Brownwood Lyric Theatre

318 Center Avenue,
Brownwood, TX 76801

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DonLewis
DonLewis on January 31, 2013 at 7:42 pm

[From 2010 a photo of the Lyric Theater’s new marquee]http://www.flickr.com/photos/lastpictureshow/4637377143/).

LouisRugani
LouisRugani on April 27, 2010 at 7:03 pm

(Brownwood Bulletin, July 2, 1958)
Closing of Lyric Theater Ends 40-Year Business Span

When the Lyric Theater here did not open for the matinee performance Tuesday afternoon, it marked the end of an entertainment span covering 40 years.
The theater was closed Monday night by its owner, Mrs. James F. Holland. The Brownwood landmark was opened in 1918 and ranked as one of the oldest in West Texas.
In addition to serving up a varied movie diet for area patrons over the 40-year period, the Lyric participated in many community activities during the time.
One of the first recorded in the files of The Bulletin was in March of 1936 when The Bulletin and the theater cooperated to present free theater tickets to careful drivers in the city. A secret committee of 10 men watched for careful drivers in the downtown area, and when
such a driver was spotted the license number was taken. The driver was later given the free tickets.
1936 was a busy year for the Lyric. That year saw many things, including a change of managers from Robert D. Sparks, who retired, to Pierce Thomas. Thomas gave way to Lew Bray in December of the
same year. That was also the year movie stars John Boles and Gene Autry visited Brownwood and the Lyric. Boles attended a movie there Nov. 23, 1936 as he and his brother spent the night in Hotel Brownwood on their way to a deer hunt in Mason.
A native of Greenville, Boles played in such movies as “Rio Rita,” “Rose of the Rancho,” “A Message to Garcia,” “Craig’s Wife,” and “Back Street."
Autry, whose movie credits need no introduction to local western fans, was in Brownwood Dec. 1, 1936. He made personal appearances at the Lyric Theater during the day. The singing cowboy was accompanied
by his storied horse, Champion. The two paraded down Center and Austin avenues from the courthouse to Daniel Baker College.
In December 1936, renovation work started on the Lyric. The theater was closed from Jan. 3 to Jan. 8, 1937, to complete the work. Improvements included a new screen, new seats, new sign, and a new heating system.
The next movie star to visit Brownwood and the Lyric was Rufe Davis, mimic and hillbilly performer. He visited on Dec. 5, 1938. Davis achieved fame through his ability to imitate almost any sound, from a mosquito to a crack railroad train. He was billed as one of the nation’s top comics at the time.
Jackie Coogan, who was a star in both silent and "talkie” movies, was at the Lyric for a two-day engagement Feb. 6-7, 1939. He was featured in more than 20 movies during his career, including such favorites as “The Kid” and “College Swing."
Final ownership changes for the Lyric were in December, 1952, when Guy Cameron purchased the theater from Texas Consolidated Theaters, Inc., in May, 1953 when James F. Holland and C. A. Thomas purchased
the firm from Cameron, and in May, 1958 when Mrs. Holland became owner.