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Historic Houston Theaters


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What Houston used to advertise as its theater district.

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Interior of the Metropolitan Theater.

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Metropolitan Theater Exterior.

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Lobby of Loew's State theater, next to the Metropolitan.

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Loew's State entrance:

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Majestic Theater, Rusk between Main and Travis.

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Delman Theater, Main at Wheeler. This was just torn down last year after a fire.

akClosing.jpeg

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Thanks for the photos. I know for that there are still quite a few of them left around Houston. I have always enjoyed seeing how Houston looked way back when. So much has changed and not all for the better.

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Guest danax

Great photos Subdude. The cool thing about old theater photos is that you can date them precisely based on what was playing, ie; "She Married Her Boss", 1935, "The Last of the Mohicans",1936 and "Parnell" June 1937.

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  • 8 months later...
What Houston used to advertise as its theater district.

aeJun.gif

Interior of the Metropolitan Theater.

adApr.jpeg

Metropolitan Theater Exterior.

agAug.gif

Lobby of Loew's State theater, next to the Metropolitan.

ajDec.jpeg

Loew's State entrance:

agSep.jpeg

Majestic Theater, Rusk between Main and Travis.

abJan.jpeg

Delman Theater, Main at Wheeler. This was just torn down last year after a fire.

akClosing.jpeg

Mike Rivest's Ultimate Theatre website lists these theatres. Some of them go back as far as the 1920s. Are what housed the Kirby and the Metropolitan extant?

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  • 1 month later...
Mike Rivest's Ultimate Theatre website lists these theatres. Some of them go back as far as the 1920s. Are what housed the Kirby and the Metropolitan extant?

Ah, the movie theatres of yesteryear! My belief as to what caused many drive-in and indoor theatres to bite the dust was the invention of the VCR. Stop and think about it. I think that I could safely say that most people would rather go to Blockbuster, rent a movie and take it home and watch it instead of having to get all dressed up to go out and pay those high admission and snack prices.

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Mike Rivest's Ultimate Theatre website lists these theatres. Some of them go back as far as the 1920s. Are what housed the Kirby and the Metropolitan extant?

The Lamar Hotel (which sat on the block bound by Main St, Lamar, Louisiana, & McKinney) housed the Metropolitan along with the Loews State Theatre was demolished in 82. The building that housed the Kirby, I believe, is still there. The theater no longer exists.

Edited by djrage
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Ah, the movie theatres of yesteryear! My belief as to what caused many drive-in and indoor theatres to bite the dust was the invention of the VCR. Stop and think about it. I think that I could safely say that most people would rather go to Blockbuster, rent a movie and take it home and watch it instead of having to get all dressed up to go out and pay those high admission and snack prices.

I think TV had more to do with their demise, BUT,

If I was 18 again and had the same car and the same sweet thang, I'd still prefer the Drive-In on Fri/Sat night...the drive-in wasn't about movies, it was about making out...remember? Like I said in another post, if you can date the daughter of the manager and get in free...could life get any better??

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I think TV had more to do with their demise, BUT,

If I was 18 again and had the same car and the same sweet thang, I'd still prefer the Drive-In on Fri/Sat night...the drive-in wasn't about movies, it was about making out...remember? Like I said in another post, if you can date the daughter of the manager and get in free...could life get any better??

That reminds me of an item that I saw in MAD magazine many years ago:

"You know you're really married when...

You go out to the drive-in theatre to actually see the movie"!

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  • 4 months later...
What Houston used to advertise as its theater district.

aeJun.gif

Interior of the Metropolitan Theater.

adApr.jpeg

Metropolitan Theater Exterior.

agAug.gif

Lobby of Loew's State theater, next to the Metropolitan.

ajDec.jpeg

Loew's State entrance:

agSep.jpeg

Majestic Theater, Rusk between Main and Travis.

abJan.jpeg

Delman Theater, Main at Wheeler. This was just torn down last year after a fire.

%7Boption%7Dhttp://users.ev1.net/~plhailey/hpat/calendars/1998/akClosing.jpeg[/img

It's a shame that these thetres are things of the past. I thought that most theatres now were 10 and 15 screens. But in yesterday's Chronicle I saw one that had 30 (THIRTY) screens! Have any of you ever been to that one?

