Frontier Theater

120 S. Shipp Street,
Hobbs, NM 88240

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As a seven year old in 1955, I recall the inside auditorium walls of this theater being painted with murals depicting oil fields, which was befitting the one time oil boom city of Hobbs.

I hope someone out there can add to these details.

Contributed by Don Lewis

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

DonLewis
DonLewis on October 14, 2005 at 7:40 am

Hey Ken. On this one I am having to rely on info from the Hobbs public library. It says the Frontier was “put in” in 1952 which may explain it not being in the 1950 FDY. Which by the way is the only sentence devoted to the Frontier. However, it does mention separately a “DERRICK” and a “RIG” theater along with a few more theaters that came and went in Hobbs' history as an oil boom town. I did check with a cousin and former long time resident who only recalls it as the Frontier, however, experience tells me all this could change with the next comment that may come this way. Thanks for your reply!
-Don

cottonchipper
cottonchipper on October 21, 2005 at 2:52 am

To the best of my knowledge, the Frontier was only known as the Frontier. I’ve often wondered if the Frontier was owned by R.E. Griffith, who built the Last Frontier Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. I’m checking with a knowledgable casino chip collector who also hails from Hobbs.
I believe the Rig, Derrick and Reel theatres were all separate operations in separate locations from the Frontier. I’ve got some early Hobbs newspapers I’ll look through and see what I can confirm on the addresses.
The Frontier has been opened various times as a restaurant over the past few years, and part of the building has been converted to apartments. Sadly, the murals, which as I recall included oilfield flares and a beautiful woman, have been painted over.

cottonchipper
cottonchipper on October 21, 2005 at 3:14 am

I just pulled out my old newspapers and found advertisements for The Reel and The Scout theatres in advertisements from 8/10/45 and 8/12/46. All of the ads indicate that these two theaters were owned by the same people, but there are no addresses. I know that The Reel was located in the 200 block of West Broadway.

DonLewis
DonLewis on October 21, 2005 at 5:23 am

Wow!! Newspapers from the 40s? What a great source for old theater info. I am a NUT for the old theater signs. Can you describe the Frontier and Reel signs or any details about the interiors or exteriors of these two theaters?

Thanks for your comments and for acknowleging the murals. I can recall them, but not one movie that I saw there.

-Don

cottonchipper
cottonchipper on October 21, 2005 at 6:16 am

I’ll look at my collection of postcards and photographs of Broadway to see what I have on the Reel. I don’t think I have anything on what the Frontier sign looked like but I’ll check.

There was a glass ticket booth to the left of the entrance to the The Frontier. Once inside, the snack bar faced the entrance. The men’s room was on the left of the snack bar and the ladies room on the right. You had to walk down a few steps into each of the restrooms. To get to the theater you could either go left or right from the snack bar. You walked around the corner and up a ramp. At the top of the ramp was a wide aisle that ran from one side of the theatre to the other. There was a wall along this aisle with aisles branching off at the left, center and right hand sides of the theatre. You could either walk downwards toward the screen, or climb some stairs into the balcony, which would be physically located above the snack bar. On the right-hand (facing the screen) side of the balcony was a glassed in room called “the crying room” where I guess you were supposed to take your crying children so you wouldn’t disturb other patrons.

The seating below the wall referred to above was divided into four sections. Going from left to right, there were maybe 10 seats against the wall, a left-hand aisle, 20 or 30 seats, a center aisle, 20 or 30 more seats, a right-hand aisle and another 10 or so seats against the right hand aisle.

I remember the style as being somewhat art-deco and it seems to me that one of the murals had a riverboat in it. And was the woman in the mural an Indian maiden perhaps?

I can remember going to “monster movies” at the Frontier during the mid-1960’s and remember one particular show where they had a live magician perform on the stage.

DonLewis
DonLewis on October 21, 2005 at 8:31 am

Thanks again Mark. If you come accross any images pertaining to any of the Hobbs theaters that you would be willing to scan and send my way, I would happily post them on C/T and credit you.

Why not post some theaters yourself, sounds like you have some good info and reference material?

cottonchipper
cottonchipper on November 6, 2005 at 5:47 am

The Frontier’s address was 120 S. Shipp.

DonLewis
DonLewis on November 7, 2005 at 7:38 am

Thanks for the update Mark!

-Don

cottonchipper
cottonchipper on August 31, 2007 at 5:10 am

You can see a photo of the Frontier at the following link. It’s from the 1955 Sandstorm, the yearbook of Hobbs High School. The same advertisement contains the names of the Reel, Scout and Sky Vu Drive-In:

View link

tjsteen
tjsteen on April 3, 2009 at 9:58 pm

I attended Jefferson Elementary School in 1964 and I remember the remains of a drive-in theater just south of the campus. There were six or eight very tall wooden poles that were for the screen support. Google Earth shows the remains of the parking area north and west of the West Taylor St. and North Denson Drive intersection. Does anyone have any idea of the name of this theater?

-Tom

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