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Paris Theater on OST


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There is a closed theater on the south side of Old Spanish Trail between Griggs and Scott Street. It is a pretty monolithic structure compared to everything that's around it and is considerably larger than the River Oaks Theater.

In the RO Theater thread, sevfiv had already provided pictures of it. Anybody got photos of it in its heyday? Anybody know the owner? What's up with this place?

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Well I suppose that makes sense, since the word "Juneteenth" is painted on the building.

On their website, I don't see any mention of the theater at all, however. Doesn't seem like the theater is seeing almost any use at all.

Anybody know Al?

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Sure, it's probably bigger. But it's nowhere near as beautiful nor as important historically and architecturally. It'd be great to see it restored and thriving. But it has nothing to do with the River Oaks and it would sure be a shame for someone to try to make any kind of argument about the RO's future based on the OST.

Marty

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on another note, hcad lists the land use as "recreational/health," and building square ft. at 0

needless to say, i'm assuming it's been gutted

I'm not so sure about that. HCAD is really funny about listing square footages for uses that aren't residential, retail, or office. There are some enormous industrial facilities (especially manufacturing facilities) that have "0" square feet when they actually have hundreds of thousands. Civic or quasi-civic improvents are also subject to this funkiness.

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Yep. Probably.

Someone contact Al and find out.

This WAS the OST Theater for many years, until it was sold and started showing adult films sometime in the mid or late sixties. That's when the new owner renamed it the Paris Theater.

Most of its "adult" films were those innocent "nudie" movies, some soft core porn and foreign "art" films. It's where I saw I am Curious Yellow sometime in the mid sixties. It didn't start showing hard core porn until the 70s.

Edited by FilioScotia
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Sure, it's probably bigger. But it's nowhere near as beautiful nor as important historically and architecturally. It'd be great to see it restored and thriving. But it has nothing to do with the River Oaks and it would sure be a shame for someone to try to make any kind of argument about the RO's future based on the OST.

Marty

How about The Brunson in Baytown, how about The El Capitan in Pasadena. What makes TRO more important ? Is it because high-falootin old school money doesn't want new money peering down on them from a 13 story condo ?

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How about The Brunson in Baytown, how about The El Capitan in Pasadena. What makes TRO more important ? Is it because high-falootin old school money doesn't want new money peering down on them from a 13 story condo ?

for one, the river oaks is actually in use and not falling apart

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Cool. i really hope it happens. i always thought an ecclectic coffee shop would work on Texas Ave if you could make it a college hangout. My wife would have none of it though :(

Try the Purple Turtle near Sylvan Beach Park in La Porte. It's just what you're looking for.

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Cool. i really hope it happens. i always thought an ecclectic coffee shop would work on Texas Ave if you could make it a college hangout. My wife would have none of it though :(

They need to take out all the "S" curves in Texas Ave. and make it a straightaway again, then remodel everything to look like American Graffiti, and turn it into a tourist attraction. Have a Carhop Drive-In at each end of"The Strip".

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They need to take out all the "S" curves in Texas Ave. and make it a straightaway again, then remodel everything to look like American Graffiti, and turn it into a tourist attraction. Have a Carhop Drive-In at each end of"The Strip".

You need to take a road trip back "home". The snake is no more!

No sign of Suzanne Somers yet though. :lol: Richard Dreyfus might be there though! :wacko:

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funny the paint is coming up and the old paint is still there...verrry confusing (to me anyway)... that area is dead, no one has expendable income. Texas ave. would be great for college housing..but I think most students have family in the area. My parents recently moved there so I STILL frequent the area.

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This WAS the OST Theater for many years, until it was sold and started showing adult films sometime in the mid or late sixties. That's when the new owner renamed it the Paris Theater.

Most of its "adult" films were those innocent "nudie" movies, some soft core porn and foreign "art" films. It's where I saw I am Curious Yellow sometime in the mid sixties. It didn't start showing hard core porn until the 70s.

From the July 21, 1969, Houston Post. No comments about the color adjectives used here.

Paris-1969.jpg

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From the July 21, 1969, Houston Post. No comments about the color adjectives used here.

Paris-1969.jpg

Those films had to be soft-core. In 1969, the Houston Post wouldn't carry photo ads for hardcore films. That prohibition was later expanded to include photo ads for any X-rated film -- hardcore, softcore or mainstream. The films could be advertised, but with print ads only. No illustrations. Mrs Hobby made that decision. May she rest in peace. She was a great lady.

Edited by FilioScotia
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  • 8 months later...
There is a closed theater on the south side of Old Spanish Trail between Griggs and Scott Street. It is a pretty monolithic structure compared to everything that's around it and is considerably larger than the River Oaks Theater.

