River Oaks Theater

2009 W. Gray Street,
Houston, TX 77019

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main auditorium

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The last of the deluxe neighborhood theaters built by Interstate Theatre Corp., headed by Karl Hoblitzelle & Bob O'Donnell.

The theater opened in November 1939 with Ginger Rogers in “Batchelor Mother” and was one of a number of deluxe neighborhood theaters built and operated by Interstate. Seating was provided in orchestra and balcony levels. The interior decorations were by Buck Winn.

The building has an excellent location in the upscale River Oaks shopping center. Landmark has done a good job maintining the property and the River Oaks still shines today.

I just wish they had not triplexed the building. But, at least she’s still open and going strong as one of Houston’s last true movie palaces.

Contributed by Stan Gilmore

Recent comments (view all 44 comments)

MPol
MPol on January 20, 2010 at 1:57 am

Nice photos of a nice theatre, Lost Memory. Thanks.

throgers
throgers on December 2, 2011 at 11:35 am

I’m glad the River Oaks is still around. I saw a number of movies there when I was in high school, although I don’t think I had much of an appreciation then for its history. I think it’s been maintained well, and has a lot of charm. The converted balcony screening rooms are fairly small and not laid out that well, but the main auditorium is great- nice details with oak-shaped wall lights and deco figures flanking the screen. A recent weekday matinee was pretty well-attended, so hopefully it’ll resist the development pressures!

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on September 3, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Described in this 1940 trade article, which also covers the Alabama Theatre: Boxoffice

jimi99
jimi99 on September 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm

In the early ‘70s there was a movie theater across Gray that showed classic and foreign films. I believe it was called the Act II but I could be confusing that name with something else. Does anyone remember it? I saw so many classic foreign films there for the first time in '71-73.

RSM3853
RSM3853 on December 27, 2012 at 2:32 pm

First-run and major reissued movies that played at the River Oaks from 01/01/60 to 12/31/63. Research is from microfilms of The Houston Post and The Houston Chronicle. The date is the Wednesday of the opening week. 01/01/60 Pillow Talk 02/10/60 The Mouse That Roared 03/16/60 The Last Angry Man 03/30/60 Babette Goes to War 04/13/60 Our Man in Havana 05/18/60 Black Orpheus 05/25/60 Rosemary 06/08/60 The Snow Queen 06/22/60 The Battle of the Sexes 07/06/60 Carry on Nurse 08/24/60 The 39 Steps 09/07/60 A Lesson in Love 09/21/60 I’m All Right, Jack 10/12/60 Carry on Sergeant 10/26/60 School for Scoundrels 11/02/60 Ten Who Dared 11/09/60 The Man in the Cocked Hat 11/16/60 Inherit the Wind 12/14/60 Lonelyhearts 12/21/60 Swiss Family Robinson 03/01/61 101 Dalmatians 04/19/61 The Absent-Minded Professor 06/28/61 The Parent Trap 09/20/61 Romanoff and Juliet 10/18/61 Greyfriar’s Bobby 11/15/61 Dumbo 12/20/61 Babes in Toyland 02/14/62 Watch Your Stern 02/21/62 Murder, She Said 02/28/62 Whistle Down the Wind 03/14/62 Doctor in Love 03/28/62 Light in the Piazza 04/11/62 A View from the Bridge 04/18/62 Lover Come Back 06/13/62 Five Finger Exercise 06/27/62 Bon Voyage 08/22/62 Stowaway in the Sky 08/29/62 A Matter of WHO 09/12/62 The Spiral Road 10/10/62 Carry on Teacher 10/24/62 No Place Like Homicide 10/31/60 A Coming Out Party 11/14/62 Gigot 12/12/62 Two Plus Two Make Six 12/19/62 Barabbas 01/16/63 Billy Budd 02/06/63 A Kind of Loving 02/13/63 Term of Trial 02/20/63 Divorce, Italian Style 03/13/63 David and Lisa 04/03/63 Freud 04/17/63 No Exit 05/01/63 To Kill a Mockingbird 05/29/63 Love and Larceny 06/05/63 Long Day’s Journey Into Night 06/26/63 Get On With It 07/17/63 The L-Shaped Room 08/21/63 Women of the World 09/11/63 Heaven’s Above 09/18/63 8 ½ 10/09/63 Irma La Douce 11/20/63 The Leopard 12/04/63 Carry on Regardless 12/11/63 3 Fables of Love 12/18/63 Winter Light 12/25/63 Ladies Who Do

