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More memories of loews sharpstown. Saw a double feature of planet of the apes and the second film was fantastic voyage- two great 20th century fox films. It was in mid summer of 1968. During the humid nights of summer we went to the snack bar and puchased a couple of pic brand mosquito coils to keep the bugs away. Before the film the drive-in would show a bugs bunny and a pink panther cartoon then coming attractions of feature films. After the first film was over the flood lights that were on top of the screen came on and the film on the screen said its intermission time and would show hot dogs jumping in a bun-hot butter popcorn,pizza, hamburgers,soda and candy could be purchased at the wonderful snack bar. In the film also they had ads for coke dr.pepper and pepsi. After that the voice said its 10 minutes til showtime for the second feature film. When the film started the flood lights got turned off and the film would start.
My parents took me and my brother in a 1964 dodge station wagon to see the thiller charade with cary grant . We did not like the snake bar food so before the film my parents pick up a bucket of kentucky fried chicken-the colonels best for a in car picnic . My dad turned the car around where the back end of the dodge faced the movie screen and we put the tailgate down. With the chicken my dad carried a thermos jug of hot coffee to drink. For years the loews sharpstown tried to get accross the street- Globe shopping city to turn off there big red neon sign because it disturbed the movie patrons. the sign was five foot in the air and at the top of the neon sign would shine in red letters GLOBE. The shopping center said they where open until nine at night and that was advertisment for the store. So the patrons had to put with it. In the 1960s globe was the wal mart of its heyday. the company was owned by walgreens. By the end of the second feature my brother and I where fast asleep. What fond memories as a kid going to the drive-in theater. At one time in houston texas they had 23 drive-in listings in the local paper.
The opening film was disneys miracle of the white stallions with robert taylor. The date was june 23, 1963. My grandfather robert burge sr designed the furniture that was in the front ticket booth. I remember when I was 11 I saw in the summer of 1967 doctor dolittle with rex harrison. The theatre had a big single screen and lots of seats. In the 1970s the radio station klol in houston texas presented midnight shows like a hard days night, 2001 a space oddessy, easy rider. the theatre was packed for the films and during the beatles film the theatre turned the volume up and the patrons when wild. it was like you where in the same room with the beatles it was great. During the summer of 1973 they showed all 5 planet of the apes films all day long. the marquee called it a ape marathon . It was great alot of kids where there. Back in the 1990s they split the one large screen to five little screens making it a dollar cinema that was the begining of the end of the theatre. I wish they had not split that huge screen. they did it for economics.
If you want to see the general cinema corporation-feature presentation-1977 film go to you tube.com and under search punch in the above company name the film runs 28 seconds and has the henry mancini drum sound from 1962. also to view the two film versons from the late 1980s general cinema candy band trailer -one runs from 1.14 seconds and the other 58 seconds. these general cinema films brings back good memories as a kid growing up.
I was at the last showing of the meyerland general cinema 3 . the film was interview with the vampire sunday evening sunday jan 15,1995. after the film I went over to talk to the manager mr potter to thank him for providing a great film that night. Being the last night of the cinema I gave mr potter some newspaper clippings from the houston post showing the opening days ads for april 1965 -marry poppings and mister moses. also a couple of dec 1968 ads for planet of the apes. I spent my childhood in that theatre. Enjoyed a lot of films there like the bible, wait until dark, the war wagon,the jungle book ,skyjaced. It was great place to see a film because the screens had a shadowbox effect with light blue lighting and soft music. Before each film they would show the company logo with blue background with a white projector turning then stopped to spell the letters comming attractions then after that they showed a loney tune cartoon then the movie would start.most Most movies back in 1966 cost 60 cents. All i can say is this was my favorite theatre. I am sad that it no longer exist. Just wonderful memories of this great general cinema theatre.
WHEN I WAS TEN YEARS OLD MY BROTHER AND I ARRIVED AT THE BELLAIRE THEATER DURING THE SUMMER OF 1966 AND 1967 FOR TRIPLE HORROR SHOW-ADMISSION 50 CENTS . THE FILMS THEY HAD WERE GREAT. SOME OF THE TITLES WERE NAKED PREY ,QUEEN OF BLOOD ,FANTASTIC VOYAGE,ISLAND OF TERROR,GHOST AND MR CHICKEN,CHAMBER OF HORRORS,WAR GODS OF THE DEEP,PROJECTED MAN,FIVE MILLION YEARS TO EARTH,FRANKENSTEIN CREATES WOMEN,ONE MILLION YEARS BC,IT,AROUND THE WORLD UNDER THE SEA,DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS. THE FILMS WOULD START AT 10.30 AM AND THE LAST FILM WOULD LET OUT AT 4.30 PM. WHAT A GREAT TIME TO SPEND THE SUMMER .
want to see a website about a new book on movie palaces in houston texas by david welling go to website http://www.cinemahouston.info/ the book will come out at the end of the year 2007.