In the RO Theater thread, sevfiv had already provided pictures of it. Anybody got photos of it in its heyday? Anybody know the owner? What's up with this place?

I guess that the Paris Theatre can be placed on the same list as the Santa Rosa, Village, Kirby, Metropolitan, etc. If it's still standing, it will probably someday experience the same fate as the aforementioned cinemas. It seems that it spent its final days as an X-rated house just like the Santa Rosa did, seeing the ad in the other thread. I wonder why some theatres turned to porn then they closed down? Did the Village, Kirby, Metropolitan and others do the same thing? I read that the Red Bluff Drive-In Theatre in Pasadena did the same thing.

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I wonder why some theatres turned to porn then they closed down? Did the Village, Kirby, Metropolitan and others do the same thing? I read that the Red Bluff Drive-In Theatre in Pasadena did the same thing.

You're right about the Red Bluff Drive-in. It went porno sometime in the 80s, and ultimately went out of business. It sat there closed and decaying until a few years ago, when someone finally bought the property for other uses, and tore down the screen tower.

I worked at the Red Bluff when I was in high school in the late 50s, and every time I drive past that corner of 225 and Red Bluff Road these days I always have flash-backs to some "memorable" experiences I had there. Let's just say it's where I starting coming of age.

Edited by FilioScotia
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I wonder why some theatres turned to porn then they closed down? Did the Village, Kirby, Metropolitan and others do the same thing?

Ah, the age before widespread Beta and VHS, when a dying theatre turned to porn as a last resort. I'm assuming it was a short term solution to a chronic problem, the old theatres eventually had to compete with newer, little mini porn theatres and eventually adult videos that folks could watch at home. I don't recall the Village or Metropolitan turning to porn, having attended main stream films there in the early 70s. Houston had a law about sexually oriented business being so many feet from a church, school, etc. so some of these theatres may not been allowed to convert to porn even if they wanted.

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The Paris was a little different . It began to be a soft porn venue way back in the mid- sixties . Flicks with a lot of nudity and dumb blond comedy but none of the XXX hard stuff that exploded in the seventies . I remember around 1968 what a thrill it was at eighteen to borrow my parents car and sneak off to the Paris.

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You're right about the Red Bluff Drive-in. It went porno sometime in the 80s, and ultimately went out of business. It sat there closed and decaying until a few years ago, when someone finally bought the property for other uses, and tore down the screen tower.

I worked at the Red Bluff when I was in high school in the late 50s, and every time I drive past that corner of 225 and Red Bluff Road these days I always have flash-backs to some "memorable" experiences I had there. Let's just say it's where I starting coming of age.

I looked up "Drive-In Theatre" in Wikipedia.Org. It was an interesting article. It said that back in the 1950s drive-in theatres were derisively called "passion pits" because of what the teenagers would do while they were in there. It appears that you "came of age" in one of those "passion pits."

Edited by northbeaumont
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I looked up "Drive-In Theatre" in Wikipedia.Org. It was an interesting article. It said that back in the 1950s drive-in theatres were derisively called "passion pits" because of what the teenagers would do while they were in there. It appears that you "came of age" in one of those "passion pits."

Of course! What did you think I was talking about? You had to look in Wikipedia to learn that?

I'm sorry. I have to remind myself that an entire generation of people has been born and grown to maturity without the experience of making out in a drive-in theater.

Back in the day, drive-ins were famous for being the best cheap and easy place to park and make out. Nobody cared what was showing on the screen. And it wasn't just teenagers either. When I worked at the Red Bluff, I saw lots of adults getting after it too. We weren't supposed to allow it, but it went on every night.

My own "coming of age" involved the occasional unescorted sweet young thing who would hang out in the concession stand. Every now and then one would invite me out to her car when I finished work for the night.

God only knows how many of today's baby boomers and Gen X'ers were conceived in a drive-in. I don't think any of them can be traced to me, but I'm dreading that knock on the door by someone saying "Hi Daddy! Remember the Red Bluff Drive-in? And that cute blonde from Galena Park?"

Edited by FilioScotia
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Back in the day, drive-ins were famous for being the best cheap and easy place to park and make out. Nobody cared what was showing on the screen.

See, this is what I don't get, and it is probably generational, but why on earth would a couple seek to engage one another, so to speak, in such a public place? Certainly there were discrete little nooks around town and in the countryside that would be, uh, more comfortable and private? Was it like a form of mass-desperation? Or was it seen as somehow fashionable to screw amongst the masses? Or what? I mean, it doesn't surprise me that it would happen once in a while, but it seems like this is more or less a sort of group encounter that one intentionally tries to join up with.