RSM3853
RSM3853 on December 27, 2012 at 2:58 pm

First-run and major reissued movies that played at the River Oaks from 01/01/64 to 12/31/67. Research is from microfilms of The Houston Post and The Houston Chronicle. The date is the Wednesday of the opening week. 01/01/64 Ladies Who Do 01/08/64 Billy Liar 01/15/64 Murder at the Gallop 01/29/64 The Playgirl and the War Minister 02/05/64 Tiara Tahiti 02/12/64 Tom Jones 07/29/64 The World of Henry Orient 09/16/64 Nothing But the Best 09/30/64 To Bed…or Not to Bed 10/14/64 The Living Desert 10/21/64 White Wilderness 10/28/64 The African Lion 11/04/64 Perri 11/11/64 The Jungle Cat 11/18/64 The Vanishing Prairie 11/25/64 Lilith 12/09/64 The Night of the Iguana 12/23/64 Kiss Me, Stupid 02/10/65 The Pumpkin Eater 03/17/65 The Finest Hours 03/24/65 (Alec Guinness Film Festival) 03/31/65 La Bonne Soupe 04/07/65 The Train 06/16/65 The Battle of the Villa Fiorita 06/30/65 Joy in the Morning 07/21/65 The Third Day 08/18/65 Morituri 09/22/65 The Collector 10/20/65 Malamondo 10/27/65 The Knack 11/17/65 You Must Be Joking 11/24/65 Old Yeller/Arizona Raiders 12/01/65 Breakfast at Tiffany’s/Sabrina 12/15/65 The World of Henry Orient/Your Past is Showing 12/22/65 That Darn Cat 03/16/66 The Ugly Dachshund 05/04/66 A Thousand Clowns 06/29/66 Lt. Robin Crusoe, USN/Run, Appaloosa, Run 09/14/66 The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming 10/12/66 The Pad (and How to Use It) 10/26/66 The Poppy is Also a Flower 11/09/66 The Appaloosa 12/07/66 Hotel Paradiso 12/21/66 Any Wednesday 01/25/67 The Spy with a Cold Nose 02/08/67 A Man and a Woman 03/22/67 The Night of the Generals 04/19/67 A Countess from Hong Kong 05/10/67 The Defector 05/17/67 Eric Soya’s 17 05/31/67 You’re a Big Boy Now 06/14/67 The Honey Pot 07/26/67 The Family Way 09/27/67 Fathom 10/04/67 The Girl and the General 10/18/67 Barefoot in the Park 10/25/67 Ulysses 11/08/67 Reflections in a Golden Eye

