Americana Theatre

2200 Hancock Drive,
Austin, TX 78756

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kvhagedorn
kvhagedorn on December 20, 2017 at 1:26 am

I also went with my parents to see The Empire Strikes Back, but on the 4th night it was playing. I drove to Austin 3 more times to see it at this theater rather than see it at one of the inferior local ones. It was that special a place. I also remember seeing Patton and several other films here. In my opinion, it was the best-designed theater I’ve ever been in. The screen was gigantic, curved, and had a see-through curtain that would be drawn back as the previews started. As stated, capacity was huge, so it was quite an event to see a blockbuster there with 700 other patrons. The sight lines were perfect… the floor sloped very gently down toward the screen, and the projection booth was on the same level as the entrance. The place was perfectly engineered so that the projector beam would just clear peoples' heads as it was cast onto the screen. I really wish I had the blueprints to this place, because it was a masterpiece. Nice to see that at least the building survives.

LarsThorwald
LarsThorwald on November 27, 2017 at 7:47 pm

Nat King Cole died on 15 Feb. 1965, so I don’t think he made any personal appearances at the Americana after its opening in April 1965.

luckyoneye
luckyoneye on September 3, 2017 at 10:56 pm

I worked the Americana in 1973 The Way We Were was playing anyone who remembers that time please call well how about @ mail

Pawnshop
Pawnshop on June 27, 2013 at 9:48 am

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.

Logan5
Logan5 on March 28, 2012 at 12:20 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.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 25, 2009 at 10:09 pm

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.

DavidM
DavidM on July 19, 2008 at 5:22 pm

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.

pabloelsueco
pabloelsueco on December 21, 2005 at 11:44 am

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.

superdude480
superdude480 on November 17, 2005 at 8:06 pm

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.

William
William on September 20, 2005 at 7:22 am

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

robertmaar
robertmaar on September 19, 2005 at 4:55 am

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

superdude480
superdude480 on April 11, 2005 at 10:56 pm

I think amc did close it in 1994

superdude480
superdude480 on April 11, 2005 at 10:51 pm

Im sorry but the americana closed because amc had lost so much money on the property that they decided to close it. It was not because the screen had been slit because you see a few years after the theatre had sat closed in the summer of 1988 i had to be driving by and saw that there was activity there i went inside just to see if the place was reopening and sure enough Tommy (cant remember his last name) was cleaning he was reopening it as a dollar house(ALL SEATS ALL SHOWS $1.00) but the place had been left standing after amc left and no one had bothered keeping it up so years of dirt and grime had collected all through out the place. I asked tommy if he was hiring yet and he said yes and hired me on the spot to start help cleaning. He asked if i could start in the auditorum and shampoo the carpet he told me where the breaker box was in the booth to turn on the lights i turned them on and as i decided to start at the front by the screen and it was not torn at all. I remember cleaning the chandalier it took me a week to clean all the crystal pedals that were on it. If i remember right it had at least 1000 pedals in the lobby chandalier. I remember also that the restroom was up stairs and they were very dirty. I asked Tommy at the end of the day when did he sign the lease on the place and it just so when i stopped by he only had the lease to the americana on a few hours. On Grand Reopening Day we showed THE GATE RATED R (lol) the whole day i think we only had about 100 people or so that friday and a few more sat and sunday. We were open only several weeks before the AMERICANA was closed for the final time. Since i worked there in 1988 it was never a movie theatre again. Like i said before after that it was a recording studio but other than that nother was in operation there until the libary gutted it and opened a branch libary.

Steven Rogers
Steven Rogers on April 9, 2005 at 9:19 am

The last film I remember seeing at the Americana was Amadeus (1984), and I think it closed very soon after that. It was the only decent sized theater around, somehow surviving the fever in the 70’s of chopping theaters in half or thirds to create multiplexes of enormously long theaters with a tiny screen at the end. As I recall, the final incident at the Americana happened when the power failed during a movie and someone slit the screen, and the owners decided to give it up – that’s what I heard, anyway.

superdude480
superdude480 on December 21, 2004 at 11:57 pm

My old boss told me that right before the theatre was to be converted for the libary that himself and someone else we both know went there and pulled the projection and sound equipment from it. They said that for years it had been used as a recording studio before it sat empty for many years after that. They said the giant screen that was in there had several rips in it and roof was leaking the greand old carpet molding and of course dirt and dust every where.

rorysa
rorysa on December 12, 2004 at 12:04 am

Too bad—this was a great theater that I remember from my college and law school years, 1974-1981. In particular, I recall major re-issues of “The Sound of Music” and “Fiddler on the Roof” and the exclusive first-run of “The Deer Hunter.”

RobertR
RobertR on April 9, 2004 at 6:33 am

Im confused about this story, Annie was a Columbia release?