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New lessor will attempt to turn it into a House of Blues-style venue.
I have no memory of this theater when I was a kid. I just Google mapped it, and see a strip center. I wonder if the shell is part of any of the buildings?
Well, seeing that one of the opening films was “Jenny” with Marlo Thomas, I looked it up, and watched it on YouTube. Not terribly significant, but very much of its time period. It was produced by ABC, and “That Girl” was on the network at the time. Not a coincidence, I’m sure.
OK, I was off by several blocks. I would have sworn that Sears was next door, but I’m obviously wrong.
OK, please explain. How long has this place actually been around? I’m sure that I saw films there in the early 80s.
Where is it in the above photograph?
Yes, I went to those three, often, during that time. However, I was a pretty observant kid, and I’m just surprised that I never noticed the building back then. I think that the old S&H Green Stamps store was just up the block, and we frequented that spot often. In the 80s, I lived a few blocks away, and it was definitely gone. I did watch them tear down the Coral – very sad.
OK, the postcard above, was photographed at Ponce & Minorca, looking south. It’s easy to check via Google Streetview. So, yes, the theater was gone by the time I returned to Miami in 1982. Diagonally across the street, is the Hotel St. Michel (don’t know what it was back in the 30s), where I shot a student film in the early 80s. I would have remembered the old Gables sitting there. Occupying the spot now, is Wachovia – formerly whatever. I guess that the building was constructed right after they tore down the theater in 1981? Strange thing is, that as a kid in Miami from ‘67 – '74, I never attended a movie there.
IMDb says January 1979, was the release date.
No, the theater will never be demolished. San Antonio has a strict preservation mentality (for the most part). It’s only a matter of time until it’s sold, and put to use. As mentioned in my previous posts, I agree that the past few attempts at programming have been idiotic. It is currently owned by Drury Inns – a most unfortunate situation.
Didn’t realize that they’d already converted the balcony to twin theaters that soon! Of course, it’s back to a single (empty) theater now – the restoration, however, removed a large percentage of the orchestra seats…
OK, a portion of the original theater is now the Area Stage Company – Google for the web site. What confuses me, is what part of the original theater do they actually occupy? On the Google Street Map, it is clear that there are now windows on the top section of the old auditorium. Perhaps they lowered the ceiling, and created offices at the top? The Area Stage web site shows a large auditorium, but it seats only 275, but with a large “stage.” I’m guessing that it might be the old balcony, but extended. When I attended films there in the mid-80s, as a UM student – they had separated the balcony into two (?) other theaters. Does anybody know?
I walked by The Aztec last week, and they still had the musical country show poster in the window, but there was no sign of life. Everyone in the tourist industry knew that the special effects/IMAX-ish set-up wouldn’t work after restoration, and neither would the country show that followed. A Mexican musical show, minus gimmicks, MIGHT work for a while. Or, a venue for comedians…….The Majestic Theater books a lot of big-name comedians, but it seats more people, as The Aztec lost half (?) of its seating during the restoration. I was surprised to read that it originally had 3,000 seats – seems a lot smaller than The Majestic, even back then.
Actually, “gimmicks” sometimes work with the type of tourist who comes to SA – just not what anybody has tried. Ripley’s has enough of that stuff downtown, anyway. It would take Disney or Universal to pull it off successfully….
East TN was a “petrie dish” for urban renewal in the 70s. Just about EVERY small town was destroyed by the “experiment” – massive loss of significant architecture. Very sad.
I guess catching people is fun.
WOW, Ed, we’ve had some of the same experiences. Saw “Bedknobs” there, as well. 49 here.
“Chitty” was in 1968 – it didn’t open the theater. Ads say “A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum.”
This site lists the Aztec as “showing movies”. It must not be a regular occurrence, as their web site makes no reference to films, of any type. The silent “Phantom” film showing, indicated in the photo above, must have been a one-shot deal. I think that the only way that the Aztec can actually make money, is to exhibit special films on a regular basis, and NOT “silent” pictures. San Antonio allowed Ripley’s to take over Alamo Plaza with a variety of questionable “venues”, and the last thing that the adjacent River Walk needs, is another gimmicky showcase. The nearby restored Majestic and Empire Theaters, are controlled by a single entity, and supported by the non-profit Las Casas Foundation. They host travelling shows, and various entertainment groups. The restored Aztec has never found “the proper footing,” and was initially promoted by the nearby flagship Drury Hotel property on the River Walk – for a while, anyway.
Actually, it was not completely restored to its former glory – in the theater section, quite a few liberties were taken, to shoe-horn in that ridiculous special-effects theater concept, and then the pseudo-Opryland thing that followed.
OK, that was odd. Anyway, as I started to finish with, the Powers That Be in the city government recently hired some expensive company to tell them to RAISE the already high parking fees for city garages. SA isn’t LA or NYC – locals are NOT going to sponsor downtown venues and restaurants, if they are forced to pay ridiculous fees. These fees hurt venues like The Aztec (in addition to the ill-advised shows themselves).
I’m “thrilled” to have to type this again. Other sites do have the capability of maintaining a typed post, even if the poster has been unknowingly signed off. Fix that. ANYWAY, this new show is not selling well, on a consistent basis. Its months are numbered, and I’ll be curious to see what the inevitable third utilization of this restored theater will be. In SA, it is always a mistake to base the concept of a venue on the tourist trade – they come here for the Alamo and River Walk, period. The locals do not care about this show. Like the Majestic, Empire, and soon Alameda, reveal, restored theaters work best when catering to the local community. Un UnUn UUUnUnUnfortunaUnfortunately, some
In Austin, the Americana (1965) was pretty awesome – now a library. But the interior is gone. Nicely converted, though.
I’m assuming that the great details of the lobby are long gone – the tile work, etc. It was the most beautiful theater of the 60s, that I can remember. We’re lucky, in San Antonio, to have the older restored theaters (MAJESTIC, EMPIRE, AZTEC), but none of the 60s theaters survived. But we had NOTHING like this one (that I know, since I grew up in Miami, as a kid).
Better view than the mapping that I mentioned in March of 2009 – Google, at the time, only had a street view, I think.
I spoke with my friend who attended “The Empire Strikes Back” premiere back in May of 1980, at the Paramount, and he agrees that it was a single screen at that time. Also, there WAS some 60s uniqueness to its design, and it had a great sign.