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» Cinematour Forum   » Cinemas and Theatres   » Amarillo TX. Theatres

   
Author Topic: Amarillo TX. Theatres
Christopher Crouch
Member

Posts: 292
From: Anaheim, CA
Registered: Feb 2006


 - posted August 22, 2007 03:34 PM      Profile for Christopher Crouch   Email Christopher Crouch         Edit/Delete Post 
I just returned from a visit to Amarillo, Tx. Naturally, I set aside some time to check out the city's various theatres and managed to take quite a few pictures. However, I was also faced with an all too common tragedy; nearly all of Amarillo's classic/old theatres are long gone. Not converted in to retail spaces or standing in ruin, but completely gone.

Those that are gone:
Liberty - Demolished
Capitol - Demolished
Leon - Demolished
Lyric - Demolished
Rialto - Demolished
Star - Demolished
State - Demolished
Texas - Demolished
Victory - Demolished
Esquire - Demolished
Western Plaza - Demolished
Bell Plaza - Demolished
Palo Duro Drive In - Demolished
Skyway Drive In - Demolished
Sunset Drive In - Demolished
Wagon Wheel Drive In - Demolished

Still standing:
Cinema Twin - vacant and looking like they are planning to gut for retail
Paramount - building face and Paramount sign remain, but rest of building converted to offices and a parking structure.
Rex - still standing, but used for a church/masonic lodge
Showplace 4 - still standing, but converted to a gym

Still open:
Tascosa Drive In - only drive-in property remaining
Westgate 6 - operating as a mall dollar house
UA 14 - generic megaplex we have all seen a thousand times
Cinemark Hollywood - another generic megaplex

Perhaps, the most startling site was walking down Polk street, which was once the home of a half dozen palaces. Now, you reach the address of a former theatre and find either an empty lot or a parking building.

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Harry G. Carr
New Member

Posts: 10
From: San Angelo, TX
Registered: Aug 2004


 - posted August 22, 2007 04:36 PM      Profile for Harry G. Carr   Email Harry G. Carr         Edit/Delete Post 
Just about all of west Texas is that way,not many classics left.
San angelo Tex. has one,Abilene Tx. has one ,ElPaso Tx has the only nice theatre left. Its just been finished for about a year.
Its a very beautiful theatre.

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Scott D. Neff
Tour Guide

Posts: 661
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted August 22, 2007 05:04 PM      Profile for Scott D. Neff   Email Scott D. Neff         Edit/Delete Post 
Tell me you took photos of even the crappiest and most generic multiplex????

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Christopher Crouch
Member

Posts: 292
From: Anaheim, CA
Registered: Feb 2006


 - posted August 22, 2007 06:45 PM      Profile for Christopher Crouch   Email Christopher Crouch         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Tell me you took photos of even the crappiest and most generic multiplex????
Yes, I took pictures of everything that remains (Paramount, Cinema Twin, Rex, Showplace 4, Tascosa Drive-In, Westgate 6, UA mega, & Cinemark mega) and a relative provided me with a couple of the Western Plaza during the 7/7 demolishion. I'll send them in asap.

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Scott D. Neff
Tour Guide

Posts: 661
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Feb 2003


 - posted August 27, 2007 10:46 AM      Profile for Scott D. Neff   Email Scott D. Neff         Edit/Delete Post 
That's so exciting. I can't wait to see! Now we need somebody to go to El Paso!

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John Robert
Member

Posts: 135
From: Addison, TX
Registered: Jan 2005


 - posted September 24, 2007 02:37 PM      Profile for John Robert   Email John Robert         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
I just returned from a visit to Amarillo, Tx. Naturally, I set aside some time to check out the city's various theatres and managed to take quite a few pictures. However, I was also faced with an all too common tragedy; nearly all of Amarillo's classic/old theatres are long gone. Not converted in to retail spaces or standing in ruin, but completely gone.

Those that are gone:
Liberty - Demolished
Capitol - Demolished
Leon - Demolished
Lyric - Demolished
Rialto - Demolished
Star - Demolished
State - Demolished
Texas - Demolished
Victory - Demolished
Esquire - Demolished
Western Plaza - Demolished
Bell Plaza - Demolished
Palo Duro Drive In - Demolished
Skyway Drive In - Demolished
Sunset Drive In - Demolished
Wagon Wheel Drive In - Demolished

Still standing:
Cinema Twin - vacant and looking like they are planning to gut for retail
Paramount - building face and Paramount sign remain, but rest of building converted to offices and a parking structure.
Rex - still standing, but used for a church/masonic lodge
Showplace 4 - still standing, but converted to a gym

Still open:
Tascosa Drive In - only drive-in property remaining
Westgate 6 - operating as a mall dollar house
UA 14 - generic megaplex we have all seen a thousand times
Cinemark Hollywood - another generic megaplex

Perhaps, the most startling site was walking down Polk street, which was once the home of a half dozen palaces. Now, you reach the address of a former theatre and find either an empty lot or a parking building.

Another one for your 'demolished' list was the Cinema 6, a UA theater out at I-40/Coulter just east of Westgate Mall. It was torn down in recent years for a new Hampton Inn & Suites. I worked for almost 3 years at another hotel adjacent to the former theater.

There was a theater demoed while I lived in Amarillo, across I-40 from the now-demoed Western Plaza. I think it was a twin, but none of the names from the Cinemas list are ringing a bell right now.