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There are two 30-screen theatres I'm aware of: the AMC Studio 30 on Dunvale and the AMC Gulf Pointe 30 on the Gulf Freeway at the South Belt. Both have been there for several years. I've been to Gulf Pointe once or twice, and I've been to Dunvale many, many times. Parking can be a real challenge on weekend nights.

I would think that the seating capacity in each of the 30 screens would be small, unless the building that contains all of them is big itself. I would also think that being in there would be like being in a sardine can, not being able to move around because of all of the people, etc. Am I right or wrong?

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The buildings are huge. Yes, some of the auditoriums are larger than others, but they've all got stadium seating and plenty of legroom.

I am torn on this issue. I grew up going to Theatres with 3-6 screens. I have some great memories of Briargrove 3 before it became and dollar theatre and after. When we moved to Briargrove Park we had all sorts of options. There was AMC Westchase 5, Plitt Woodlake Square 3, AMC Town & Country 6 and Also Lowes Town and Country 3. Any movie you wanted to see was at those theaters.

I can remember seeing Rocky III, Scarface (snuck in), and ET at Woodlake 3.

I can remember the narrowness of the T&C 6 Lobby. There was also a cool video game room. It probably had 6-10 video games.

I can remember in 7th grade meeting and kissing a girl at T&C 3 while viewing Revenge of the Nerds. It was my first pick up. My buddy got farther than me (2nd base if you will) and never let me live that one down. His girl was cuter as well.

I remember getting dropped off at all these theaters for an early movie and we would stay and watch 2 movies. It was a fun time.

When AMC Town and Country 12 was built across I-10 the movie experience started to shift towards bigger theaters with more choices.

Today, I enjoy the big theaters with the multiple choices, more legroom, stadium seating etc. But I would never change the memories I had of the old school 70's and 80's and theatres. I am sure some of the older people remember the theaters with one screen and thought the Town n Country 6 was a huge change.

We have Netflix so it is rare we even head to a theater anymore. Maybe 3-5 times a year. We might hit a movie tomorrow. AMC 30 / Dunvale here we come. Parking be damned.

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Yeah, the old (now demolished) Meyerland 8 certainly had a hell of a lot more charm than the only remaining multiplex in my immediate vicinity, the Meyer Park 16.

I remember Meypark 16 opening and we were in Awe. 16 screens. We used to drive from Briargrove Park to hit movies there. Of course we were 15-17 years old and driving was there half the fun. That place has gone downhill in the past years.

I wonder when the next generation of Movie Theaters will come online. I heard they are building a new theater in Memorial City. This will be third such try at that mall that I can remember.

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I am torn on this issue. I grew up going to Theatres with 3-6 screens. I have some great memories of Briargrove 3 before it became and dollar theatre and after. When we moved to Briargrove Park we had all sorts of options. There was AMC Westchase 5, Plitt Woodlake Square 3, AMC Town & Country 6 and Also Lowes Town and Country 3. Any movie you wanted to see was at those theaters.

I can remember seeing Rocky III, Scarface (snuck in), and ET at Woodlake 3.

I can remember the narrowness of the T&C 6 Lobby. There was also a cool video game room. It probably had 6-10 video games.

I can remember in 7th grade meeting and kissing a girl at T&C 3 while viewing Revenge of the Nerds. It was my first pick up. My buddy got farther than me (2nd base if you will) and never let me live that one down. His girl was cuter as well.

I remember getting dropped off at all these theaters for an early movie and we would stay and watch 2 movies. It was a fun time.

When AMC Town and Country 12 was built across I-10 the movie experience started to shift towards bigger theaters with more choices.

Today, I enjoy the big theaters with the multiple choices, more legroom, stadium seating etc. But I would never change the memories I had of the old school 70's and 80's and theatres. I am sure some of the older people remember the theaters with one screen and thought the Town n Country 6 was a huge change.

We have Netflix so it is rare we even head to a theater anymore. Maybe 3-5 times a year. We might hit a movie tomorrow. AMC 30 / Dunvale here we come. Parking be damned.

Yes, I grew up with the one-screeners. When I was in either the fourth or the fifth grade, the Park Plaza Theatre opened in Port Arthur. It was the talk and sensation of the whole area. People would say: "That new theatre in Port Arthur has TWO screens"! I remember seeing "Bullitt" starring Steve McQueen there when it first opened. But recently the wrecking ball was administered to it.

A good website to look at is "cinematour.com". On it I posted a photo of the first Village Theatre in Port Arthur. Lightning stuck it in either 1966/67 and it was rebuilt. The new one lasted until the 1980s but its roof collapsed.

