25th Street Theatre

1006 N. 25th Street,
Waco, TX 76707

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Showing 126 - 150 of 151 comments

chrispy
chrispy on June 20, 2004 at 1:40 pm

The last owner of the 25th Street Theatre in Waco was Little Richard…one of the kindest men I have ever known. I think many folks' comments here are really a tribute to Richard Olson, not to a simple brick and mortar structure. [Jake, Rob-Bob, good to know you two are still alive. (hee-hee)] I don’t know how the 25th Street Theatre can realistically be brought back to life. It would require someone with the dedication, experience and money such as our mousie once had. I completely agree with the historical value placed on this structure, but it would require some serious capital investment to restore this building to even safe occupancy levels – much less into a show-place. I would personally dedicate time and effort to such a project, but I think a more fitting project would be some sort of tribute to Richard, not trying to re-create a party place in the middle of a gang-war…ask Ray Talley what he thinks…is he still around? I miss all my friends (and a few of the enemies, too) from those days. Maybe we can collect our stories about that time and write a fitting tribute to the man who brought all of us together? We can never re-create those glory days, but we can help others better understand a man who was terribly mis-understood, even after his death. Richard Carl Olson was buried in a grave near my grand-parent’s in a cemetery in Houston. I attended his funeral along with Ken and Kris and some of Richard’s family. Believe me, they had no idea what a kind soul and heart Richard had. Instead of trying to find another party room, let’s pay tribute to one of my personal heroes: Richard Carl Olson.

Chris P. heydj23-outerlimits at yahoo dot com

p.s. Hi Jake! Hi Rob-Bob!…. stop that wallerin'!! (just kidding)
p.p.s. I’m looking for the few photos of the 25th Street I do have. You remember the scketch mousie had made of the mural? I wonder where that is??!!

JV2k4
JV2k4 on April 30, 2004 at 12:10 am

SOMETHING MAJOR IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN, AND IT ISNT DEMOLITION…..I WILL KEEP EVERYONE POSTED AS EVENTS UNFOLD.

JV2k4
JV2k4 on April 16, 2004 at 12:47 am

NEW WEBSITE DEDICATED TO THE PRESERVATION OF THIS THEATRE

http://25thstreettheatrewaco.org/

JV2k4
JV2k4 on April 4, 2004 at 10:01 pm

Mr. Miller, I am deeply touched by your comment. Please contact me ASAP, I need someone like you that has as much love and appreciation for this as me to join my team and get something done.
or

lsmft35
lsmft35 on April 2, 2004 at 12:06 am

You know, those of us who are old enough to have been hanging out at the theater in its glory days are old enough to realize the building’s historical significance. I know that there are those folks out there who might think that this is a silly “cause” or a futile effort, but those folks just don’t understand what it meant to grow up with that theater. I can’t even remember how many movies I saw there as a child. My Mom remarked the other day about how she and Dad used to take me there when I was a baby and sit in the soundproof room for parents with children. To grow up with that majestic building…and then be able to enjoy it after it became the best damned club that this town has ever seen (or is likely to EVER see) was like a gift. Those who have memories of this place (in whatever form) should realize its significance to the community, no matter what neighborhood it’s in. I agree with Jake that downtown Waco was a MESS before the city got off its high horse to do
something about it. I know that all of the historical homes in this city are important, but does the Historical Waco Foundation REALLY have to spend all of its time and effort on those? Does the City REALLY need to build another park or add another mile to the Riverwalk? I remember when this place was open as a club how people from Dallas and Austin used to come HERE to go dancing. The City keeps saying how it wants to attract more tourism…how about helping to bring this place back to its former glory…as a theater, museum or whatever?

JV2k4
JV2k4 on March 31, 2004 at 11:10 pm

what is your email info edward and i’ll send you Mr. Olsen’s address.
I will be writing a letter to him myself in an effort to get him to either sell it or Donate it, possibly to myself, then start a fund-raiser to at least get it back up to code, then go from there.
My intentions for it would be for private functions, plays, pageants, reunions, etc, then possibly branching out in other areas.
Everyone I have told my ideas to think it would work but there is only one problem…….The Buildings ownership.

edward
edward on March 31, 2004 at 1:40 pm

Jake, the building definitely seems worth preserving. The sign is great and worth relighting in itself. (even if the building is used for an alternate purpose) Mr. Olsen needs to be convinced of the importance of preserving this building. It is often difficult to convince people that post-war theatres are equally as important as early examples.

