Comments from Backseater

Showing 1 - 25 of 110 comments

Backseater commented about Fremont Theatre on Oct 13, 2019 at 8:07 pm

I saw several movies at the Fremont on various trips to downtown Las Vegas: “The Owl and the Pussycat” (Barbra Streisand and George Segal, 1970); “Sleeper” (Woody Allen and Diane Keaton, 1973); and “Galaxy of Terror” (Erin Moran, Robert Englund, Edward Albert, and Ray Walston, 1981). So it was open at least that late. After it was demolished I believe it was assimilated by the Fremont hotel-casino. Resistance was futile…. Cheers.

Backseater commented about Alabama Theatre on Jul 24, 2019 at 6:27 am

The details of the mezzanine, central dome, and projection booth are wrong.

Backseater commented about Tulia Drive-In on Dec 18, 2018 at 6:47 am

My grandparents lived in Tulia and we visited them from the 1950s up to the early 70s. I remember seeing Sandra Dee in “Tammy and the Doctor” at that drive-in, which would have been fall of 1963 or early 64; possibly at Christmas break since I was a Freshman in college then. It also had Peter Fonda and Adam West, but I didn’t remember them.

Later I remember driving by and seeing a sign on the theater saying “Closed—Royal Open.” The Royal was and is the last operating indoor theater in downtown Tulia, listed elsewhere on this site. That was probably around 1966.

Here’s a link to one of those topographic maps, this one from 1965:

I knew it was on the North side of Highway 86, but thought it was further West. Turns out it was much closer to town. Wikimapia shows some kind of commercial site, with a large building and a couple of parked tractor-trailers; Here’s the link, but you have to select “Bing Satellite” manually.

Backseater commented about Pioneer Drive-In on Jul 7, 2018 at 9:39 pm

I’ve driven through Cross Plains many times. Last trip, the lady curator at the Robert E. Howard House said the Pioneer was “East on Route 36,” but I never could find anything resembling a former drive-in on any of the map apps. Finally I saw a note somewhere that it was “…about seven miles East, halfway to Rising Star,” implying that it served both communities. There’s a small lot on the south side of 36 about 1 km East of the “Pioneer Cemetery” with curved ridges looking like a drive-in parking area. This also fits with another description I saw, “containing a trailer house and a few unidentified structures.” I think this is the most likely location.

Backseater commented about Jupiter Theatre on Sep 17, 2017 at 12:42 pm

I think this is where I saw the classic exploitation film “Trader Hornee” (the ‘e’s are silent) in 1971. It was produced by Birmingham native schlockmeister David F. Friedman, who also appears in a cameo in the film.

The location fits with what I remember, slightly South and East of the University Hospital complex. The theater was very small, with only two employees: a ticket-taker/concessionaire and a manager/projectionist. It may have been a recycled “Jerry Lewis Cinema” which was common at the time.

Backseater commented about Lyric Theater on Sep 17, 2017 at 8:49 am

The Birmingham Rewound website shows an ad for “Johnny Be Good” with Alan Freed and Chuck Berry showing at the Lyric in March 1960. That’s the last one I could find.

I missed that one, but I did go to the Lyric a few times as a kid. Saw “Earth Versus the Flying Saucers,” “The Werewolf,” “The Land Unknown,” and a few others in that cultural niche. I think the last one I saw there was a spin-off clone of “Jason and the Argonauts,” with a bunch of Italian body-builders but without the Ray Harryhausen animation, probably in 1959.

The Strand closed in late 1962. Rewound shows an article on the closing in December and an ad for “Tower of London” in November. I remember seeing that one, Vincent Price as Richard III in the last show at the Strand. I probably didn’t appreciate the full significance of it all at the time.

I was in Bham from summer 1954 to fall 1963, from age 9 to 18. The Strand was named the Newmar when I arrived and changed back to the Strand later. I don’t remember the Galax, the Royal, or the original Newmar/Capitol/Alcazar at all.

Backseater commented about Strand Theater on Sep 14, 2017 at 9:17 pm

I believe I may have seen the last film shown at the Strand—“Tower of London” starring Vincent Price. I was only 17, but definitely remember Vincent chewing the scenery.

Backseater commented about Westwood Theatre on Aug 11, 2017 at 7:07 pm

I used to bicycle past this theater in the early 1990s when I lived in Westlake. It had apparently been closed for some time. Here’s a link to a youTube video of the demolition: But it’s called the “Hilliard Theater” in the video. RIP.

Backseater commented about Studio Theater on Feb 18, 2017 at 7:15 am

It opened 9 January 2017. Looks like a nice place.

Backseater commented about Texas Theater on Feb 15, 2017 at 3:22 pm

I was in Ballinger last Saturday night (11 Feb 2017) and was surprised to find the marquee all lit up. It was the first time I had ever seen that; and I’ve been walking and driving past it, sometimes at long intervals, since the early 1950s.

Apparently a local barbecue chef/entrepreneur has reopened it for lunch and dinner during the week and with country & western music on weekends. I went back on Sunday. It was closed, but the operator was there and was kind enough to give us a short tour of the place, the first time I had ever been in the building.

It’s very narrow inside, the same width as the front, and they’ve put in tables in place of the theater seats. The walls are the original natural local limestone masonry and the stage is quite large. The new screen goes up and down electrically, but I don’t know what they do about projection—probably digital. The balcony has been turned into a VIP lounge area, and the projection booth has been replaced by restrooms along a hallway right behind the upper front windows.

I took some pictures and will post them when I get a chance. Sorry I didn’t think to get any of the marquee and vertical illuminated. It was brilliant with lots of red and yellow.

