Esquire Theatre

1808 S. Washington Street,
Amarillo, TX 79102

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dallasmovietheaters
dallasmovietheaters on June 11, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Interstate Theatres went on a building and spending spree in the late 1940s building theaters outside of downtown throughout Texas. In 1947, alone, Houston had the River Oaks, Dallas got the Forest, Inwood and Circle theaters. And for Amarillo, it would get its last indoor theater built for more than 20 years with the Esquire Theatre. You couldn’t miss the Esquire. It had a 38-foot sign with 1,500 feet of neon tubing and an attraction board that told you what was playing. Opening was the 40 cent admissioned, “I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now” on October 27, 1947. Mayor Lawrence Hagy was there to get things going. Audiences were struck by the fabulous murals by Eugene Gilboe which were a doff of the cowboy hat to the Palo Duro Canyon area.

Nicknamed “the friendly theater,” by Jack King of Interstate Theatre, the only circuit to operate the theater, the idea may have been to be a nice neighborhood theater. But at 1,000 seats and with audiences ready, the theater at 18th and South Washington within two years was hosting road shows that Interstate might have considered for the Paramount. Road Show releases including those of “Hamlet,” “The Bible,” “The Sound of Music” (18 weeks), “The Royal Ballet,” “South Pacific,” “Around the World in 80 Days,” “Cheyenne Autumn,” “The Song of Norway,” “Patton,” “Tora, Tora, Tora,” “Oliver,” “The Sand Pebbles,” “Gone With the Wind (1968 Road Show), “The Taming of the Shrew,” “Grand Prix,” “A Man for All Seasons,” “The Great Race,” and “The Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines” made the Esquire a destination theater for decades.

Though the theater would close just shy of its 35th Anniversary reaching the end of a lease cycle, the quickly-demolished theater was a destination theater in the single-screen era and survived gracefully into the twin and multiplex eras.

ronnwood
ronnwood on October 21, 2013 at 11:45 am

Like the Paramount not enough can ever be said about this wonderful theater. I saw my first movie there October 12, 1966, “KHARTOUM”, the last was “CAVEMAN” April 20, 1981. I only got to see 59 movies at the Esquire. Then it was torn down in ‘82. What’s wrong with you earth people? At least they didn’t make a flat, ugly parking lot out of it.

rivest266
rivest266 on November 8, 2009 at 11:33 pm

This opened on October 28th, 1947 ad at View link

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on July 16, 2009 at 1:49 am

A movie ad from 1963 for the Esquire Theatre in Amarillo.

Josephvaughan
Josephvaughan on March 27, 2008 at 5:56 pm

I worked at the Esquire in high school from 1968-1971 as an usher and Assistant Manager. We ran a lot of the major films during that time period. The Esquire, Paramount and State theatres were all part of the ABC Interstate Theatres chain. The manager at that time was James Arnold, and most of the employees attended Amarillo High or Tascosa. Joe V.

radiojan
radiojan on March 21, 2007 at 9:06 pm

The only Esquire I knew in Amarillo was at 19th and Washington (by I-40). As a child in the 60s, my mother took me to see To Kill a Mockingbird and The Sound of Music there. In college in the 70s, it was the theater that had the Rocky Horror Picture Show every weekend so I continued to go there. Then in the 80s I lived close by and remember seeing that Ringo Starr caveman movie there, among others. The theater was just second run movies, but still a beauty with murals of cowboys herding cows in the Palo Duro Canyon on the walls. When it closed in the mid-80s, their last show was, once again, The Sound of Music and my mother and I went to see it to preserve those good memories of a beautiful theater. It is the only Amarillo theater that I remember before the multiplexes moved in.

Wes Reeves
Wes Reeves on November 25, 2006 at 8:05 pm

The Equire was located at 19th and Washington, which is now the intersection of West Interstate 40 and Washington. It survived the construction of I-40 but was leveled to make way for an office building in the late 70s or early 80s. That building is now the Amarillo headquarters for HRH Insurance.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 17, 2006 at 1:08 am

Here is a photo of Amarillo’s Esquire Theatre, from the Amarillo Public Library web site. There is information about the theatre on that page, too, but some of it it doesn’t match the information on this CT page. The address is given as 1808 South Washington, and the seating capacity is listed as 763. The date of the grand opening is given as October 24, 1947.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on August 14, 2005 at 9:35 am

The Film Daily Yearbook;1950 edition gives the Esquire Theatre a seating capacity of 901.