JV2k4
JV2k4 on March 30, 2004 at 5:15 pm

hey trina … remember downtown was a dump before they restored the HIPPODROME.
i have started a webpage devoted to it, heres the link
http://hometown.aol.com/savethe25th/index.html

ksamford
ksamford on March 30, 2004 at 2:29 pm

Hey Rob Bob…it’s Trina! How have you been sweetie? I ran into Jake and he wants to organize something to save the old theater. It has had a red sticker on it for some time now. With the neighborhood it is located I really don’t think the ladies who lunch will be very interested in this project. But who knows…it is always worth a try.

tribecafilm
tribecafilm on March 29, 2004 at 11:05 am

Hopefully there is still time to save this.

JV2k4
JV2k4 on March 27, 2004 at 9:08 pm

Here is updated information on what I first posted.
The 25th Street Theatre opened in November of 1945, the first movie to be played was “Thrill of a Romance”, with Van Johnson & Esther Williams. Admission was 40 cents on Friday and Saturday Nights,30 cents for weekday matinees and 12 cents for children all the time.
Interstate Theatres built and operated it.
It contained 780 seats but after 2 screen enlargements dropped the number down to 646, not the 900 that I originaly posted, that was the occupancy rating when it was a club.
When she opened in 45, she was considered the “NEWEST AND MOST MODERN OF ITS KIND”, complete with aircondtioning & state of the art sound equipment.
The Charioteers Mural that adore the Theatre walls were designed by Eugene Gilbo.
Some of the movies that played there include, STAR WARS, GONE WITH THE WIND (rereleased in the 60s), OLD YELLER (which held Waco attendance records for many years and still might), and BAMBI (the LAST film played there when it closed as a theatre in July 1982).
I am trying to compile as much Historical data on this building and then present it to the City Of Waco and try to get it designated as a Landmark, in an effort to stop demoltion.
my email is

ksamford
ksamford on March 27, 2004 at 7:33 pm

I have some pictures of Keith and Thurman.

rej25th
rej25th on March 27, 2004 at 7:16 pm

kelly, you said you had pics of people from the club. do you happen to have any of me, or of richard – michael – keith – christopher – thurman – matt – horry – etc.?

rej25th
rej25th on March 27, 2004 at 7:13 pm

i have forwarded a couple of pics to jake and he has posted them on this website under news. just type 25th street theatre in the box – check news – and select search, and you will be taken to the site with the pics. one of the pics is 25th at night with my car, little richard’s car, and big richard’s car in front. in the pic, the green outline neon on the sign is not on, just the pink letter neon. but the orange racing neon on the front of the building is on. that is my favorite neon on the club. it was very art-deco. we could turn on certain parts of the marque or all of it, depending on our mood! do i know kelly samford? if you went to 25th, you certainly have to know me!

ksamford
ksamford on March 27, 2004 at 1:45 pm

Edward, the pictures I have include people that used to go to the club. Were you considered a regular at 25th St?

edward
edward on March 27, 2004 at 11:39 am

Michael, you should take your bad attitude, your repeatedly dumb symphony hall comments and step in front of the next moving vehicle.

As to photos of this theatre, can someone post them online and add a link here?

ksamford
ksamford on March 27, 2004 at 11:02 am

Hi Jake! I have some old pictures of 25th St but none show any of the architecture inside. I’ll be e-mailing them to you shortly. If you or Rob-Bob have a picture of the 25th St marque you should really post it on this website. It looks so bare without it.

JV2k4
JV2k4 on March 6, 2004 at 9:51 am

my new email is

rej25th
rej25th on March 4, 2004 at 11:43 pm

girl, michael just hasn’t consumed enough ecstasy during his lifetime and is in a bad mood. apparently, he just was not part of the “in-crowd” and is a little horsey-torsey! oh, mr. ed! a note to michael: you should do a little history project and determine the value that this theatre has provided to the city of waco. i am sure you would have the same tired attitude had you seen the mighty hippodrome before it was brought back to her glory. now, go take some ecstasy, and call somebody who cares in the morning!

