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The Lindsey family originally owned the Palace, the Lindsey, and others (including the State). When they remodeled the Palace and renamed it the Clifton, they were naming it after their son Clifton Lindsey! Interestingly, (to me anyway), their tombstones in the City of Lubbock Cemetery have their names written in cursive, their signatures! (Clifton and his parents)
In the late 1950s this theater was only open on weekends (maybe just Saturday, I’m not sure). This was Kid Heaven on a Saturday afternoon! There were double features and cartoons, and the place was just full of kids like me. I remember seeing Tarzan movies there and even “Johnny Tremain.” I still smile when I think of this theater!
I have a color postcard of the Winchester from when it first opened in 1966 with “Doctor Zhivago” on the marquee. It was given to me by my projectionist friend (mentioned in a posting here at the Cinema West) who was once a projectionist at most Lubbock theaters in the 1960s at one time or another. He sent me the postcard from Los Angeles where he was still working part-time at the Egyptian and Chinese, among others. Sadly, he’s now deceased. I don’t know how to post a scan of this postcard.
A t-shirt company is at the Village location now. I bought some custom-made shirts there around 2002 and got to see the old auditorium. I was amazed at how small it was—I remembered it as so much bigger. But it had seats and a screen then, too. It was once a first-run theater showing roadshow films like “South Pacific,” “My Fair Lady” (for almost a year), and I think it even had “The Sound of Music” for an eternity! That tiny parking lot was NO fun though!
P.E. Smith, who owned the Trail, the Sunset, and the Tech Theater (there were probably more in the Smith Theaters chain), was later the governor of Texas—Preston Smith. He got his start as a Tech student in the 1930s working for local theaters.
In the 1950s the Tower was a second-run theater, often showing double features. If you missed a movie at the Lindsey, State, Arnett-Benson, or the Village after usually only a one-week run, you could catch it at the Tower, and at reduced prices, too. Fifteen cents if you were under 12, which I was!
PS After it closed, the Tech was remodeled into Snell Drugs which lasted for a long time. If you look at the building today, you can still tell it was a little theater from the metal supports across the top of the building.
Actually the Tech was open later than 1955. I went there (the only time) in 1957 or 1958 to a double feature of war movies. I never went back because it had the worst entrance of any theater in town. It was hard to get inside because of the poorly constructed door. And it was a TINY and cramped theater, too.
The Midway was a favorite with the Tech student crowd in the 1940s, according to my mother anyway. It was ‘midway’ between Tech and downtown. Beginning in the 1950s it changed names quite a few times—the Centre Theatre, the Gay Nineties, the Tejas, and finally the Varsity. I may have even missed a few names. When I was in college in the 60s, the theater had a deal with Tech to show foreign film festivals (like Ingmar Bergman films) and other ‘art’ and historical films to supplement some of the classes at Tech.
The Lyric was THE movie showplace in the mid-1920s. The Texas Tech yearbook for 1926 says that when Tech played its first football game in the fall of 1925, the students were so excited after a game that they stormed the Lyric doing a snake dance in the aisles around the auditorium, just to celebrate a TIE game! I read someplace that the Lyric had the very first neon sign in town.
I grew up in Lubbock in the 1950s and 1960s and never heard of this theater. Either they ran no ads in the local paper, or it was open much earlier than the dates indicated.
Someone referred to the Lubbock newspaper article about the old theaters in Lubbock. Unfortunately, there seem to be several errors in the story. I don’t think the research was as careful as it should have been. It’s sad that mistakes got printed in that story.
The comment above made me laugh! I was at the ‘Horseshoe’ when “Horrors of the Black Museum” played there, but I don’t remember the second feature. And like Buddybear53 above, I lived at a house (same block but one street north of Buddybear) so close to the drive-in that you could hear the garbled sound of the movies and the impatient honking of horns when the film broke! But it was great fun to go to the movies there. Sometimes when I was in college, my friends and I would drive two cars and park on both sides of the drive-in. When the features were over on one side, we’d get out and go to the other side and watch the repeat of the first movie on that side. Three movies were just great!
The only movie I ever saw there was the 1967 “The Taming of the Shrew” with Taylor/Burton. It was an ‘okay’ drive-in, but because it was on the far northeast side of town, it took forever to get there! That was before the Loop was finished.
The Clifton had the coolest art deco you ever saw, and the seats slid forward, like a recliner! I never saw seats like that again after the Clifton closed.
I, too, have fond memories of the Cinema West. The first movie I saw there at Christmas 1967 was “The Happiest Millionaire,” and the theater actually had uniformed ushers in red coats! I was there for the last time when it had its final feature, “Titanic.” A good friend of mine was a projectionist there, and he used to bring in a bunch of us “after hours” to show us films when the place was supposed to be closed! He took a tape recorder up to the booth and hooked it up so he could make recordings of the music from “Camelot” when it played there. Those were the days!
The Chief and the Arcadia were actually two separate side-by-side small theaters on Ave. H. They were both open at the same time, and in later years they showed primarily Spanish-language films. The Arcadia is listed as open as late as 1967 in a Lubbock telephone directory.
The Broadway was converted to two department stores after it closed—Skibell’s of Lubbock and S & Q Clothiers, both upscale stores that were open for many years. They’re gone now, however, but the building remains.
Yes. I think that the Backstage became the Chapparal, and I had completely forgotten that. The “twin” theaters were really tiny.
The miniature golf course was nestled behind the shopping center, west of College Avenue. I don’t know when it closed, but I used to play the course in the 1970s. There were two larger courses in southwest Lubbock, but I can’t remember the names of both. One was the Putt Putt which is still on 29th Drive and the former Brownfield highway (now Marsha Sharp Freeway). The other one was a double course, and I just don’t remember the address. It was very popular. In the 1980s there was another small course south of Briarcroft Savings and Loan on Avenue Q south of 50th Street. I can’t remember the name of it, either, but it was a fun course.
Any by the way, the Westerner drive-in became the Fine Arts which showed X-rated films!
There were 3 theaters in a row—the Chief, the Arcadia, and El Capitan. Around the corner on Broadway was the Plains Theater which billed itself as the biggest little theater in town! The Village, of course, was left off the list of Lubbock theaters and so was the Chaparral Twin which was in Town and Country shopping center near the miniature golf course.
The Palace became the Clifton in later years. The Midway lived several lives under names like the Centre Theater, the Gay 90s, El Tejas, and lastly the Varsity, which was kind of an arts theater that often showed films requested by Tech professors for their speech and drama classes. There may have been other names for this theater that I’ve forgotten. Interestingly, the Broadway became Skibells, an upscale clothing store that lasted for MANY years!