Alameda Theater

318 West Houston Street,
San Antonio, TX 78205

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Alameda Theater

Viewing: Photo | Street View

One of the last grand movies palaces built in America. When it opened on March 9, 1949, the Alameda Theater was the largest movie palace ever dedicated to Spanish language films & the performing arts. The Mexican film “Revancha” starring Ninon Sevilla was the opening movie. Singing cowboy Gene Autry was a surprise guest at the opening and he sang a popular ballad in Spanish.

The theater is housed within the historic International Building which was also home to the Mexican Consulate and the first Mexican Chamber of Commerce in the U.S. Built as a symbol of greater cultural understanding and Pan-American relations. Over 1,050 pieces of cold cathode adorn the 86 foot high marquee. The interior boasts phospherescent black light murals depicting scenes from the history of Texas and Mexico, the work of interior designer Hans R. Teichert. There was Altec Voice of the Theate stereo sound, Bodiform chairs, and an 18 foot performance stage. Neon lit, plexiglass murals line the walls and staircases.

Many of the greats from the golden age of Mexican cinema performed at the Alameda Theatre including: Pedro Infante, Cantinflas, Maria Felix, and Vicente Fernandez.

The theater was the winner of the most outstanding theater in the country in 1949. It lives on proudly today.

Contributed by Sam Gorena

Recent comments (view all 33 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 29, 2008 at 9:30 pm

The architect for the restoration of the Alameda Theater was Killis Almond, of Killis Almond & Associates, a San Antonio, Texas, based firm specializing in the restoration of historic buildings. Click on their “Projects” link to find a link to a page about this theater, as well as links to pages about some of their other theater projects.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on December 4, 2009 at 2:05 pm

Nice looking theatre, lots of neon on this place, looks great in the night shots.

LawMann
LawMann on October 9, 2010 at 10:30 am

I was in S.A. two years ago to visit my brother who moved down there and I saw this place from the outside. I would liked to gone inside. It looked good on the outside.

LuisV
LuisV on May 29, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Just stopped by the Alameda this morning. It is still just as beautiful on the outside, but the theater seems to be at a complete standstill. It looks abandoned on the inside with no sign of any activity, let alone restoration work. In the window there is a proud “proclamation” from Ford Motor Company announcing the a “sizable” donation to the restoration cause. It is dated 2005. It looks like nothing has happened since. Does anyone have any news? I assume the lights are no longer lit.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 30, 2011 at 3:38 am

Here is an article about the Alameda Theatre, penned by Hanns Teichert for Boxoffice of February 4, 1950. There are several photos of the theater, some on the subsequent page.

BobFurmanek
BobFurmanek on September 18, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Here’s a link about the restoration of the murals: http://www.si.edu/mci/english/research/past_projects/alameda_mural.html

onetake
onetake on February 22, 2012 at 4:27 pm

My father, Jose Perez del Rio, mc'ed many shows at the Alameda, including the “caravanas” with many famous actors and entertainers from Mexico. When I was about 5 years old, he lifted me in his arms and took me onstage to introduce me to the audience, who I could not see because of the footlights. I spent many hours sitting near the backstage entrance watching all those wonderful movies while my Dad prepared his work. He did many things to entertain the audience between sets, including playing the part of “Dr.I.Q” and staging vaudeville type scenarios. I am very happy the Alameda remains with us now. By the way, I too became an entertainer.

LuisV
LuisV on September 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Just passed the Alameda and it looks just as beautiful on the outside as the last time I was here over a year ago. Sadly, it looks just as forlorn on the inside. Looks like not a single thing has happened.

Theaterbug
Theaterbug on October 21, 2012 at 12:16 pm

This site has recent photos of the interior: www.hillcountrydeco.com/theaters/alameda/

DR42887
DR42887 on November 11, 2014 at 12:23 pm

I wondered if anyone would know, did the Alameda theatre host talent shows a very long time ago, my dad is 86 years old and says he sang in a talent show many years ago and won second place. His only wish is a photograph of this event. Does anyone know anything about this?

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