JV2k4
JV2k4 on March 4, 2004 at 1:44 pm

nice attitude man, are you taking anger management?

JV2k4
JV2k4 on March 1, 2004 at 7:02 pm

Yes I do remember you.
I think it can be saved……I have the city inspectors reports and to me it seems like that its able to be better than before. Most of the violations were electrical, and a small part of the roof has caved in over one of the rooms next to the projection room, air conditioning system is shot, rats and roaches everywhere, and the carpet and mural have severe water damage and are moldy, also the windows in the box office and front doors are gone and have been boarded up.
Have your mom email me at
thanks for replying

creigm
creigm on March 1, 2004 at 6:25 pm

Jake, you probably don’t remember me – I’m a friend of Rob-Bob’s from the OL – Tallulah’s days. Didn’t hang much at 25th, as I was living in Dallas (mostly lived at Starck!), but hit it a few times. I just got this site address from him. Is there ANY chance 25th can be saved? I’m in Tucson, but my parents are still in Waco, and my mom loves civic projects. Is it realistic, or is it time to let the old girl die?

Creig Miller

JV2k4
JV2k4 on March 1, 2004 at 1:33 pm

He owns the property on the southside of the Theatre, that housed the Mikes Print Shop & 25th St. Beauty Salon, and also the parking area behind the theatre, but from what I read, the records didnt state the property on the north was owned by him.

JV2k4
JV2k4 on March 1, 2004 at 1:54 am

I recently went to the Waco city hall and did an open records request concerning this building. It has been RED TAGGED and is now slated for demolition, although no definite date was provided, so maybe there is still time to save it. I viewed pictures the city inspector took and the place is a disaster, amazing enough the mural of the Chariots on the south wall is still intact, but bady water damaged.
The current owner Mr. C.E. Olsen Jr. of Las Vegas NV has kept up taxes on the property but that is it, which makes no sense. Why pay taxes on a building you are letting deteriorate? Sell it, or donate it.
Here is the Bldg. Inspctors Comments word for word dated 3/8/01……..
THIS IS A HISTORICAL BUILDING AND SHOULD BE PRESERVED AS A LANDMARK. REAL POOR CONDITION. ROOF HAS SEVERAL WATER LEAKS. ALL AC DUCTS ARE ROTTED AND HAVE STARTED FALLING DOWN. WALL COVERING FALLING FROM SEVERAL WALLS. LARGE MARQUEE (NEON VERTICAL SIGN) HAS LARGE CRACKS AND IS IN DANGER OF COLLAPSING. NEEDS AN ENGINEER TO LOOK AT THE ENTIRE STRUCTURE.

I will be calling the Historic Waco Foundation to see if there is a way to get the building granted landmark status and somehow stop the demolition before its too late.

rej25th
rej25th on December 27, 2003 at 9:38 pm

The 25th Street Theatre in Waco, Texas, was built around 1946 by Interstate Theatres, a chain with headquarters in Dallas. I don’t know the name of the architect, but whoever he was he designed a number of houses for the chain, including the Inwood, Wilshire, Esquire, Forest, and Circle in Dallas, Texas which were built at about the same period as the 25th Street Theatre. In fact, the Wilshire and Circle were built on the same blueprint design as the 25th Street Theatre, except the Wilshire and Circle had balconys. The Arcadia is an old house, built in 1926, (not by Interstate), for vaudeville and silent pictures. It had a theater organ and the loft that held the pipes on each side of the proscenium can still be seen, although empty. The organ was donated by the owner to Baylor University in 1935. It was modified and installed in Waco Hall on the Baylor campus. Little Richard and I used to sneak in and play it. The Arcadia was leased and operated by Interstate in the ‘30s until they opened the Lakewood, when the operation of the Arcadia reverted back to it owner. The Wilshire continued to operate profitably until the value of its land became so high that it was steel balled and a shopping center was built on the site. This happened about 1978. It was a luxury house with an animated neon facade that has never been duplicated that I know of. I wish I had a picture of it. After the money grubbers got through destroying the beautiful things, the only theatres, mentioned above, left standing are the Inwood, (still a first run art house), the Circle, (a bingo parlor), and the Forest, (now a black theatre that operates off and on and is in a bad neighborhood).