Northgate Theatre

9350 Dyer Street,
El Paso, TX 79924

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Northgate Grand Opening 1965 Ad

Viewing: Photo | Street View

In 1976 the Northgate Theatre was housed in an unremarkable and possibly the end building of a strip mall. "Northgate Theatre" was spelled out in individual red block letters on top of a marquee that reached across the front of the building.

Contributed by Billy Smith / Don Lewis

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

Coate on March 31, 2009 at 8:09 pm

What’s your point, raysson? Do a “Northgate” search here and you’ll find eleven theaters with that name. Do the same search on and you’ll get a hit of over twenty.

Coate on April 7, 2009 at 10:41 pm

Thanks, moderators, for updating the theater name. Why not also update the address and seat count? I provided both details in my second of two March 31 postings.

Coate on April 7, 2009 at 10:48 pm

I need to correct a detail I mentioned a few posts ago.

The Northgate was not the first theater in Texas to get Dolby Stereo as originally claimed. That distinction, I believe, belongs to the Medallion in Dallas. Nor was Northgate the first in El Paso to get Dolby. That distinction belongs to a place called American Star (which I don’t think has a page here on Cinema Treasures).

Northgate did eventually install Dolby (a CP50) in autumn 1977 for their engagement of “Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 8, 2009 at 1:28 am

Boxoffice Magazine published an article about the opening of the Northgate in its issue of July 11, 1966. An invitational preview party was held on June 23, the night before the house opened to the public, and included a screening of “The Glass Bottom Boat.”

The Northgate was designed by Nesmith-Lane & Associates. I’ve searched the Internet and can’t find anything else designed by this firm other than the shopping center in which the theater was located and an El Paso warehouse for a Coca-Cola bottler. It’s likely that this was the only theater they designed.

simbared on June 1, 2009 at 4:45 am

Contrary to the description above, the Northgate Theatre was/is a free-standing building, not part of a strip mall. The building included a few small retail spaces to the left of the theatre entrance. The theatre was built near the Southwest corner of Northgate Shopping Center, a large and popular mall in the 1960’s. Patrons parked in the shopping center parking lot. It was the only walk-in theatre in Northeast El Paso for decades, and offered first-run movies as well as 50-cent Saturday matinees for kids. Sonny and Cher actually made an appearance there when their movie “Good Times” made its El Paso debut in 1967. It was originally a single-screen theatre, and later divied into two screens.

rivest266 on September 1, 2009 at 12:36 am

Grand opening ad from June 24th, 1965 is at View link

simbared on September 1, 2009 at 4:36 am

The Grand Opening ad is a great find. I was 13 years old, and we rode our bikes over to the theater when we saw the searchlight (the old carbon arc version). There were reporters interviewing people on the red carpet. It was a big deal for an otherwise boring part of town. The date had to be June 1966, though. The movie wasn’t released until December 1965.

Coate on September 1, 2009 at 4:46 am

Doesn’t anyone read the older comment postings??? I cited the correct 1966 opening date in my post of March 31, 2009.

rivest266 on September 24, 2009 at 11:44 pm

my mistake. It was 1966.

diapason on October 24, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Let’s give the Northgate its due — it was a very nice high-class first-run place when it opened. It may have looked a little spartan compared to the razzle-dazzle design of older venues, but that just refelects the architectural style of its day. It fell on hard times when its neighborhood declined and the shopping center gradually went downhill and finally closed.

The Northgate not only had a great location on the parking lot of the largest shopping center in that entire end of El Paso, but it was also close to Irvin High School and right next door to a branch library. Early on, kids were known to tell their parents they would be studying at the library after school, when they really planned to hit the Northgate in a big group. Sometimes they’d swarm the box office and then surround the ticket-taker, confusing everybody while many of them slipped in without paying.

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