Grand Theatre

441 Walnut Street,
Abilene, TX 79699

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The Grand Theatre was opened May 1, 1941 and was an African-American theatre, although two days a week it screened Spanish language movies. It was closed in 1946.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

kencmcintyre on May 30, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Here is an item from the Abilene Reporter-News in March 1945:

No major damage resulted from a fire in the projection room of the
Grand theater, 441 Walnut, Sunday about 4:30 p.m. It was the second
fire reported at the theater in three weeks.

The Grand is patronized by negroes every day during the week except
Wednesday and Sunday when Spanish films are shown for Mexican people.

dallasmovietheaters on June 3, 2015 at 8:56 pm

Abilene’s ninth theater in operation in 1941 was the Grand Theater. It was a hybrid African American theater five days a week and turned into Teatro Grand two nights a week — Sunday and Wednesday (and sometimes more depending on the film) to play Spanish language films. The theater opened May 1, 1941 with a 26-piece high school band adding to the festivities. The Grand suffered an inordinate number of fires — eight minor blazes in less than eight years of operation.

That said, it donated money to African American college funds and screened rare African American films such as the Spencer Williams/Dallas-shot “Blood of Jesus” — just one of many “race” films that played here. It also participated in Juneteenth Emancipation Day festivities with special screenings which also had an exhibition semi-pro baseball game. But the theater would close after just six years of operation when its owner, Mrs. George Likins, noted that Camp Barkeley closed down while African Americans and Hispanics could get regular admittance in other theaters. and was auctioned off on April 6, 1948.

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