era that included Pepper Gomez, Killer Kowalski, Mr. Moto, Dory Funk, Junk Yard Dog. Haystacks Calhoun (or maybe it was Uncle Elmer) used to come into the ring accompanied by a couple of chicks. Not girls, but live chickens.

I remember Haystack Calhoun on the West Coast in the 60s, along with Ray Stevens. Danny McShane would be considered positively skinny these days, wrestler or not.

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Just found this on Paul Boesch's military record:

Paul Boesch served in the US ARMY during WWII and eceived many awards, including a purple heart and cluster; a silver star and cluster; a bronze star and cluster; a French Croix de Guerre with star; a Combat Infantryman's Badge; a Distinguished Unit Citation, & a distinguished citizen's award from the 121st Infantry Association.

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Many of the old theaters are still around today, but in another form.

The Alabama is now a Bookstop.

The Tower is ??? something, but not a theater.

The Heights is an antique shop.

The Stude is a church, I think.

The Garden Oaks used to show Mexican films, but not sure what is in there now.

I don

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Tower is a video store. Isn't the Garden Oaks the one on North Shepherd that is a church now?

The surviving downtown theaters are the Ritz, which is now the Majestic Metro hall, and the Isis (I think) which is now a bar.

There's another old one standing but vacant on OST at Griggs.

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Guest danax
There's another old one standing but vacant on OST at Griggs.

The name The Pussycat come to mind on that one, but I don't think that's it. I believe there's another one down Telephone Rd. south of 610.

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Anyone remember the "Clear Lake Theater" in Clear Lake City?

It had a mega screen and a balcony and was built in 1965.

It folded and sat empty for a long time before becoming a night club that lasted for years. It is now an orential buffet.

The time capsule is still buried there last time I looked. I think it is scheduled to be opened in 2020 if I remember right.

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Yes, the theater was in the corner of El Camino Real and Reseda. I remember putting some Pop Rocks into the time capsule... I think I was 12 at the time.

The shopping center that Safeway was in was built with Elmers glue and particle board and almost fell down on it's own.

Weiner's was there and then Ross Dress For Less. Shortly after that they leveled the whole thing. There is a real nice stand alone Walgreen's there now. They relocated from the El Camino Shopping center. That whole effort was a nice improvement for the area.

Remember Piggly Wiggly grocery store across the street form the theater? That was the only place to shop in the area outside of Weingarten's in Nassau Bay.

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I was about 16 when they disappeared from Clear Lake City. One time I was in there close to closing time and saw the manager putting money in the safe. It was under the floor mat just inside the main entrance door!

After they closed up, a fabric store by the name of Hancock Fabrics moved in and is still there. It had to have looked strange but we were in there not long ago and the floor mat is still covering the safe. The employees must have thought I was out of my mind lifting the mat up to see if the safe was still there. It is.

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Subdude, did you notice this?

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The old South Main Drive-In!! I loved that place when I was little. Notice how it says And Kiddie Amusement Park on the sign? I remember going to the drive in movies as a kid, and the minute we arrived, I'd say Bye to the parents, and run off to play in the park. It had a bunch of swings & other typical playground equipment and it was located on a grassy area exactly in front of & underneath the screen. I'd play there for who knows how long, and only go running back to the car for a drink or a snack.

Funny, how you could let your kid go running off to some playground in the dark and never worry about them back in the 60s. Can you imagine anything like that today?

Oh, and I remember my parents getting dressed up to go to the movies at the Majestic when I was young. My father used to get tickets for movie debuts/previews which were apparently a big deal back then. The also went to the Gaylynn movie theatre in Sharpstown when it was brand new.

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Does anyone remember the old theater in Stafford?  It was on Main (90).  We drove by there about a year ago and it was gone.  My friend and I saw Saturday Night Fever there when we were 12 or 13 (we snuck in to see it because we were underaged).

Are you sure about one in Stafford? I lived in Mo City, right next to Stafford, and drove through there almost every day. Where was it? Maybe it was built after I left the area in 1978. I do remember one in Sugar Land on Hwy 90.

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