Circle Theater

2711 Storey Lane,
Dallas, TX 5220

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Circle Theater 1967

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Built in 1947 and named after the long gone Harry Hines traffic circle, the lonely building is still standing in good condition surrounded by a huge parking lot and wire fence.

It must have really stood out with its huge towering column on one corner of the building that originally accomodated the Circle name. Its broad marquee and lots of neon have also survived. It is situated on Storey Street between Harry Hines and Denton Drive.

Contributed by Don Lewis

Recent comments (view all 37 comments)

matt54
matt54 on June 11, 2011 at 2:37 pm

It’s too bad there is now no “preview” function, as there was with the older format. Can we get that back?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 11, 2011 at 4:04 pm

I, too, miss the comment preview function, but I miss the ability to search for theaters specifically by their previous names even more.

Google Maps still puts the pin icon for this theater on the wrong stretch of Storey Lane, about half a mile from its actual location, which is way over by Denton Drive. I managed to move the Street View to the theater anyway (take that, Google,) though I got lost in the interchange twice. Had I been actually driving, I’d have have been in a collision for sure.

matt54
matt54 on June 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm

“Had I been actually driving, I’d have have been in a collision for sure.” Ha-ha, Joe, ya gotta love Google Maps!

marganti
marganti on August 27, 2011 at 10:00 pm

I live on Storey Lane. Been there since the mid 1960s. When our family walked to the theatre, we would pass by the lumber yard which is across Denton Drive. In front of the lumber yard, we would pick up pecans and eat them in the theatre. I did go to the circle bowl too.

Driveintheatre2001
Driveintheatre2001 on November 1, 2011 at 8:53 pm

matt54.. sorry for the long delay in the return response. Yep, I shoot when-ever & where-ever I can. I now have 3,000 photos up on my flickr pages! www.flickr.com/photos/racphotography .. Enjoy! RAC Photography

Driveintheatre2001
Driveintheatre2001 on November 1, 2011 at 8:53 pm

matt54.. sorry for the long delay in the return response. Yep, I shoot when-ever & where-ever I can. I now have 3,000 photos up on my flickr pages! www.flickr.com/photos/racphotography .. Enjoy! RAC Photography

shantelle1
shantelle1 on January 9, 2012 at 10:21 am

I pass this theater on my way to work. It looks like it is not a functioning business anymore. Does anyone know who the owner may be and if it is, in fact, “in business”?

Driveintheatre2001
Driveintheatre2001 on January 17, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Some photos I took of the Circle Theatre 2006 .. Enjoy… Randy A Carlisle – Historical Photographer

Keith
Keith on March 31, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Featured on the discovery channel show “fast and loud”. Vertical sign has the word carnival on it now.

dallasmovietheaters
dallasmovietheaters on November 4, 2013 at 3:12 am

Dallas had two Circle Theaters. The first was downtown and can be found in the entry Joy Theater, its final name. But to people who may have seen the second of the Circle Theaters still standing in the 2000s, it appears that a building was constructed in the middle of nowhere with few buildings and no housing nearby. When built, it was part of a fun retail experiment around the Tom Field Traffic Circle – hence, the Circle. The 1,000-seat theater was architected by Pettigrew, Worley & Co. and was colorful with its neon interlocking circles on the outside and its crazy murals on the inside. The theater fit the area perfectly.

A carnival-like opening with Ernest Tubb in person outside, a thirty minute live radio program promoting the opening, fireworks and the film, “Welcome Stranger” were all included in the Circle’s launch on October 30, 1947. A newsreel of the capacity drawing event was shot.

In 1962, Interstate instituted a family-only film policy. But by 1968, the theater did a 180 and went all adult / art and downgraded to a weekends only operation. The theater announced a six-week weekend test group of films from January-February to determine interest in the Circle. Apparently, there wasn’t much because the theater closed on March 2, 1969.

In 1974, the Circle became a nightclub called The Old Theater with multiple levels with films playing on various levels, movie posters and movie photographs throughout. And unlike its predecessor, it provided free popcorn. That was followed by a live music venue called the Circle Theater. That was followed by an urban cowboy inspired disco called Cotton Eyed Joe’s complete with mechanical bull. That was followed by the Ritz Club / Ritz Rock and Roll Club. It was then the Dal-Star Bingo hall with the CRCLE on the outer sign replaced by BNGO.

Things get a bit dicey as the building is home to a variety of places. It was a Hispanic place of worship; it was the Baby O All-Stars / Baby O Disco Tec (2009) / Baby O Tejano Night Club; and potentially its last occupant was a Latino nightclub, Club Carnaval, which lit of the theater until late 2012 which – while a marked departure from the original interior – was just as festive and colorful as it had been in 1947. A wrestling match by Lucha Libre in 2013 was the last known event in the space. The fence around the property in 2013 suggested an uncertain future.

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