Showing 1 - 25 of 29 comments
Hello Mr Brown, I wish to Thank You for posting your information about Tom Smith and his Autoscope. I have a very dear friend who now lives in Waco Texas but grew up in Buffalo and Urbana on the family ranch off of 65 a stones throw away from the Autoscope. My friend O.K. Kelso first met Tom in front of the Dallas theater in Urbana at the young age of 14 as O.K. was very curious about the business and wanted to learn. Tom and O.K. quickly became very good friends along with Bob and Virgina while becoming a fantastic projectionist and technician working with Tom and Bob on many theater projects with the Autoscopes being a couple of them. He tells many a story about working with Tom helping him align the many mirrors in the mirror room of the booth and maintaining and aligning the screens. O.K. moved to Waco Texas 50 yrs ago today to continue his projectionist career which Tom and Bob had so graciously taught him. The move to Waco came during the time frame Tom was building the 2nd larger Autoscope of which O.K. custom built the amplifier system for Tom at his request. After O.K. left for Waco his communication with the Tom & Bob became somewhat distant however remained friends until Tom died of stomach cancer in 1965.
If you have any information on where Tom or Bob is buried he would greatly appreciate knowing. Also any additional pictures would be fantastic!
Way to go ALAMO!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks for the post Ross!
We built this basic site to remember the TEXAN. Hope you enjoy the images.
“Rango” was the last 35mm showing at the Cliftex as they have just installed a digital system just in time for Easter and the showing of “HOP”
Check them out on Face Book!
Just for eveyones information, the city of Waco has requested that the buildings on Grim street down the side of 25th theater be demolished due too structural failures in the roof. The demolition should start in the next month or so. It should be noted that the buildings schedualed for demolition were built several years after the theater and are seperate structures and most recently housed a law firm, beauty shop and print shop. The theater itself just passed a structural inspection which the city of Waco also requested, a true testiment to it’s buliders!
Hey 25th Light Fan. The 25th was stripped of all of its lighting gear many years back along with any and all electronic equipment as well as its 70mm film projection and sound equipment. The structure is basically empty with only asbestos and mold remaining. Due to a very poor roof dating back to the club days it has suffered extensive water damage. Plans are still underway to save her and bring her back. Hope this helps!
Here is a site.
The Cliftex Theatre just reopened after closing in September for a complete restoration and renovation which lasted about 3 months.
Read more here:
Also the official website above has many photos of various phases of the restoration process!
No need to apologies as you are well within your rights to post what you did, as you are correct in the fact that there is a “for sale” section on this site.
I am also under the impression that the moderators of this site also revue all main page listings before they publish them on their site. So if they had any problems with your information they would have not have published it.
The 2 CT members above need to understand that there are preservationist(such as myself)that use this site to gain all sorts of invaluable information on all aspects of old and new theaters. Just last week I drove 2,600 miles round trip to Jackson Michigan and back to purchase and pickup 2 cinemacanica Victoria X’s 35 /70 mm projectors for the 25th Street Theater in Waco Texas as I am the head of that non profit restoration group who has been searching 5+ years for that historically correct equipment. Would you care to guess where I saw the add? You Bet, right here on CT!!!!! In addition to the 25th project I also own the 1912 TEXAS theatre in Mcgregor Texas and in the process of slowly restoring that 500 seat venue to reopen as family owned movie house.
Thanks CT for all you do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Found this home video clip of the Bill Horton projectionist at the Roseland since the 1950’s still striking the carbons and running a change over booth.
Lost Memory, Very Helpful Thank YOU!!!
Hi Lost Memory I was curious as to your source of information in regards to the Barton organ. Also to Jake Vanek this theatre building is in fact still standing it has just been absorbed by the Bank that has been next door for many many years. The exact address listed in 1946 is 518 Austin Avenue. BTW Lost Memory THANK YOU for all of informative postings on CT.