Thank you bill huelbig for your kind comments on one of the GREATEST SCIENCE FICTION FILM EVER MADE PLANET OF THE APES STARRING THE GREATEST ACTOR IN FILM CHARLTON HESTON. MR HESTON IS A CLASS ACT AND A TRUE GENTLEMAN—A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS.
Here is an movie ad dated feb 12,1968 from the loews capitol theater when planet of the apes played there to view go to View link
Here is another movie ad from the majestic theater june 1970 beneath the planet of the apes to view go to View link
Here is another photo of the new meyerland general cinema 8 plex that opened in 1997 and closed on dec 31,2003 as nova theaters to view photo go to
I found a great article on the river oaks theater go to View link
Here is a painting of the old broadway go to View link
Here is a painting of the village theater go to View link
VICTORY We won to save a houston landmark thanks to the 23,ooo signitures here is the story from the houston chronicle. View link
I came across an old ad for the grand opening in 1963 for a general cinema in the mt prospect area in chicago. the website is View link
Here is the other photo go to website- View link
Here is two photos of the bellaire theater just click on the websites to view them—http://www.hollywoodframegallery.com/koehn/theater16.jpg and View link
I have a website that have photos showing the cinerama screen and two photos showing the big blue velvet seats in the windsor theater— here is the website http://cinerama.topcities.com/ctwindsor.htm
Houston Theatre Memories
by William Burge
My name is Bill Burge I am a Native Houstonian. When I was ten years old, my Dad, Robert Burge, had to go on a weekend trip to Downtown Houston. He took me past the Majestic Theater on Rusk Ave near Walker St. I noticed the big Majestic Theater marquee sign out front read in big bold letters marked ‘'STAGECOACH’‘ all star cast. Below the marquee sign had Norman Rockwell paintings of each star in the film- showing- RED BUTTONS- MIKE CONNERS-ALEX CORD- BOB CUMMINGS- BING CROSBY- VAN HEFLIN- ANN MARGRET- SLIM PICKENS- STEPHANIE POWERS- KEENAN WYNN. If I remember correctly, the date was around mid June 1966, on a very hot day during the summer. The film was produced by 20th Century Fox.They were famous for advertising this great western. My eyes grew huge seeing the big three sheet posters on each side of the ticket booth. On the bottom of the posters had two lobby cards in separate frame holders. Wow! Boy I was hooked on how the theater was grabbing the attention of the movie going public. It stopped traffic, people looking at this great movie marquee.
My next story is about the Alabama theater on Shepherd at West Alabama, my parents took the family to see the SOUND OF MUSIC -1965 another fox film. In the front of the theater it had what looked like a Billboard size poster showing Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. I remember this film was doing great business, the Alabama held the movie over for a year into 1966. Then another Julie Andrews film replaced it called HAWAII.
In the winter of 1972 I waited in line for an hour to see the POSEIDON ADVENTURE— the big poster that covered half the side of the theater front got everybody in line excited. We waited as strangers, but all of us spoke on the growing anticipation of this wonderful film. Just huddled around trying to stay warm, of course it was packed and sold out. When in the lobby everybody noticed how big the movie screen looked, it was HUGE!! Before the film started they showed a Looney Tune cartoon, the previews of Coming Attractions, and then the 20th Century Fox music fanfare started the film. I noticed the film was shot on a 70 millimeter screen, I was in heaven! Great sound system, felt like you were in the middle of the film.
The next story I remember, I was going to the Tower Theater on Westheimer near Montrose Dr. It was the winter of November 1974. The marquee out front in bold black letters said EARTHQUAKE in Sensurround sound!! I went in the lobby to get to our seats and noticed a group of big speakers in the back of the theater. They were added for the film’s special Sensurround sound. About 30 minutes into the film, when the earthquake hit California, the speakers in the back (3 rows behind us) vibrated the walls of the theater so much it knocked the plaster off the ceiling to come down. WOW!! Great special effects from Universal Pictures! I thought the roof was falling down. Obviously the guy whose head the plaster hit ran out of the theater like chicken little screaming, “The sky is falling!!”
