Uptown Theater

120 E. Main Street,
Grand Prairie, TX 75053

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Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 9, 2009 at 12:53 pm

This is another photo of the Uptown.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 11, 2008 at 5:50 pm

Here is a November 2008 photo.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 11, 2008 at 9:16 am

Good news. The Uptown opened again on November 8, 2008. Here is the Uptown Theater website.

DonLewis
DonLewis on April 16, 2008 at 2:08 pm

A 1986 view of the Uptown Theater here and here showing a double feature, “Violets are Blue” with Sissy Spacek and Kevin Kline along with “Knights of the City” with Leon Kennedy and Nicholas Campbell.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on January 18, 2008 at 5:38 pm

This is a December 2007 photo. Status should be Closed/Renovating.

Elspethm99
Elspethm99 on September 5, 2007 at 10:51 am

It looks like there will be about 400 seats once the restoration is complete.

Elspethm99
Elspethm99 on August 13, 2007 at 2:29 pm

The Uptown Theater is coming alive again as a multi-use performing arts center. See press release below:

NEWS RELEASE AUGUST 13, 2007

CONTACT: Elspeth McDonald 972-237-8409

CITY CELEBRATES UPTOWN THEATER RESTORATION WITH STREET PARTY

People will be dancing in the streets from 7-10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, 2007, at a free block party in Grand Prairie when the city celebrates completing the exterior restoration of the Uptown Theater, located at 126 East Main Street.
The Uptown Theater originally opened in 1950 as a movie theater. In 2005 the City of Grand Prairie purchased the theater and two adjoining buildings to create a multi-use performing arts center. In addition to being the home for the Grand Prairie Arts Council (GPAC) productions, the City of Grand Prairie will present a series of performances featuring regional and national touring productions.
“Lights, Camera, UPTOWN: A Marquee Celebration” will feature free entertainment throughout the evening from local performance groups including Children of the Strings Orchestra, Amandaâ€\s Dance, and a theatrical presentation from GPAC. Food and beverages will be offered for sale by local restaurants. Free face painting â€" with entertainment themes â€" will be available for kids of all ages.
After dark a brief program will culminate in the lighting of the new digital marquee and the restored pink and green neon. Grand Prairie favorites The Fugitives will perform immediately after the lighting ceremony.
Join the City of Grand Prairie in celebrating this important milestone in the rebirth of the historic Uptown Theater. The street party will be a peek into what the future holds for this important artistic landmark.
For more information please contact Elspeth McDonald, Managing Director of the Uptown Theater at 972-237-8409 or

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drivein2001
drivein2001 on June 27, 2007 at 7:57 pm

Went by this Theatre about a Month ago. I was told that the City of Grand Prairie has either taken it over or bought it. It will be renovated into a Live Theatre type venue. Hopefully, they’ll keep the Marquee intact! I’m Glad to see at least, something is being done to save it instead of Demolishing it!!
Way to GO Grand Prairie!! I took a few photos of this theatre just before the City blocked off the Entrance of the Theatre with Plywood. To view them, click here:.. View link

Randy A. Carlisle
“Preserving AMERICAs History Thru Photography”

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 5, 2007 at 4:31 pm

It could be a typo Don and they really meant Texan Theater. Or they know something that we don’t. :)

DonLewis
DonLewis on March 5, 2007 at 3:47 pm

2004??….so much for the renovation.

Also there was a “TEXAN” theater in Grand Prairie, but I don’t know of a “TEXAS” theater having been there.

Here is a rare image of TEXAN.
www.flickr.com/photos/lastpictureshow/343670367

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 5, 2007 at 3:14 pm

This is an 8/12/2004 article about the Uptown Theater.

“Grand Prairie, Texas, may restore old cinema as live theater.

Source: The Dallas Morning News
Byline: Stephanie Sandoval

Aug. 12—The Uptown Theater was the place to be on date night when Charles England and his buddies were growing up in.

It was more than a movie house. It was a gathering place where giggly young girls sipped on cherry Cokes and talked about the boys they liked, while the boys tried to get their attention; a place where the cry room was as likely to be occupied by young couples making out as by moms with fussy little ones.