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See, this is what I don't get, and it is probably generational, but why on earth would a couple seek to engage one another, so to speak, in such a public place?

A. Money - few bucks for the movie, 20 something for a room. And what would the motel clerk think?

B. Alibi - Mom, Becky and I are going to see Blazing Saddles at the McLendon

C. Forbidden Fruit - what if someone sees us? What if we get caught? Kind of adds to the excitement for some folks.

Plus, there was a time making out and "petting" was as far as you went.

Edited by devonhart
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Of course! What did you think I was talking about? You had to look in Wikipedia to learn that?

I'm sorry. I have to remind myself that an entire generation of people has been born and grown to maturity without the experience of making out in a drive-in theater.

Back in the day, drive-ins were famous for being the best cheap and easy place to park and make out. Nobody cared what was showing on the screen. And it wasn't just teenagers either. When I worked at the Red Bluff, I saw lots of adults getting after it too. We weren't supposed to allow it, but it went on every night.

My own "coming of age" involved the occasional unescorted sweet young thing who would hang out in the concession stand. Every now and then one would invite me out to her car when I finished work for the night.

God only knows how many of today's baby boomers and Gen X'ers were conceived in a drive-in. I don't think any of them can be traced to me, but I'm dreading that knock on the door by someone saying "Hi Daddy! Remember the Red Bluff Drive-in? And that cute blonde from Galena Park?"

No, I didn't need Wikipedia. I graduated from high school back in 1976. I had never heard the term "passion pit" before reading that article. Back then, if the girl didn't know me that well on a first or second date, she would tell me to go to an indoor theatre. If she had no objections to going to a drive-in theatre, then that was the signal that she wanted to be a little intimate. According to the map I looked at, the girl you were with came over through the Washburn Tunnel in order to accompany you to the Red Bluff.

I went out with more than one girl to Showtown U.S.A. Twin Drive-In north of Parkdale Mall in Beaumont. I know exactly what you're talking about. One night, ironically, one of the features was entitled "Drive-In."

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No, I didn't need Wikipedia. I graduated from high school back in 1976. I had never heard the term "passion pit" before reading that article.

My apologies for seeming to snap back at you. Actually, the girl from Galena Park didn't "accompany" me to the Red Bluff. She was already there, flirting with every guy in the concession stand, and I managed to finish my work first. If not me, it would have been the next guy.

She was just one of many. I'm not kidding. At least once a week an "opportunity" would present "herself" at that place. We finally figured out that girls just can't resist a man in uniform, and those funny looking concession stand shirts and caps we had to wear must have looked like a uniform.

You knew how to read the signals too. Girls inclined to making out always said "sure" when asked if they'd like to see a movie at the Red Bluff, the Eagle, or the Pasadena, or the Decker, or some other place. Those not so inclined said no thanks.

And even if you couldn't find a date, you could go to a drive-in with one of your buds and there was always a fair chance of picking up a girl, and more often than not she would have a friend for the bud. That happened for me and some of my friends on a number of occasions. Those were the days. I need to stop now. I'm stuck in flashback mode.

Edited by FilioScotia
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My apologies for seeming to snap back at you. Actually, the girl from Galena Park didn't "accompany" me to the Red Bluff. She was already there, flirting with every guy in the concession stand, and I managed to finish my work first. If not me, it would have been the next guy.

She was just one of many. I'm not kidding. At least once a week an "opportunity" would present "herself" at that place. We finally figured out that girls just can't resist a man in uniform, and those funny looking concession stand shirts and caps we had to wear must have looked like a uniform.

You knew how to read the signals too. Girls inclined to making out always said "sure" when asked if they'd like to see a movie at the Red Bluff, the Eagle, or the Pasadena, or the Decker, or some other place. Those not so inclined said no thanks.

And even if you couldn't find a date, you could go to a drive-in with one of your buds and there was always a fair chance of picking up a girl, and more often than not she would have a friend for the bud. That happened for me and some of my friends on a number of occasions. Those were the days. I need to stop now. I'm stuck in flashback mode.

Oh, yes, I'm in flashback mode, too. Look on Drive-Ins.Com. Click on Search Database. Then enter zip code 77707. Then click on Showtown U.S.A. Twin Drive-In. You'll see where I posted some photos on behalf of another drive-in enthusiast. I went there with girls many times when I was a teenager.