The next story is from the Woodlake Three at Gessner at Westheimer. The theater faced toward Westheimer Rd. The front of the theater had steps going up to the front box office. Those were the very same steps (years later) that my children: Jennifer & Robert had stood on waiting to see RETURN OF THE JEDI- 1984, they were on T.V. 13 Eyewitness news interviewed them to see which actor they liked best. Continuing on, inside the lobby had a big concession stand separated by three movie screens. The film that opened the theater was called the HINDENBURG October 1974 by Universal Pictures.
The last story I have is from the last Historical movie theater in Houston. River Oaks theater on West Gray at Shepherd. I like the theater because it has the old neon marquee out front that shines at night. I saw midnight shows that starred the Beatles film in order- HARD DAYS NIGHT, HELP!, YELLOW SUBMARINE, & LET IT BE. The sound was turned up to get the crowd excited! It worked, a packed movie house. My daughter, Jennifer is a little upset River Oaks stopped doing the midnight showings of ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW. In 1993 the director Martin Scorsese and Miramax films put over 2 million dollars to restore EL CID-1961, to keep the film from turning into nitrate dust. El Cid starred Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren. I sat in the theater with my mouth to the floor in amazement and wonder! How the colors of the costumes seem to jump out at you so clear. Great Dolby sound in 70 millimeter . It was a long film almost 3 and a half hours with a 15 minute intermission so everybody could take a break and come back refreshed. When the film was over everybody left the theater accept a lady in her mid 30s. She approached the manager saying (in tears) “ They don’t make pictures like that anymore!”
That’s why they are classics for all time, you just don’t see too many film makers willing to take the risks to bring such life & beauty to the screen. Hope you enjoyed my film memories of the great Houston interstate theaters.
I remember my dad took me to my first cinerama picture called grand prix 1966 starring james gardner. When you walked in the theater it had this great indoor carpet and the seats were like big blue velvet rocker seats shaped like lazy boy chairs very comfortable. The screen was huge shaped like a circular screen that wraped around from left to right and the height looked about 9 or 10 feet up. When everyone sat down to watch the film the red velvet curtains would open and on this 70 milameter screen was black and music would play from the movies soundtrack. that music lasted about 15 minutes to let the patrons get there popcorn and drinks from the concession stand in the lobby. this theater was classy in the lobby it had several chandeliers near the ticket booth and concession stand. Seating in this grand theater the music would stop and the film began showing on the screen the cinerama logo and the main title of the film GRAND PRIX. The film was excellant you really felt you were in the drivers seat. It was a long film over two hours about halfway thur the movie the screen went dark and shown on the screen ITERMISSION so people could relax and visit the restrooms or refill drinks or popcorn. Patrons would enter back in the theater before intermission was over so they would see the rest of the film. The screen went black and the film rolled again. At the end of the film the screen went black and read exit music and the soundtrack from the movie came on. These movies were special ROADSHOW ENGAGEMENT . I remember that the film was so real that when i came out of the theater i felt dizzy. I also saw ICE STATION ZEBRA 1968 starring rock hudson another CINERAMA release.
general cinema galleria twin theater opened november 17,1970. the two films that open were five easy pieces with jack nicholson and karen black the other film was scrooge starring albert finney. I remember seeing a sci fi movie universal pictures andromada strain starring artur hill,james olsen ,kate reid ,david wayne. the date was febuary 8,1971. in the lobby for a movie promotion at the concession counter the theater was selling duplicate red keys used in the film. the red keys hung around your neck on a chain. I april 1973 I saw soylent green another sci fi film starring charlton heston. other films I saw there were jaws 1975, star wars 1977.out of africa 1985.
I remember the opening of the meyerland general cinema twin auditoriums. the date was march 15,1965. the two films that were shown that day was walt disneys mary poppings with julie andrews and dick van dyke the other film was by unitied artist release called mister moses with robert mitchium and carroll baker. Inside one of the auditoriums the screen had four sides and there was a soft light blue color shown on the screen. before the film was to begain a symbol of a projector reel would appear and under the reel would be the letters saying general cinema corporation and when the projector reels would move in a circular motion then the letters coming attractions would appear the previews would start. after that they would show a loney toons cartoon with bugs bunny. I also saw the first planet of the apes movie in 1968 with my favorite actor charlton heston. the admissions were 60 cents for children and $1.25 for adults. small cokes were 75 cents and small popcorn was 75 cents and candy 35 cents.