Lucas Theatre

4519 Maple Street,
Dallas, TX 75201

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Lucas Theatre

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The Lucas Theatre was opened in May 1946. It was renamed Encore Theatre from November 24, 1949, but this was short lived and it was closed in 1951.

Contributed by Billy Holcomb / Billy Smith / Don Lewis

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

DonLewis
DonLewis on March 15, 2009 at 7:37 pm

An old movie theater ad from 1949 for the Lucas Theater.

matt54
matt54 on June 21, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Was this theater also known as (and probable opened as) the Encore?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 21, 2010 at 10:00 pm

This house was the Encore after it was the Lucas. The earliest mention of the Lucas I’ve found in Boxoffice is in the classified section of the issue of August 17, 1946. The ad was placed by someone whose name appears to be Rey Lampkin (the scan is very blurry) who said that he had just sold the Lucas Theatre in Dallas and was looking to buy another theater, preferably in north Texas.

L. R. Robertson was apparently the buyer of the Lucas, as either L. R. Robertson or Mrs. L. R. Robertson are mentioned as operators of the Lucas in Boxoffice items in 1947 and 1948.

Then in 1949, the October 1 issue of Boxoffice reported that the Lucas Theatre had been sold to Alfred and Lester Sack. The October 22 issue said that the Lucas Theatre would close for remodeling, and would reopen as the Encore in November with a revival policy.

The most interesting item about the theater appears in Boxoffice of November 26, 1949, which said that the Sack brothers' Encore Theatre had opened on Thanksgiving Day, with Mrs. Ethel Garland, Judy Garland’s mother, as manager (the former Mrs. Gumm had apparently married her daughter’s career and taken its name.)

Perhaps Mrs. Garland was not a good manager, as Boxoffice of May 13, 1950, said that G. L. and J. W. Griffin had bought the Encore Theatre from Alfred Sack. I’ve been unable to trace the history of the theater beyond that. Perhaps the name was changed again and that’s why I can’t find any more mentions of it in Boxoffice.

matt54
matt54 on September 14, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Is the building still there (a police station, maybe)?

dallasmovietheaters
dallasmovietheaters on October 1, 2013 at 10:12 am

It’s hard to imagine a more unsuccessful theater in Dallas' history than the Lucas Theater. Roy Lumpkin opened his first theater with 700 seats with crying room for babies. Its first film was “Leave Her to Heaven” on Monday and Tuesday May 13/4, 1946. (The first showing was private and the second open to the public.) Lumpkin couldn’t find an audience and within a year, the theater was in the hands of Bill McLemore. McLemore then sold it to Arcadia owner P.G. Cameron for $100,000 including three lots adjoining the property. Cameron reportedly expanded the number of seats and brought his son in to manage the theater. That wasn’t the right formula for the theater.

In June of 1948, a new operator, L.R. Robertson, installed an air conditioning system and remodeled the theater with neon lighting and murals painted by Don Vogel. The remodeling didn’t help as the Lucas was sold to Columbia Pictures' veterans L.A. Couch and A.M. Witcher who took on the theater In January 1949. The theater stumbled and was closed briefly that Fall. It was taken over by the Coronet’s Alfred Sack. The Coronet was doing so well with a combination of revival and art films that it decided to rebrand the Lucas as a revival house called the Encore Theater. It opened it on November 24, 1949 with “Rebecca.”

Even with the master showman Sack at the helm and Judy Garland’s mom brought in by Sack to manage the theater, they were unable to turn around the theater. The Encore was sold to G.L. and J.W. Griffin who took on the theater that summer. The Encore was a dud as the theater closed after its double feature of “That Midnight Kiss” and “Dear Brat” on Oct. 10, 1951 with a promise of repairs that would find the theater open soon. However, padlocks on the door and notices of a Constable’s Sale told a markedly different story. It was auctioned off, seats, equipment, and all by auction Feb. 5, 1952. Hammond Coffman was the winner of the Encore and announced it would re-open for business in March of 1952 with cowboy pictures and renamed as The Western. This doesn’t appear to have transpired as by November, Coffman had converted the theater into a sound stage and created the Coffman Film Company. KERA investigated the property as a potential studio in 1960. The property then became MPI Studios, followed by the St. Clair Talent Agency and then a long run as the Spectro Photo Lab.

In just five years, this theater had two names with plans for a third, seven owners, two air handling systems, and never found a consistent audience. One of the Dallas' least treasured and most unsuccessful movie theaters of all time was quickly put out of its suffering as a film exhibition location.

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