RSM3853
RSM3853 on December 27, 2012 at 4:38 pm

First-run and major reissued movies that played at the River Oaks from 01/01/68 to 12/31/75. Research is from microfilms of The Houston Post and The Houston Chronicle. The date is the Wednesday of the opening week. 01/01/68 Reflections in a Golden Eye 01/17/68 Carmen, Baby 04/10/68 The Party 05/29/68 Inspector Clouseau 06/19/68 The Anniversary 07/10/68 Rosemary’s Baby 09/25/68 Petulia 10/09/68 Charlie Bubbles 10/16/68 I Love You, Alice B. Toklas 11/27/68 The Heart is a Lonely Hunter 12/18/68 Bullitt 03/19/69 Charly 05/28/69 Baby Love 06/11/69 The First Time 06/25/69 The April Fools 08/27/69 Staircase 09/24/69 Last Summer 11/19/69 All the Loving Couples 12/24/69 Cactus Flower 03/25/70 They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? 05/06/70 The Molly Maguires 05/13/70 The Laughing Woman 05/27/70 Fantasia 06/17/70 The Boys in the Band 07/29/70 The Sicilian Clan 08/05/70 Start the Revolution Without Me 08/26/70 The Bird with the Crystal Plumage 09/16/70 The Virgin and the Gypsy 09/23/70 Something for Everyone 09/30/70 Joe 12/16/70 South Pacific 12/23/70 The Aristocats 01/27/71 I Never Sang for My Father 02/10/71 Little Big Man 06/09/71 Willard 07/14/71 Scandalous John 09/08/71 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer 09/22/71 The Seven Minutes 10/06/71 The Late Liz 10/13/71 Joy in the Morning 10/27/71 Some of My Best Friends Are… 11/03/71 Johnny Got His Gun 11/10/71 Carry on Camping 11/24/71 House of Wax 12/08/71 Desperate Characters 12/15/71 The Lion in Winter 12/22/71 Star-Spangled Girl 01/12/72 Romeo and Juliet (ballet) 01/19/72 Toklat 01/26/72 Black Beauty/Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory 02/02/72 The Cross and the Switchblade 02/09/72 Pocket Money 03/22/72 Long Ago, Tomorrow 03/29/72 Dealing 04/12/72 Al Capone 04/19/72 The Concert for Bangladesh 05/24/72 Suburban Wives 06/21/72 The War Between Men and Women 08/02/72 Fillmore 08/16/72 Together 08/23/72 Relations 08/30/72 The Garden of the Finzi-Continis/Z 09/06/72 One Brief Summer 09/13/72 The Minx/The Female 09/20/72 The Affair 09/27/72 Five Easy Pieces/Getting Straight 10/04/72 Mary in the Morning 10/11/72 Funny Girl 11/15/72 On a Clear Day You Can See Forever 11/22/72 They Only Kill Their Masters 12/06/72 The Mephisto Waltz 12/20/72 The King of Marvin Gardens 01/24/73 Death of a Jew 01/31/73 The Assassination of Trotsky 02/07/73 Last Summer 02/21/73 Child’s Play 02/28/73 Toys are Not for Children 03/07/73 Baxter 03/14/73 The First Time 03/21/73 What the Peeper Saw 03/28/73 Two People 04/11/73 Cesar and Rosalie 04/18/73 Cold Turkey 04/25/73 Hail 05/02/73 The Boy Next Door (To Find a Man) 05/09/73 A Clockwork Orange 05/16/73 Kid Blue 06/13/73 Ten from Your Show of Shows 06/20/73 Travels with My Aunt 06/27/73 The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing 07/25/73 O Lucky Man 09/05/73 if…. 09/12/73 Love Minus One 09/19/73 Henry VIII and His Six Wives 09/26/73 Together for Days 10/03/73 No Go 10/17/73 Charley Varrick 12/05/73 The Other 12/19/73 The Laughing Policeman 01/30/74 Billy Jack 02/20/74 Siddhartha 03/20/74 American Jam 03/27/74 The Devils 04/??/74 The Sting 07/24/74 Uptown Saturday Night 09/18/74 The Pedestrian 10/02/74 Le Sex Shop 10/23/74 El Topo 11/06/74 Impulse 11/13/74 The Trial of Billy Jack 12/18/74 The Front Page 03/05/75 The Owl and the Pussycat 03/26/75 Tommy 07/16/75 The Happy Hooker 09/10/75 Yessongs 09/24/75 The London Rock & Roll Show 10/01/75 The Sensuous Sicilian 10/08/75 Gigi 10/15/75 Let’s Do It Again 12/24/75 Gone With the Wind

KingBiscuits
KingBiscuits on December 28, 2012 at 8:49 am

Didn’t RoboCop 2 have its premiere at this theatre?

jasonm74
jasonm74 on December 31, 2012 at 9:32 pm

As a matter of fact, this theatre did have the premiere of Robocop 2. Somewhere I have photos of the event, even a photo with Peter Weller. I’ll see if I can dig them up.

Explosivo12
Explosivo12 on December 5, 2013 at 7:35 am

so jason, please email me those photos at

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