Old Clifton theater keeps vintage Hollywood alive
Sunday, November 25, 2007
By Ken Sury
Tribune-Herald community editor
CLIFTON â€" Dennis Burris stretches out a strip of film from a movie reel.
â€œThis came from the old Hico Theatre,â€ he says. â€œI donâ€\t know whatâ€\s on it. It might be some famous country western star from the 1930s.â€
That film probably wonâ€\t be among the movies to be shown at the CLIFTEX, but itâ€\s indicative of a new business strategy for the 91-year-old theater, which is experiencing a renaissance by revisiting the past.
In October the theater, which lays claim to being the oldest continually operating movie theater in Texas, showed the John Wayne classic western Red River. The CLIFTEX has begun regularly screening classic movies on an alternating basis with current-run films. Classics shown since Red River include Casablanca, Paper Moon and A Fistful of Dollars.
Burris recalls the reaction of theater-goers after showing one of those old films at the CLIFTEX.
â€œThey stood up and applauded the blank screen,â€ he says. â€œI had people tell me how it brought them back to their childhood.â€
Juxtaposing new and old
Last week the CLIFTEX showed a new release, Billy Bob Thorntonâ€\s Mr. Woodcock. At 7 tonight a Ma and Pa Kettle movie from 1949 ends its four-day run.
CLIFTEX owner W. Leon Smith, who also owns The Clifton Record newspaper next door and is the cityâ€\s mayor, says the theater had shown the occasional classic film such as The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. But now the theater hopes to find an audience that will make offering older movies a viable business enterprise, he says.
â€œIâ€\m an old movie buff,â€ says Smith, 54. â€œWhen seen on the big movie screen the way theyâ€\re intended to be, thatâ€\s special.â€
Many people have watched movies like Casablanca on TV, he says, but the movie screen provides nuances and tidbits to viewers that may otherwise go unnoticed.
Alfred Hitchcockâ€\s thriller Rear Window would be great on the CLIFTEX screen, Smith says.
But getting those old films to Clifton from the movie vaults in Burbank, Calif., doesnâ€\t come without a hefty price tag, he says. Besides the movie rights, freight for shipping those reels of film runs about three times the amount for a current feature. Burris figures that higher price in part includes extra for insurance.
He gushes about the Ma and Pa Kettle reels. Although the movie was originally filmed on nitrate, the CLIFTEX received an acetate version made from the master.
â€œItâ€\s a brand-new print,â€ Burris says.
Since Smith bought the CLIFTEX from Scott and Luann Sandahl in 2000, the theater has undergone improvements such as new air conditioning and heating. Its exterior is made of limestone, which Burris says will easily outlast him. Last year, a large section of seats in the middle section were replaced. In a nod to modernity, those now have cupholders.
The theater seats 199. It would have more than 200 if not for pulling out some seats to provide a place for patrons in wheelchairs.
Burris, 62, has infused the historic theater with new ideas since being hired by Smith in July to manage it.
He hired a teenager to dress like Spider-Man and walk outside the theater to promote Spider-Man 3 when it was shown last summer. Hot dogs and nachos have been added to the reasonably priced theater menu in the almost-claustrophobic lobby.
Tickets cost just $2 and are free to those 2 and younger. With gas prices what they are, Smith says he wants families to feel they can afford a night out at the movies. The businessman in him, however, has him re-examining the ticket price.
The lure of history
The CLIFTEXâ€\s history was the big draw for Burris, a film aficionado and longtime theater manager who even appeared on screen in the 1997 TV movie Rough Riders with Tom Berenger.
â€œThe first moment I saw it, I loved it,â€ he says of the theater.
Notorious outlaws Bonnie and Clyde were patrons of the CLIFTEX, Burris says.
â€œNow I donâ€\t know how many times they came, but Bonnie loved movies and they used to have a camp just outside Clifton,â€ he says.
Burris, whose first job was as a projectionist at a drive-in in Palestine when he was 14 or 15, can talk at length about the 35-millimeter reels, the expensive bulbs, the sound poles and the 1930s Art Deco sidelights of the CLIFTEX. The two Century projectors from the 1930s in the projection booth have been refurbished some, but they still work and are used at every showing.
