Ideal Theater

119 W. Fifth Avenue,
Corsicana, TX 75110

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The Ideal Theater opened on February 13, 1913, with 500 seats. It was remodeled in 1917 to the plans of architect M.T. Horn.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

philbertgray
philbertgray on November 4, 2007 at 5:24 am

I occasionally went to The Ideal in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It was an old off street theatre that had long since past its days of glory. The auditorium was in the center of the block with access through a long covered walkway from the sidewalk. Either side was lined with poster display windows. The lobby was shabby, dirty and virtually empty of any furniture except for an old table at the entrance where an elderly man sat and collected your money as you entered. There was no snack bar. The man behind the table had a few boxes of candy bars for sale if you wanted something to eat. There was a machine that dispensed coke in a cup with some ice. The auditorium was always dark so it was hard to tell what it even looked like. It had a pronounced echo during the film. There was rarely any heat and the place had that musky smell that comes from old age.
There were rarely many people in the theatre. One exception was when it played the then controversial “La Dolce Vita” in 1961. My mother refused to let me go see it so my father, who was pretty cool, drove me downtown and let me go after making me swear not to tell my mother.
I also went to see a film called “Noah’s Ark”. It was advertised as this big budget production. Turned out it was an old silent that had been rereleased with some sound effects and prerecorded music. I think that was the first silent I ever saw. Even though it was old I was still impressed with the flood sequence.

The theatre was demolished sometime back. The last time I was in Corsicana an empty lot sat where the theatre once was.

philbertgray
philbertgray on May 7, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Here is a brief excerpt of an article on the history of Corsicana Theaters published by The Navarro County Historical Society in 1971

By 1912, Max Levine was ready to build a new theater. His Cozy Theater only had a seating capacity of 200, and when it was completed his Ideal Theater seated 500. On April 6, 1912, he purchased the property on which to build the new plant for $3,140, and the Ideal Theater opened its doors at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13, 1913.

The theater boasted an orchestration as big as any church organ in town, and it also had a player piano equivalent to a ten-piece orchestra. John Remonte rigged an electric clock to operate a synchronized arrow outside the theater to indicate the point to which the program had progressed. Louis Levy was also one of the theater’s projectionists.

In July 1917, Levine hired architect M. T. Horn and J. E. Metcalf, contractor, to remodel the theater and add a roof garden at a cost of something over $29,000.

It was at this point, the beginning of a new era, that Lancaster chose to end his story. The Ideal Theater, now under condemnation, was the scene in his boyhood of many happy hours watching the adventures of Johnny Mack Brown and Randolph Scott.

A link to the complete article is at

View link

wsaucier
wsaucier on March 29, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Philbert, you brought back memories of “Noah’s Ark” for me. We played it on a double feature back in about 1956 along with a little British comedy with Donald Sindon and Diana Dors called “An Alligator Named Daisy”. The only memorable thing about “Ark” was the flood scenes. The Diana Dors comedy made up for “Ark” and we had a fairly good run due to “Daisy”. We normally never played double features, that was one of about only three double features that I can recall. Could never understand why our booker stuck “Ark” on us. It was orginally scheduled as a single attraction for those three days. “Daisy” was added only two days before the scheduled run. Guess someone had second thoughts. I remember we ran “La Dolce Vita” for a week to fair business. We always pulled a picture early if it did not do good. We actually got sued for doing that with “Spartacus” in 1960, and wound up putting it at our second run house for a two weeks to settle with the distributor and brought it back two months later at that second run house on a double feature for three days.

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