"CinemaTreasures.Org" is also another good website, but at this time they are not accepting any photos.

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I am torn on this issue. I grew up going to Theatres with 3-6 screens. I have some great memories of Briargrove 3 before it became and dollar theatre and after. When we moved to Briargrove Park we had all sorts of options. There was AMC Westchase 5, Plitt Woodlake Square 3, AMC Town & Country 6 and Also Lowes Town and Country 3. Any movie you wanted to see was at those theaters.

I can remember seeing Rocky III, Scarface (snuck in), and ET at Woodlake 3.

I can remember the narrowness of the T&C 6 Lobby. There was also a cool video game room. It probably had 6-10 video games.

I can remember in 7th grade meeting and kissing a girl at T&C 3 while viewing Revenge of the Nerds. It was my first pick up. My buddy got farther than me (2nd base if you will) and never let me live that one down. His girl was cuter as well.

I remember getting dropped off at all these theaters for an early movie and we would stay and watch 2 movies. It was a fun time.

When AMC Town and Country 12 was built across I-10 the movie experience started to shift towards bigger theaters with more choices.

Today, I enjoy the big theaters with the multiple choices, more legroom, stadium seating etc. But I would never change the memories I had of the old school 70's and 80's and theatres. I am sure some of the older people remember the theaters with one screen and thought the Town n Country 6 was a huge change.

We have Netflix so it is rare we even head to a theater anymore. Maybe 3-5 times a year. We might hit a movie tomorrow. AMC 30 / Dunvale here we come. Parking be damned.

Okay, here's where our similar backgrounds come into play again. LOL I definitely remember hanging out at these theatres, but am not sure I remember exactly where the Woodlake 3 was. Was this down on Westheimer near present day Melting Pot, House of Pies, Sun and Ski, etc? If so, I remember seeing Vacation there with my family - my 1st R-rated movie -LOL. Do you remember the putt-putt that used to be across the street where Toys R Us is now? I remember seeing Annie in 82 at Westchase 5 after a LONG wait to get tickets. This was only weeks/ months after waiting 2+ hours in line to see E.T. at the small theatre in the rear corner on the ice level at the Galleria. I remember the line wrapping around the rink just to get into E.T. I also remember watching movies for 50 cents on Wednesday nights at the 2 T&C theatres while my mom went to choir practice at our church. She would drop us (w/ my siblings) off to watch a movie once we were old enough that she felt safe with it. I have many memories of those theatres as a child/ young teen. In high school we often frequented the T&C 10 that now is a part of HCC north of I-10.

Do you remember the grand old style theatre at Memorial city Mall? My parents aid it burned down when I was young, but I do have several vivid memories of it. I remember the wide, grand staircases of red "velvet" carpet leading up to the theatre (s). I remember it being "fancy", but that could just be the kid eyes I remember it through. My mom remembers it being between the food court area and what used to be the fountains/ present day playarea. Did you/ anybody ever go there?

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The latest trend seems to be combining movie theaters and bars/restaurants (a la the Alamo Drafthouse), giving a whole new meaning to the old phrase, "dinner and a movie." While that seems like a neat idea, there are times when I need to give my undivided attention to a movie. I'll confess that, at home, I often watch movies while I'm eating dinner. But if I miss a snippet of dialogue or a crucial scene because I'm too busy stuffing my face (or if I'm chewing too loudly) I can always rewind. Obviously, that's not an option at a movie theater.

Yes, I understand about Netflix, Blockbuster, Hollywood, etc. Back in the late 1970s/early 1980s when the VCR came out, I believed that it would result in putting all movie theatres out of business, but I was wrong. Most drive-in theatres folded, but there are still plenty of walk-ins. I based my belief that most people don't like to have to get dressed up, hire a baby sitter, to go out to a movie. If they could watch the movie at home, they would do that. I wonder where I went wrong?

I, personally, haven't been to a movie theatre since 1998. There are two reasons why I don't go to one today: 1) the high cost of admission and snacks 2) I'm getting older with physical problems; I don't want to have to go to the restroom in the middle of a movie and have to wonder what I missed. It's like someone else just said: If you're watching a movie at home on a VCR/DVD, you can pause it if Mother Nature calls (or if someone else calls on the telephone).

