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Scotch

Queen Theater

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History

According to the Schulman Theaters website:

“In 1926, Abraham Schulman moved to Bryan with his son Morris. Together, they purchased the Queen and Dixie Theatres on Main Street. The old Bryan City Hall was purchased in 1928 and converted into the Palace Theater - a premiere facility offering both Vaudville stage shows and the new talking films.

QueenTheatre.jpg

The Queen Theater was torn down and rebuilt in 1939 with the first "conditioned air" system in any theater west of the Mississippi. After that, the Palace Theater was upgraded to include conditioned air as well. The three Bryan theaters ran successfully for many years, but days of single screen theaters passed and the Palace was the last of the three to close its doors in 1985.”

The Queen Theater is an instantly recognizable landmark in Downtown Bryan and a favorite of photographers, both professional and amateur. There are numerous pictures of the Queen on the net, most from the past twenty years. Many are linked at the Cinema Treasures site and more can be found at Flickr. (Don Lewis’ photos of old signs and theaters are extraordinarily interesting and worth an hour or two alone).

Here are some selected links to pictures of the Queen at Flickr:

Queen and Dixie (circa 1986-88). The Dixie Theatre can be seen in dreary grey just a year or two prior to its reinvention as The Stafford Opera House in bright yellow.

Queen (circa 1986-88)

Queen (approx 2006)

Close-up of crown

A close-up of crown from another photographer, with more pictures from 2006

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When able, I’ve saved some pictures to my photobucket account simply to make sure the links stay active:

Queen1984-AmericanClassicImages.jpg

1984

Queen-DixieFeb1984.jpg

Queen and Dixie theaters in 1984.

Bryan_Queen_Theater_TX_20041126_01.jpg

2004

howard_stein_queen.jpg

2005 photo from Howard Stein

Queen2006-AlecSoth.jpg

2006 photo by Alec Soth

QueenTheatrebyBoris2006.jpg

QueenTheatrebyBoris22006.jpg

previous two 2006 photos by this site's own Boris

Queen2008-JackieYoung.jpg

2008 photo by Jackie Young

Queenscrown.jpg

Close-up of crown by Don Lewis, approx. 2007.

Edited by Scotch

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Recent history and future:

2002 article: Local business buys The Queen Theater

and now, possible hope for the long-anticipated rehabilitaion of the Queen:

Doing up downtown Bryan

July 19, 2009

By CASSIE SMITH

071909downtown_w300.jpg

(Dennis Goehring and Randall Spradley are heading up an effort to restore the Queen Theater

in Downtown Bryan. They have been awarded a grant by the Bryan City Council.)

The crown on the Queen Theater is coming back to life with a light and the ability to rotate.

...The future of the old movie theater near the LaSalle Hotel on South Main Street remains uncertain except for one aspect: It will remain a theater.

The three-story brick-and-stucco building built in 1939 has a large sheet-metal crown that once rotated on top of the theater.

"We all know what the Queen looks like. It's been kind of a sore subject for all of us for a long time," Goehring said. "There has not been a real economic reason because the right thing has not come along. As a result, nothing happens."

Several offers from people wanting to buy or lease the property have come and gone over the years, Spradley said. But Astin has two requirements for new ownership: It must remain a theater, and the new owner must have successfully operated one in the past. "What we don't want to see happen is to have someone open it and close it within two years," Spradley said. "The real trick to the Queen isn't the cost of the redevelopment; the trick is to successfully operate it as a theater."

Edited by Scotch

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Pretty cool. I remember going there back in the 60's while in school in Bryan. I love seeing old theaters brought back to life. 

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Any memories you and others have of the Queen, and also of the Dixie and Palace, would be greatly appreciated.

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They should open a theatre that sells beer, I always thought that would bring people in.

I heard that the old sign made a terrible squeaking noise that could be heard for blocks when someone tried to turn it on a couple years ago, was that true?

Edited by zaphod

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The facade and neon has been restored, the crown even spins. Funds are still being raised to renovate the inside:

003-1.jpg

007-1.jpg

016.jpg

015.jpg

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016-1.jpg

A quick & cheesy photoshop.

003-2.jpg

After the lights go out.

Edited by Scotch

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