Americana Theatre

2200 Hancock Drive,
Austin, TX 78756

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Americana Theatre 1992

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Americana Theatre was built by Trans-Texas Theatres and opened in 1965 seating 1,000. In the early 1970’s it was taken over by AMC theatres. The theatre featured a huge 70mm screeen.

The story that goes is that the downfall of the theatre was an agreement made between AMC and Disney to give the Americana an exclusive showing on “Annie”. Disney made the agreement but stipulated it was for 18 weeks. AMC wasn’t able to get out of the contract and dug itself deep into the red and was not able to recover financially on the theatre.

In 1999, the Americana was converted into the Yarborough branch of the Austin Public Library.

Contributed by Charles Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

robertmaar
robertmaar on September 19, 2005 at 12:55 pm

This theatre was not built by or run by Trans-Lux Theatres at any time.

Trans-Lux Theatres to my recollection:

Connecticut Stamford;

Landmark Square 3

Avon Twin

Ridgeway Twin

Danburt

Trans-Lux Commerce Park

Palace

Trans-Lux Twin

New York State

Trans-Lux Hastings
Trans-Lux Dobbs Ferry
Trans-Lux Tarrytown

New York City

Trans-Lux 60th Street – Newsreels
Trans-Lux Broadway Twin – Newsreels (Closed in 30’s moved down to 1607 Broadway) Trans Lux Broadway opened 1936 – Renovated to Trans-Lux West in 1968.
Trans-Lux 52nd Street
Trans-Lux 85th Street
Trans-Lux East Opened 1963 Premiere with “The ugly American” with Marlon Brando
Theatre Four Walled to Penthouse for one year. The Renovated and reopned as “Gotham Theatre”.

Bronx:
Crest Theatre

Philadelphia

Trans-Lux theatre

Baltimore:
Town Theatre (Cinerama)
Hippodrome Theatre 2200 seats
Little Theatre
Reistertown Plaza
Aurora Theatre

Washington D.C.

Trans-Lux Theatre
Playhouse Theatre
Plaza Theatre

Virginia

Trans-Lux Richmond

Alabama

Trans-Lux Huntsville

Florida

Trans-Lux Clearwater

Michigan

Krim Theatre Detroit

Louisiana

Martin Cinerama Theatre

Massachusetts

State Theatre Boston

Trasn-Lux Inflight Cine’s

Florida

Tampa
Bartow
Daytona Beach Twin
Jacksonville Two Twin Theatres Normandy & Norwood

North Carolina

Charlotte Twin
Burlington
Greensboro
Kinston

Michigan

Saginaw

Oklahoma

Muskogee

Trans Lux Inflight were originally built for franchizing and put in Phillips Norelco 16mm projectors. First Theatre opened in May 1966 in Bartow, Florida. All auditorium were 350 seats Most were Blue American Body Form chair. Twin Theatres one blue one Gold.

All Theatres were converted to 35mm in 1971.

Trans-Lux Broadway

William
William on September 20, 2005 at 3:22 pm

The Trans-Lux Broadway Twin Theatre that BobMaar posted opened in 1931 and operated till 1938 in the Brill Building at 1619 Broadway.

superdude480
superdude480 on November 18, 2005 at 4:06 am

I just wanted to add that one reason this theatre could have never been reopened again is because the bathrooms were upstairs and the only way up there was via a narrow staircase. if anyone wanted to reopen it before the city of austin opened it they would have to had to comply with the disabilties act and built an add on to the building cause there was no room down stairs for new bathrooms and parking was a slight issue with some spaces around the building but the rest of parking was located accross hancock street and with traffic nowadays it would be dangerous really at night for customers to cross the street and i preety sure the city of austin would have insisted on the theater hiring off duty apd officers to control traffic inorder to ensure customers were not hit and nowadays off duty officers want at least $60 an hour for usallythree to four hours of work.

pabloelsueco
pabloelsueco on December 21, 2005 at 7:44 pm

The Americana Theatre was built by Trans-Texas Theatres, Incorporated, Earl Podolnick, President. The Americana did not exist in 1962. It opened with a by-invitation-only screening of the 1965 film “The Rounders”, starring Glenn Ford and Henry Fonda. The grand opening feature was “The Legend of Cat Ballou”, 1965, starring Lee Marvin and Jane Fonda. The Americana’s first manager was Joe Dyer.

DavidM
DavidM on July 20, 2008 at 1:22 am

The Americana is featured as a backdrop in one scene of the Richard Linklater film, DAZED AND CONFUSED. The lower part of the marquee is in one scene where the guys are meeting to discuss how they are going to haze the incoming high school freshman. The name of the theater is visible in the corresponding deleted scene in the “Special Features” section of the “Flashback Edition” DVD.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 26, 2009 at 6:09 am

pablo el sueco’s comment of Dec 21, 2005, is correct. The year after the theater opened, Boxoffice Magazine published an article about the Americana in its issue of May 16, 1966. It named Trans-Texas Theatres as the operating company, Earl Podolnick as the President of the company, and Joe Charles Dyer as the manager of the theater.

It also mentions that the theater’s decoration was designed by Earl Podolnick himself, and said that the architect of the house was William B. Saunders, of Austin. The seating capacity of the Americana was given as 783. The cost of the theater was $360,000.

Logan5
Logan5 on March 28, 2012 at 8:20 pm

The Texas premiere for “The Great Waldo Pepper” took place on Thursday March 13, 1975 at the Americana Theatre (Austin, TX) with former First Lady Ladybird Johnson and actress Susan Sarandon in attendance. At the Americana, attendees arrived in period cars & costumes. The film’s (first) premiere was at the Rivoli Theatre in New York, NY the previous night.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 23, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Described in this 1966 trade article: Boxoffice

Pawnshop
Pawnshop on June 27, 2013 at 5:48 pm

I waited with my parents in a line around the building to see the Empire Strikes Back on opening night! That theater holds some fond memories for me, including seeing “The treasure of the Four Crowns”, my first movie in 3D.

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