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Okay, here's where our similar backgrounds come into play again. LOL I definitely remember hanging out at these theatres, but am not sure I remember exactly where the Woodlake 3 was. Was this down on Westheimer near present day Melting Pot, House of Pies, Sun and Ski, etc? If so, I remember seeing Vacation there with my family - my 1st R-rated movie -LOL. Do you remember the putt-putt that used to be across the street where Toys R Us is now? I remember seeing Annie in 82 at Westchase 5 after a LONG wait to get tickets. This was only weeks/ months after waiting 2+ hours in line to see E.T. at the small theatre in the rear corner on the ice level at the Galleria. I remember the line wrapping around the rink just to get into E.T. I also remember watching movies for 50 cents on Wednesday nights at the 2 T&C theatres while my mom went to choir practice at our church. She would drop us (w/ my siblings) off to watch a movie once we were old enough that she felt safe with it. I have many memories of those theatres as a child/ young teen. In high school we often frequented the T&C 10 that now is a part of HCC north of I-10.

Do you remember the grand old style theatre at Memorial city Mall? My parents aid it burned down when I was young, but I do have several vivid memories of it. I remember the wide, grand staircases of red "velvet" carpet leading up to the theatre (s). I remember it being "fancy", but that could just be the kid eyes I remember it through. My mom remembers it being between the food court area and what used to be the fountains/ present day playarea. Did you/ anybody ever go there?

You are thinking of Briargrove Three. Woodlake 3 was in Woodlake Sqaure at Gessner and Westheimer behind the Randall's. 10 or so years ago it turned into SRO and was a huge sports bar. It has floundered ever since.

I totally remember Putt Putt across from Briargrove Three. There was also a Go Kart place attached.

As for Memorial City. Your memories are correct. There was a big theater there that burned down. About 15 years there was another mutliplex built in the mall. It closed down 5 or so years ago (maybe more). I saw Dumb n Dumber there in 1996 or so. I believe they are building a new theater complex at the same location as the old one.

Was the T&C 10 or 12 Theaters. I think you are right. I was thinking 12, but 10 sounds correct. There was a Chili's and Bennigens right there too. I think both of those are gone too.

There was also a bar right next to the Theater that had a surf motif going. I remember going in at about 20 and drinking Mai Tai's.

Good Stuff.

I, personally, haven't been to a movie theatre since 1998. There are two reasons why I don't go to one today: 1) the high cost of admission and snacks 2) I'm getting older with physical problems; I don't want to have to go to the restroom in the middle of a movie and have to wonder what I missed. It's like someone else just said: If you're watching a movie at home on a VCR/DVD, you can pause it if Mother Nature calls (or if someone else calls on the telephone).

I also don't like teenagers talking through all the movies and checking their cell phones for text messages from their buddies. But I still go 3-5 times a year.

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You are thinking of Briargrove Three. Woodlake 3 was in Woodlake Sqaure at Gessner and Westheimer behind the Randall's. 10 or so years ago it turned into SRO and was a huge sports bar. It has floundered ever since.

Okay, thanks! I didn't remember there being another so close to the one that was behind Benihana's. We must not have gone to the other often as it doesn't ring any bells, but I should have known from the name. Was it where Bayou Mama's club (I think that's the right one) was located in the late 80's, early 90's? We went there a few times in college and I can see how that would have been old theatres by the set up.

As for Memorial City. Your memories are correct. There was a big theater there that burned down. About 15 years there was another mutliplex built in the mall. It closed down 5 or so years ago (maybe more). I saw Dumb n Dumber there in 1996 or so. I believe they are building a new theater complex at the same location as the old one.
I went to that theatre some too growing up. I think it was 8-10 screens and has been closed probably 8-10 years (at least that's how it seems to me).
Was the T&C 10 or 12 Theaters. I think you are right. I was thinking 12, but 10 sounds correct. There was a Chili's and Bennigens right there too. I think both of those are gone too.

There was also a bar right next to the Theater that had a surf motif going. I remember going in at about 20 and drinking Mai Tai's.

It was T&C 10. We used to go there ALOT in high school. The Chili's is still there, but the Bennigan's was torn down about a year ago b/c of freeway expansion. I remember the Surf Bar too with the thatched roof.

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Okay, thanks! I didn't remember there being another so close to the one that was behind Benihana's. We must not have gone to the other often as it doesn't ring any bells, but I should have known from the name. Was it where Bayou Mama's club (I think that's the right one) was located in the late 80's, early 90's? We went there a few times in college and I can see how that would have been old theatres by the set up.

