Alameda Theater

318 W. Houston Street,
San Antonio, TX 78205

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Azteca Films

Architects: N. Straus Nayfach

Firms: Killis Almond & Associates, N. Straus Nayfach Architects

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 210.299.4300

Nearby Theaters

Alameda Theatre auditorium

One of the last grand movies palaces built in America. When it opened on March 10, 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 36 comments)

Luis Vazquez
Luis Vazquez 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.

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.

Luis Vazquez
Luis Vazquez 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?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 13, 2015 at 12:55 pm

Decorator Hanns Teichert wrote an article about the Alameda Theatre for Boxoffice. It appeared in the issue of February 4, 1950. Here are links:

First page

Second page

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on April 7, 2018 at 5:22 pm

Mid `50s photo added courtesy of Mase Mason.

rivest266
rivest266 on January 12, 2020 at 1:08 am

Opened March 10tn, 1949. Grand opening ads posted

Justwideman
Justwideman on August 4, 2021 at 11:19 am

It has been sold to Texas Public Radio and they are building offices in the back. It will be along the new city water/art walk called San Pedros Creek(previously just a rain runoff ditch on the left of the building) so it will finally get some attention and admiration it has always deserved.

Prior to sale, it was pretty much derelict and referred to as the “Mexican Theatre” (for a grant it got from Mexico arts) and held some local events and non-profits for a while. Location was its demise as it is not in the main area of the other theatres like Majestic, Aztec, Empire, etc, and the Riverwalk tourist areas.

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