Go back, and click on South Park Drive-In. You'll see where I posted a painting and a photo on behalf of two other nostalgia enthusiasts. Go back, and click on Don Drive-In. There you'll see where I posted the last newpaper advertisement for that theatre. Then you'll see a photo that I took last year of what was the entrance. I had some good times there, too. Go back, click on Surf Drive-In. You'll see that I posted that theatre's ad from July 1, 1953, a Tyrone Power movie called Mississippi Gambler.

Like Bob Hope would say: "Thanks for the memories."

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The Paris was a little different . It began to be a soft porn venue way back in the mid- sixties . Flicks with a lot of nudity and dumb blond comedy but none of the XXX hard stuff that exploded in the seventies . I remember around 1968 what a thrill it was at eighteen to borrow my parents car and sneak off to the Paris.

Tell us more!

It's impossible to look through any Houston newspapers from the '60s without those great, lurid, tantalizing Paris Theater "sexploitation" film ads jumping out at you. I have a bunch of those ads that I should post here. I'm sure every Russ Meyer, David Freidman et al. grindhouse classic must have played there back in the day. I've wondered who went there and what it was like. Located so close to UH, it must have attracted a lot of students, but I'm sure the dirty ol' men were everpresent, as well.

This page of David Friedman films on video/DVD amply demonstrates what was on tap at the Paris:

http://www.somethingweird.com/cart.php?tar...category_id=328

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The Paris was a little different . It began to be a soft porn venue way back in the mid- sixties . Flicks with a lot of nudity and dumb blond comedy but none of the XXX hard stuff that exploded in the seventies . I remember around 1968 what a thrill it was at eighteen to borrow my parents car and sneak off to the Paris.

Yeah, I never went there but remember the big "controversial showing" of 'I AM CURIOUS (Yellow)' ... they were picketed by church groups and I vaguely remember a minor firebombing. Lots of free publicity!

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A. Money - few bucks for the movie, 20 something for a room. And what would the motel clerk think?

B. Alibi - Mom, Becky and I are going to see Blazing Saddles at the McLendon

C. Forbidden Fruit - what if someone sees us? What if we get caught? Kind of adds to the excitement for some folks.

Plus, there was a time making out and "petting" was as far as you went.

And people from the "video" generation forget that there were very few tv stations, your parents were ALWAYS home, nobody you knew had their own place ... and it really was the cheapest way to see a movie, especially if you could sneak your date into the place in the trunk of your car!

I remember seeing the Red Bluff, but never went there. There was a drive-in on bellaire blvd at hillcroft, across from Globe (sheesh, whatever happened to Globe (besides being turned into a Fiesta, I mean).

Another one I remember, that I used to go to in the late 70s was somewhere along the south loop. Besides the 610 traffic you had many adjacent train tracks and if the wind was just right you were on the flight path for Hobby ... a truely memorable entertainment experience (and somebody wondered why we made out at the drive-in).

t

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Yeah, I never went there but remember the big "controversial showing" of 'I AM CURIOUS (Yellow)' ... they were picketed by church groups and I vaguely remember a minor firebombing. Lots of free publicity!

That's hilarious! In the John Waters documentary (which I strongly urge you to get) he describes what a rage it caused back in its release along with others like Chelsea Girls.

Now getting back to topic, The Paris Theater is amazingly still there! in fact that section of our city has some of the best views of the city especially if you are driving down OST heading west with the sunset in front of you! It puts you in a dream like state. The website Beamont mentioned (Drive-ins.com) is so cool there is a guy that was an usher at that theater I think in the 50's. He describes perfect detail as if you were still there. He even visited recently just for the sake of nostalgia.

If they even start swaying that big concrete wrecking ball at this place, I will personally through myself under the falling debris! Maybe this will make a point!?

They keep destroying all remains of my old theaters where we got to see our favorite monster movies! Mothra and Godzilla would be upset too! :P

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Ah, the age before widespread Beta and VHS, when a dying theatre turned to porn as a last resort. I'm assuming it was a short term solution to a chronic problem, the old theatres eventually had to compete with newer, little mini porn theatres and eventually adult videos that folks could watch at home. I don't recall the Village or Metropolitan turning to porn, having attended main stream films there in the early 70s. Houston had a law about sexually oriented business being so many feet from a church, school, etc. so some of these theatres may not been allowed to convert to porn even if they wanted.

The Village was definitely showing porn when I came to Rice in 1980. That's where I saw my first porn film. Interestingly enough they had a popcorn machine and a fairly nice candy counter. Also there was a little porn theatre called Art Cinema over off Times Blvd. where Le Peep and Cafe Chino are now. By about 1985 or so the Village Theatre had closed altogether, thanks to video rental, probably. A local group tried to rehab it for music and live theatre, but the money just didn't come together.

marmer

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