Mr. England won’t say whether he actually saw much of any of those old movies, but the thought of long hours sitting in the darkened theater brings a mischievous grin to his face.

He’s hoping the Uptown will again be the source of fond memories for another generation of Grand Prairie residents.

Under his leadership as mayor, the city is contemplating buying and restoring the Uptown as a home for live musical and theatrical performances, art shows or even an occasional film screening.

“I’ve always thought that would be one of the most important things we could do for downtown, was to have a theater for fine arts,” Mr. England said. “What better place for downtown than the Uptown. It’s a landmark, still in relatively decent shape, and it could be a real showplace.”

He and others said the theater, which seats about 600, would be ideal for city events as well as productions of the Grand Prairie Arts Council, which has been searching for years for a permanent home.

“I think part of the concept is to see if it’s feasible to bring it back to what I call its ‘50s heyday condition, with modifications that would allow it to be used perhaps jointly for movies as well as live performances,” said Marshall Warder, city building projects manager.

Mr. England and Mr. Warder met this week with an architect who specializes in renovating old theaters. Killis Almond visited the Uptown last week and is to report back to the city on the cost of renovating and updating the old movie house.

City officials want to upgrade the theater with improvements needed to meet today’s stricter building codes while retaining its nostalgic appearance. That includes illuminating its landmark neon marquee.

Mr. Almond, who is not under contract with the city, said one of the building’s main drawbacks is that as a movie house it has a small stage, which would need to be enlarged for live performances. But he said the theater is in better shape than many he has worked with.

“It’s a nice-sized space. It’s got a nice sized seating capacity,” Mr.

Almond said. “It has great potential.”

The Uptown, which opened in 1950, was one of three movie houses operating downtown. While the building that housed the Texas theater still stands, only the Uptown remains a theater.

The original circular ticket booth is out front, as are the original red and off-white tiles and the glass display cases for movie posters. Inside, the big screen is in place behind the theater’s original heavy gold draperies. Upstairs, much of the old projection equipment remains.

Uptown owner Donna Easterling is thrilled at the prospect of the city reviving the theater.

“I want this to happen with the Uptown,” she said. “It could be a real showplace. The downtown merchants are ecstatic about the possibility.”

Ms. Easterling’s mother and uncles built the theater, and she bought it from her mother in 1962 after graduating from law school, and she ran it herself for a while.

“I made more money running the theater than I did practicing law,” she said.

Since about 1969 it has been leased to tenants who have tried to transform it into a showcase for local talent, a dollar theater, churches and more.

The city’s interest in the property also has arts patrons excited.

“We’ve always thought the Uptown would be a wonderful home for the arts community,” said Libby Clawson, Grand Prairie Arts Council executive director.

But city officials caution that a decision on whether to buy the Uptown will depend on potential costs of the renovation.

“We’re just going to rely on [Mr. Almond’s] expertise to begin with just to tell us whether or not this is a doable thing,” Mr. Warder said.

But even the architect is hopeful.

Mr. Almond, based in San Antonio, graduated from Grand Prairie High School in 1966 and has family here.

“I remember [the Uptown] as an amazing place of magic where I had the hell scared out of me,” said Mr. Almond. “I remember exactly where I was sitting when The Thing was on the original one. I watched most of that movie from behind the seats. I didn’t even look at the screen.”

Mr. Almond has been restoring theaters since 1981, when he started a massive renovation of the 1894 Grand Opera House in Galveston.

“It would be kind of nice to do something and give back a little of my expertise to the community I grew up in,” he said".

DonLewis
DonLewis on July 24, 2006 at 4:57 pm

My photograph of the UPTOWN View link

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 18, 2006 at 10:07 am

Here is a 2006 photo of the Uptown Theater in Grand Prairie.

DonLewis
DonLewis on April 26, 2005 at 12:24 pm

2004 picture of the UPTOWN marquee and sign @ www.vanishingmovietheaters.net

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 17, 2005 at 7:52 pm

This is a larger photo of the Uptown Theater:
View link