Theater-goers will find Burris in that small projection room, which he notes is completely surrounded by metal. It was a way to help keep fires from spreading through the theater, a huge concern in those days when projector bulbs could easily burst into flame.
When Burris isnâ€\t at the theater, heâ€\s running the Western Motel in Mart. But running the CLIFTEX is his joy.
â€œI wouldnâ€\t drive from Mart (every day) if I didnâ€\t love it,â€ he says.
Smith hopes this new initiative will prove successful and that the CLIFTEX can continue for years to come. Clifton had three theaters in the early 1900s. The CLIFTEX is all that remains.
â€œOnce you lose one,â€ he says, â€œyou never get it back.â€
The following statement is from a dear friend and very knowlegable Theatre organist and longtime Waco resident, Mr Jim Pitts.
Pilsher built the organ but it was NOT a theatre organ in the strict sense. The organ was not installed in chambers but sat divided on both sides of the proscenium, perched atop access foyers to the stage and dressing room area. It was later sold to First Methodist Church of Waco and was removed before a fire in the theatre destroyed much of the stage and screen. The organ survived the 1953 tornado which unroofed the church and sent the steeple crashing down on the console. Actually, poor installation saved the organ from water and storm damage as the shutters were installed horizontally and fell closed when the wind supply ceased. This fault sealed the organ from outside influence during the massive storm. It was resurrected in the new First Methodist Church and two additional ranks and a new console were added by Robert Markham. With the building of a much larger sanctuary later, the organ fell into disrepair and was replaced with a 33-rank Shantz ~ but it still lives and plays today. A small protestant church in south Texas bought it about three years ago and it has been rebuilt and enlarged. The old gal is still going, and on its original blower, too. Efforts to reclaim the organ for the Hippodrome were not successful as there was no possible means to install it in the theatre’s current configuration.
The Studio Proâ€™s Inc. www.thestudiopros.com is very proud to announce their purchase of 1912 TEXAS Theatre /theaters/9205/ on June 7th 2007 from the Smith family (original Owners) Over the next 12 to 18 months the TEXAS will be undergoing extensive ground up restorations allowing The Studio Proâ€™s to relocate their offices inside the building while also completely refurbishing all of the Theatreâ€™s live & 35mm capabilities and adding extensive array of newer media technologies to complement the old.
For more information and continual updates on the progress of restoration of the TEXAS Theatre please check the official web site www.texastalkies.com
Official Web Site
The official web site
Awesome job “3stooge” keep up the work. For about 4yrs now I’ve have been working on nearly Identical plans and dealing with nearly the same problems right down to the pigeons with the 1945 vintage 25th street theater here in Waco Texas as a 501c3 and also personaly just purchased the 1912 TEXAS theatre in Mcgregor Texas 15 mins west of Waco. In regards to a Theatre Organ I would encourage you to locate the nearest chapter http://www.atos.org/front-desk/chapters.html these folks are awesome and would love to help you locate and install an instrument. Again we are working on similar plans for both theatres here. Now in regards to projectors you might check out www.film-tech.com this site is run by projection guys. Hope this helps! Best of luck to you!
Marquee destroyed by storm 6-18-2006
Just found this web site from “Pro AV” talking about all the technical improvements that were done!
Very helpful information for somebody wanting to do this to their favorite theatre!
These are photos shot of Varsity Theater from 1996-1997 It was demolished for upscale shops in 1997
A few vintage airial shots of the theatre and some recent photos plus and old MOBILE Gas station with “Pegasus” Mobile OIL’s flying red horse. COOL!
Yet some more photos of this drive-in!
This drive in is now gone it was decimated by fire In November of 1998 and later torn down .Randy took these On 2/2/1999 and 2/7/1999 It was located at Kiest, Ledbetter and Duncanville roads
Some fantasic photos of this great drive-in during its final days!