Bellaire Theatre

4020 Bellaire Boulevard,
Houston, TX 77005

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Bellaire Theater

Located in a two-level shopping center at the corner of Bellaire Boulevard and Stella Link, this was a wonderful neighborhood theater that used to feature Saturday morning kid programs with local personality Don Mahoney. The interior boasted murals by local artist Nione Carlson, who also designed the marquee. The first floor seated 800, while the balcony sat 400.

Originally a first run house when it opened in 1949, it unfortunately began to lose business to multiplexes, became a second run house house and finally closed in the early-1990’s after a long battle to preserve it.

As of the mid-1990’s, it housed a Discovery Zone, but the property is currently being sold to a development company which means the entire shopping center may be razed.

Contributed by Carolyn Louaillier

Recent comments (view all 29 comments)

rivest266 on September 6, 2009 at 6:31 pm

This is at 4020 Bellaire, it maps properly with Google.

sepiatone on March 19, 2010 at 4:56 pm

There wasn’t much advertising for this theater when it was new. The Houston Chronicle made no mention of it. There were no grand opening announcements in the Post, only an ad on April 16, 1949 stating that the Bellaire was a new theater and that “Easter Parade” with Fred Astaire and Judy Garland was playing there.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 8, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Nice looking theatre,Lost. No big fanfare in the Houston papers,strange.that is usually a community event when a theatre opens in an area.

TomahawkJoe on July 2, 2011 at 5:23 pm

I recently purchased a Civil War Confederate Flag with the words “Bellaire Theatre” stamped several times along the white edge where the grommets are. Does anyone remember seeing this flag on display at the theatre??? I’m thinking it was from the centennial celebration from 1961 to 65.

DJRage70 on August 7, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1991

_1WilliamMacdonald on October 19, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I worked as an usher at the Bellaire in 1958/59. The owner was Brig. General Victor A. Barracco. He was a retired Marine Corps General who ran the theater like the Corps. His language could curl your hair. My mother did not want me to work there. He told me I was the stupidest person he had ever known. (I doubt that.)His assistant was Millie Vann, who had worked with him in the Marine Corps. His wife was a doctor who drove nice cars. Ushers made $.50 an hour. We had to change the marquee by climbing a dangerous ladder. There were metal stands at each bus stop in front of the theater and we had to paste one sheets on them for every show. There were usually several layers of sheets on the board and we had to mix up the paste ourselves. It was messy. Ushers wore uniforms that were kept in a room above the store room. They were never laundered. Drinks from the consession stand were mixed from gallon bottles of syrup that we had to bring down the store room stairs. Wayne Mattison dropped one and it broke. Our shoes would stick to the floor for years afterwards. General Barracco died well into his 90’s. Millie Vann lived a long time also. I could go on and on.

butch62 on November 21, 2011 at 1:18 pm

I was an usher there about 1961…still at 50cents an hour. I remember the ladder and that Barracco would make us pay for any letter we dropped and broke when changing the marquis…so the room was covered in broken letters! I enjoyed watching him in the ticket booth as he got so crocked he’d put the lit end of his cigarette in his mouth. But it was a job!

Brightboyalert on July 31, 2013 at 7:31 pm

The picture above is most likely from 1988, when those movies debuted. Several friends and acquaintances would pile into a VW Bug and drive all the way from Lake Jackson to watch the Rocky Horror Picture Show on Saturday nights. This was from about 1989 through ‘91. There were many sexy and exciting people in attendance, among the audience and performers down front. Those were such halcyon times for me, especially when it came time for the virgin auction. A virgin was someone who had not seen the theater presentation; it was funny seeing the virgins squirm before the shows, as they were bid upon, sometimes just for a condom or similar pittance. If you won the bid, then the virgin would have to sit with you. I must say that I met a number of people, some of whom became more than just friends. Nothing quite like this exists now.

JackCoursey on July 12, 2014 at 6:40 pm

How was the interior reconfigured when the auditorium when from having one screen to five?
Does anyone have any interior shots of the theater?

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