I went to that theatre some too growing up. I think it was 8-10 screens and has been closed probably 8-10 years (at least that's how it seems to me).

It was T&C 10. We used to go there ALOT in high school. The Chili's is still there, but the Bennigan's was torn down about a year ago b/c of freeway expansion. I remember the Surf Bar too with the thatched roof.

Now that we have DVDs, do you think that movie theatres will eventually die a natural death?

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We must not have gone to the other often as it doesn't ring any bells, but I should have known from the name. Was it where Bayou Mama's club (I think that's the right one) was located in the late 80's, early 90's?

Yes, Across from Bayou Mamma's is a class C office building. To the West of that Building was the Theatre. The building is still there so next time you are over there drive behind Hooters and you will see what I am talking about.

As for Bayou Mamma's. We went there a few times in College too. I saw KC and Sunshine Band there in 1993. I was home for the summer from College (Colorado) and remember having the greatest time. It was right when disco was making a comeback (in a nostalgic sense). We knew all the songs and got super drunk and had a ball.

Years later the placed changed ownership catered to a different crowd. A buddy of mine and I would venture in there for some fun shows. We saw Morris Day and the Time and I think we saw the Gap Band another night (or another band from the same era). It was so much fun.

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Now that we have DVDs, do you think that movie theatres will eventually die a natural death?

They already have as far as I'm concerned. But cable and VCR's started all

that.. I haven't been in a theater is so long, I forgot the last time.

But I was a taping fool with the VCR's, "have a few hundred movies taped",

and am quickly falling in line with the DVD age, being I now have a burner.

I'm burning movies nearly every day, and naturally get better quality with the

DVD's than the old VHS tapes. I just recorded and burned to DVD "the shining"

tonight as an example. I was just at fry's this evening getting another 100 pack

of DVD's and the matching jeweled cases.. I burn a lot of video...

I get near HDTV quality if I watch them on my puter. I use a 21 inch monitor, and

run my res at 1600x1200. You can't hardly see the pixels at all. I go back to a

regular TV, and the pixels stick out so much that it's like a dot matrix puzzle..

I'll probably get a true HDTV TV card pretty soon. They are getting pretty

cheap. I'm using a ATI-9800pro all in wonder right now.. I edit the video before

I burn em, so cut out all the commercials etc.. You can colllect a heck of a lot of

movies just off cable TV, if you have the time to waste... :/ I've got a "sima goDVD"

video stabilizer that I use for macrovision foiling.. :)

MK

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The buildings are huge. Yes, some of the auditoriums are larger than others, but they've all got stadium seating and plenty of legroom.

I just looked at the movie theatre ads in today's Chronicle. I counted the number of movies now playing at those two 30-screen theatres. They added up to less than 30. What am I missing?

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I just looked at the movie theatre ads in today's Chronicle. I counted the number of movies now playing at those two 30-screen theatres. They added up to less than 30. What am I missing?

Many of the big releases play on more than one screen. Look at the times. If a movie is playing every hour but it is 2 hours long you know they are playing it on more than one screen.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Great photos Subdude. The cool thing about old theater photos is that you can date them precisely based on what was playing, ie; "She Married Her Boss", 1935, "The Last of the Mohicans",1936 and "Parnell" June 1937.

On CinemaTour.Com, there's a good photo tour of one of those 30 screen theatres in Houston.

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Old thread reviving... but does anyone know/have pictures of the old Woodlake at Gessner and Westheimer (currently an event/wedding center)? My dad was a projectionist there in the 80's and would take my 4yo self to work and let me climb around in the projectionist booth. I'd love to find some old photos/videos of it. I have a ton of memories of it and thought it would be fun to compare what my 4yo mind remembers vs reality. Thanks

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In the early fifties we lived on Lincoln street which is now part of  Montrose Blvd. My cousin and I would walk down to the Tower theatre on Saturday afternoon for movies. About 1955 we moved to the West end on Gibson street near the intersection of Washington and Shepherd. My older cousin and I would catch the bus on Washington to downtown and go to the Majestic. Lowes, or Metropolitan. I was only ten to thirteen years old and scared to ride the bus alone, so I would walk down to the Yale theatre at Yale and Washington. My mom and dad moved to Sul Ross street in the Montrose area in 58 and the theatre of choice was the Alabama theatre.

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