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Apparently one screen is now showing films under the name Marchesa in conjunction with the Austin Film Society. Here is their website: http://themarchesa.com/
I drove by last night and it has in fact been demolished, and a business park erected on the site.
I had a room mate in the 90’s who had a friend that worked at the Varsity in 1966. On 1 August 1966 he went to make the theater’s bank deposit and when he tried to come back the police had the area around the UT Tower blocked off (including the theater) because Whitman was shooting from the tower. Hours later he finally made it back to the Varsity and it was shot up pretty bad, including the ticket booth that he worked in. The mural on the side had bullet holes in it until the last time it was restored a couple of years ago.
I saw Popeye and Dragonslayer as a double feature there in the mid 1980’s for $1, strange mix. I heard later that the State had been turned into a Heavy Metal club and that made me sad because I assumed that meant that it would be trashed so badly that there would never be movies there again. I was very happy to discover that she is a movie house again and I will catch a film there soon!
I went there to see Terminator 2 just for the experience. The sound was broadcast with a weak FM signal that we could just pick up in the car, and I remember it was so cold out that we had to run the engine for heat a couple of times. I went to the concession stand for a dog and Coke and was a bit disappointed when the girl nuked it for me, but it was still cool. A couple pulled up a few slots over in an early 50’s shoebox Ford and when they got out to smoke a cigarette I noticed he was dressed like James Dean, ducktail and all and she was wearing a poodle skirt. I assumed they were an older couple reliving their youth, but when a car pulled in and swept them with their head lights I noticed the couple could not have been more than 25 years old! They looked like they stepped right out of Rebel Without a Cause. I am sure they were real but that is the sort of thing that might make a guy think he was seeing ghosts. A memorable night and the last Drive-In I attended
A good friend grew up there and remembered in the mid 1960’s the manager was a blind man who had a German Shepard with him all the time.
The last couple of years this theater was open they showed a lot of Bollywood films, the first in Austin to do so I think. When the Walgreens went in they completely demolished the theater and did not use any part of the old building.
The Commerce Park office/retail center is on the site of the former drive in. border streets are: North Lamar, Koenig, Guadalupe and Nelray.
I saw “Sleepwalkers” there for a dollar in 1992-1993 so it was open at least that long. I remember the very high ceilings with ceiling fans, and sticky carpet…
I waited with my parents in a line around the building to see the Empire Strikes Back on opening night! That theater holds some fond memories for me, including seeing “The treasure of the Four Crowns”, my first movie in 3D.
I used to work across the street at Holland Photo in the early 1990’s and shopped in the Piggly Wiggly grocery store that was where the Alamo is now.
This theater was originally called the “Village” and was built in the late 70’s or early 80’s to anchor the new Village shopping center. I saw many a movie in the Village as a kid and teen (though I can not come up with any examples at the moment). Thanks to Alamo for keeping her alive!