Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Movie Houses of Dallas - First in an Occasional Series

Dallas has several old movie houses that have been converted into something else, or are still used as cinemas. Since they are all decked out in neon, I thought they might make a good occasional series here at Ate Up Amateur. First up - the Casa Linda Theater.

I gathered lots of the information in this post on that link above - the Cinema Treasures website, as well as on Wikipedia.

The Casa Linda Theater was the second movie theater in the country opened in a shopping center like Casa Linda Plaza, in 1945. It is no longer open - it closed in 1999.

It had been changed from a one screen theater to 4 screens before it closed. There has been widespread speculation that it will reopen as a movie grill or something like that, but so far there has been no movement. So, it sits here, as you see it, with it's lights on and nothing inside.

Interesting in the comment posts on the Cinema Treasures website, the son of the architect, C. Sidney Milam, said he remembers going there as a kid and that his dad officed on the 2nd floor of the theater for a while. The entire shopping center was originally done in a spanish style, which still can be seen today.

Also of interest, the arch above the marquee is not lit up anymore, but in historic photos I find on the internet, this too was lit up, with the name of the owner - "McClennan 3 Theaters". I guess they took that down when they vacated.

Also in the comment section are listings of all sorts of interesting facts, like there used to be two "crying" rooms that were taken out when new air handlers were installed. And, several people lay out the economics of fixing the place up, stating it is fiscally impossible to save.

According to some of the factoids, this was one of the first theaters to offer patrons 100% digital sound. It also was said to have superb acoustics because it had no parallel walls.

You can tell it was a well loved part of this neighborhood, as there are numerous comments about how great it was. S grew up in this part of town and remembers going there when it was a four screen theater.

I just love how the neon lets off that glow. And, how the way it is used harkens back to an era before my time that seems simpler and somehow more perfect. It's nostalgic. Old. I love old.

So, I'll post some other movie houses of Dallas in the future. Watch this space.

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