Here’s a link to their website with copyright date 2017:

Another part of the same site. Some more photos, including a couple of interiors:

Some photos on Yelp:

Tripadvisor with a photo of the lit-up vertical; postings are from September 2016:

Backseater commented about Studio Theater on Dec 18, 2016 at 12:52 pm

Googling the Street Address 535 S. Highland brought up the following article from last May’s Memphis Business Journal:

The old Studio has been gutted and transformed (probably complete by now) into “The Bluff,” a Cajun restaurant and music hall. The post includes several pictures that brought back both fond and painful memories. They will still have a stage in the “Music Room”/auditorium, and the alley just outside the North exit door where I used to park my bike will become an outdoor patio.

I guess that’s progress, folks….

Backseater commented about Covina Twin Drive-In on Jun 1, 2016 at 5:59 am

The Vista Pointe apartment complex was later built on the site. I lived there From September 2001 to June 2003.

Backseater commented about Thunderbird Drive-In on May 14, 2016 at 10:09 am

Saw the original “Planet of the Apes” there in 1968. I was in USAF Navigator School at MAther AFB which was just down the road.

Backseater commented about Hillcrest Drive-In on Mar 31, 2016 at 7:38 pm

I definitely remember seeing “Night of the Lepus” and “Elvis on Tour” at the Hillcrest. Both were released in 1972 and I was in Korea until mid-November 72, so it was December 72 at the earliest or more likely early 73. So the Hillcrest was open at least until then.

“Lepus” was a sci-fi horror movie about giant rabbits terrorizing the countryside, with Rory Calhoun, Stuart Whitman, DeForest Kelley (Dr. McCoy from Star Trek) and Janet Leigh (!) The only giant rabbit movie I’m aware of. Obviously an underappreciated genre.

Backseater commented about Shell of the "old" Texas theater across the street. on Nov 26, 2015 at 8:11 pm

Across the street from the new Texas

Backseater commented about Studio Theater on Oct 30, 2015 at 8:39 pm

After going by the old Quartet this past Monday (26 Oct, details posted under the Quartet) I went down Highland and drove by the old Studio. The entrance is now boarded up with plywood: the theater entrance and box office are sealed off, but the two flanking storefront doors are not blocked.

Backseater commented about Malco's Quartet Cinema on Oct 28, 2015 at 2:41 pm

Visiting Memphis this past weekend, I went by the Quartet on Monday. The main entrance is now a sandwich shop and the auditorium exits on the South side of the building are now small storefronts.

Backseater commented about Temple Theatre on Oct 21, 2015 at 4:45 pm

We moved to Bham from Houston in the summer of 1954. I remember attending concerts (Birmingham Symphony??) and a road show of “Once upon a Mattress” with Imogene Coca at the Temple. Its movie days were long gone by that time but it was still in use.

Backseater commented about Starlite Drive-In on Oct 21, 2015 at 4:36 pm

Stan is right. I saw a revival of John Wayne’s “The Alamo” at the Starlite the night before I went into the AF: July 3, 1967, so it was open at least that late.

Backseater commented about The Strand in 1940 on Sep 18, 2011 at 4:52 pm

1940, starring Cedrick Harwicke & Vincent Price (IMDB).

Backseater commented about The last marquee of the Strand Theatre on Sep 18, 2011 at 4:48 pm

IMDB lists both these films as released in 1958.

Backseater commented about Princess Theater on May 18, 2007 at 6:55 pm

I heard that about the Malco cashier too, from Bill Kendall. Sorry I don’t have more details. I do know that when I came back to Mempho in 1972, the Malco/Orpheum had bulletproof glass installed in the box office.

Backseater commented about Malco's Quartet Cinema on Feb 4, 2007 at 10:07 am

The Quartet opened while I was in the AF, 1967-72. I went there pretty regularly while at SW for post-BS courses (make of that what you will…) 73-74 and later at MSU which was only a few blocks down Highland Street. The building also held a huge liquor store, a Mexican restaurant, a video arcade, some other small retail stores, and on the second level some offices. The theater had no marquee, just a few poster cases beside the doors.
I’d list some of the movies I saw there but that would be tedious. I do remember that when “Young Frankenstein” played in 1974 or 75, the auditorium was literally packed to the walls. Sorry to hear it’s closed.

Backseater commented about Whitehaven 2 on Feb 4, 2007 at 9:48 am

This was one of the local neighborhood shopping center theaters like the Balmoral (q.v.) that got built just in time to be done in by cable TV and VCR tapes. I first saw it in 1972, so it must have been built not long before then. Saw “The Harrad Experiment” there, which with considerable FFN both male and female was very daring for the time. Lloyd T. Binford must have rolled over in his grave.

Later I saw some similar shows there, for example something set in a swamp with Claudia Jennings and many alligators, but my impression was that the theater never caught on and was eventually closed and converted to other uses or else demolished. It was only a few blocks north of the much larger Southbrook multiplex, which may also have been a factor in its demise.

Backseater commented about Ridgeway Cinema Grill on Feb 4, 2007 at 9:39 am

I went there many times too, up until I left Memphis in 1983. Later when back on a visit took my wife, stepson, mother, AND mother-in-law to see Robert DeNiro in “Casino” there, thinking it would be a good movie about Las Vegas—then Joe Peschi started beating people with baseball bats, and I wanted to hide under the seat. Stepson seemed to enjoy it, though…

The mural behind the concession stand (mentioned above) was a collage of about 200 famous movie star portraits, everybody from Marilyn Monroe to the three stooges, and was a local talking point. Otherwise I agree with other reviewers that it was typical bland, uninspired Malco.