I went to see 1 movie at the Showplace 4 back in 1990, Pretty Woman; this was just a week or 2 before the movie came out on tape. The theater was a discount house by then...I think all shows were $3.

The Tascosa was actually closed for several years, including the years I lived in Amarillo; it wasn't until recent years that the property was cleaned up and reopened.

The Westgate 6 was previously part of a department store space called Monnig's (a now-long-gone Fort Worth-based chain) in the mall's early years, but by 1987-1988, it had already been subdivided into the theater and smaller retail.

The Cinema Twin I've been to once as well back in 1988, some nephews and I saw Working Girl; the theater was still open when I left town in 1993 AFAIK.

Too bad about the remains of the Cinema at Western Plaza. While I was living up there, there was a small comedy club nearby called Jolly's. I got to go a couple of times--nice atmosphere, great comics. The club's management heard sometime around 1992 (?) about the closing of the Western Plaza theater and thought it would be great for Jolly's. The plan was to use one room as a theater for comedic movies and treat it as a movie grill-drafthouse format, while the other room would be a live comedy showroom for the comedians. I didn't get to see inside as to how it turned out, but apparently it didn't last long. Sometime after I moved in 1993, the complex closed. I don't think there was any attempt at using the space for movies again to my knowledge.

Another one for your closed/demoed file...the Trail Drive-In at I-27/Georgia (previous CT posting) ...no trace of it now, I'm afraid.

As far as the Paramount downtown, this previous CT thread I posted should clue you in as far as the sign goes.

I missed the heyday of Polk Street (theaters, downtown retail, kids cruising up and down in their cars)...but the theater aspect sounds almost like Elm Street in downtown Dallas. All the grand ol' palaces of the past along there are completely gone except for the Majestic, which has been kept up over the years with it's old splendor; it hosts mostly live performances now.

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Ryan Paige
New Member

Posts: 2
From: Plano, TX
Registered: May 2005


 - posted October 01, 2008 01:59 PM      Profile for Ryan Paige   Email Ryan Paige         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
There was a theater demoed while I lived in Amarillo, across I-40 from the now-demoed Western Plaza. I think it was a twin, but none of the names from the Cinemas list are ringing a bell right now.
You probably remembered in the 18 months or so since you posted this, but that was the Fox Twin theater (where I, as a 9 year-old boy, first saw "Raiders of the Lost Ark").

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Harry G. Carr
New Member

Posts: 10
From: San Angelo, TX
Registered: Aug 2004


 - posted October 01, 2008 04:23 PM      Profile for Harry G. Carr   Email Harry G. Carr         Edit/Delete Post 
Ryan thank you very much for the nice reply,its too bad all the memories are gone now.
Harry Carr

[ October 01, 2008, 07:09 PM: Message edited by: Adam Martin ]

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John Robert
Member

Posts: 135
From: Addison, TX
Registered: Jan 2005


 - posted October 01, 2008 10:30 PM      Profile for John Robert   Email John Robert         Edit/Delete Post 
Wow, thanx Ryan, yes, the Fox Twin. Had an odd shape to it, likely because it reflected how the 2 viewing rooms were formed instead of having a (shoe)box with 2 viewing rooms inside it.

The mall where the Western Plaza theater was has since been demoed and a big-box-o-rama is coming together in it's place.

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Ryan Paige
New Member

Posts: 2
From: Plano, TX
Registered: May 2005


 - posted October 02, 2008 01:02 PM      Profile for Ryan Paige   Email Ryan Paige         Edit/Delete Post 
Saw a lot of movies at several Amarillo theaters over the years.

I remember being a very little kid seeing one of the Herbie movies at the Esquire Theater. I wanted to sit in the balcony, but it was closed.

I remember going to the Western Plaza Cinema quite often. I'm pretty sure I saw "The Empire Strikes Back" there, among many other movies. They had what I think was the General Cinemas logo before the film with the cool jazzy drum beat (if any of that makes any sense at all).

Went to the Showplace a lot when we lived in the neighborhood (known as Puckett) behind that shopping center. I remember seeing the Gil Gerard Buck Rogers there during its short theatrical release (among many, many others).

The theater that I always called the Cinema 1 & 2 (on Bell, listed here as the Cinema Twin) was a place we went often, too. I remember when they were showing one of the Jaws sequels, they had a small shark in an aquarium in the lobby of one of the sides.

Another time, my father took me to see a movie called "Gizmo" during a really heavy rain. The theater itself was flooding and workers were stacking sand bags (or something like sand bags) at the top of the aisles to prevent the auditorium from flooding completely.

The UA Cinema 6 was the main theater I went to starting when I was about ten or eleven. My most vivid memory there was sitting outside for hours in line when "Return of the Jedi" on the first Saturday after it opened (I would've been 11 years old). My friends and I were even interviewed for the local news.

Went to Bell Plaza a lot, too, when it was a first-run theater. The place caught fire and was demolished afterwards rather than rebuild it. The only thing I remember about it is playing video games in the lobby.

The Westgate Mall theater opened when I was in high school, and I only went there once before I left to go to college in Lubbock (where I saw movies at other theaters that have since been demolished).

When I returned to Amarillo for a short time as an adult, I did work at an office in what used to be the Paramount Theater. Except for some ornate paint on the ceiling of the parking garage (which I guess was once part of the theater auditorium itself), you'd never have known it was a theater (they hadn't refurbished and rehung the sign when I worked there).

Anyway, that was my pointless and uninteresting trip down memory lane.

Now back to replying to other year-old posts.

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