Big Town Cinema 9

1400 Big Town Boulevard,
Mesquite, TX 75149

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Big Town Cinema ad, January 3, 1983

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The Big Town Mall Theatre opened in 1963 as a single screen, 900-seat theatre. Later additional screens were added, and it was closed in 1999. It has since been demolished.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 2, 2009 at 12:30 am

Boxoffice Magazine mentions of this theater’s architect always spell his surname Sornik. So does the online finding aid for the J. Evan Miller collection of Cinerama Theater Plans at UCLA.

The Miller Collection also lists this house as the Big Town Mall Theater, and says it opened in 1963. I can’t find any other site giving that date for the theater, but there are numerous references to the Big Town Mall shopping center itself having opened in 1959. Most of the theaters built for Cinerama do date from the early 1960s, so a 1970 opening seems very unlikely, if this is indeed the same theater and not a later replacement.

drivein2001
drivein2001 on July 11, 2009 at 12:19 am

Opened in the Early 1960’s, the Big Town (Cinema) Theatre, along with the Mall, was demolished in 2006. The only building left standing is the Bowling Alley. My Photos of the Theatre can be seen here:.. http://tinyurl.com/lktoor … A few photos of the Mall can also be seen here:.. http://tinyurl.com/mv56kt
Enjoy!
Randy A. Carlisle
Historical Photographer
www.flickr.com/photos/racphotography/sets

rivest266
rivest266 on October 20, 2009 at 7:22 pm

Grand opening ad from February 27th, 1964 is at View link . This is the first General Cinema theatre in the DFW area.

Mr_PN_Guin
Mr_PN_Guin on September 14, 2011 at 10:33 pm

I remember going to this theater when we visited my aunt back in the 80s. I especially remember seeing the Little Mermaid there. I would like to point out though that the picture on the page is the marquee from the Town East General Cinema 5 which was out side Town East Mall (the building is still there). That sign is now used by the mall itself.

Driveintheatre2001
Driveintheatre2001 on February 19, 2012 at 2:16 am

To note, this photo is/was the Big Town Cinema Marquee .. The Mall, Bowling Alley, & Theatre have all been demolished.

Randy A Carlisle – RAC Photography

Driveintheatre2001
Driveintheatre2001 on February 19, 2012 at 2:17 am

and not the Town East Cinema 5’s Marquee….. RAC Photography

Larry Gray
Larry Gray on September 26, 2012 at 11:19 pm

My first job was an usher at the Big Town Cinema Theater. Started in April of 1964. Great part time job for a high school kid. The theater was first run and was a big deal at the time. North Park opened a year later as well as a Cinema in Lockwood where the Home Depot is now. Made lots of friends and lots of memories. The old marquees are all thats left.

dallasmovietheaters
dallasmovietheaters on December 6, 2013 at 11:45 pm

The Big Town Mall was the Texas' first enclosed air conditioned mall opening in 1959. Big Town’s original open-air design was changed in a final architectural revision which meant that later buildings would be left out of the mall. One of those later buildings was General Drive-In’s first theater in Dallas-Fort Worth, Big Town Cinema. The $208,000, 900-seat theater was designed by Maurice Sornik of New York with Don Speck the local supervising architect. Ten Eyck & Shaw was the contractor with Herman Blum & Associates as engineers. The theater launched with “Cleopatra” on Feb. 27, 1964 coinciding with Big Town’s fifth anniversary. Just two months later in April 1964, General Drive-In Corp. stockholders changed the company’s name to General Cinema Corp. and all future GCC properties in Dallas were built under that moniker.

In 1972, General Cinema twinned the Big Town along with its Lochwood and Park Plaza theaters. Competition came in the form of another nearby mall, the Town East Mall. General Cinema built a first theater outside of the theater. When AMC opened a multiplex in 1974 (later followed by a UA multiplex, a dividing of General Cinema’s Town East into five screens, and an additional General Cinema Town East 6), the Big Town was reduced to discount, dollar house status which it would remain until its closure in 1999.

The longevity of the discount Big Town took a turn for the better when Cinemark took over Big Town Cinema. To get more life out of the aging property, it twinned the twins and built a five-screen addition onto the property making it the Big Town Cinema 9. As a discount house, the Big Town thrived. But when the Big Town Mall went into rapid decline shedding stores, Big Town merely survived to its final closure on January 31, 1999. Because the timing works out to exactly 25 years, this was very likely an end-of-lease closure. The Big Town Mall eventually lost all of its stores and was demolished in 2006 taking the Big Town Farmer’s Market and the – then – decaying Big Town Cinema with it. The Big Town Lanes somehow soldiered on until 2009 before its owners retired, thus, closing and being demolished. The only remnant of the complex was the “Big Town Event Center” that housed frequent gun shows into the 2010s.

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