Bellaire Theatre

4020 Bellaire Boulevard,
Houston, TX 77005

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Showing 1 - 25 of 31 comments

Brightboyalert
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.

butch62
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!

_1WilliamMacdonald
_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.

DJRage70
DJRage70 on August 7, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1991

TomahawkJoe
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.

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.

sepiatone
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.

rivest266
rivest266 on September 6, 2009 at 6:31 pm

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

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on April 7, 2009 at 5:16 pm

This is a recent photo.

cornkit
cornkit on October 2, 2007 at 1:01 pm

Parts of the facade of the theater are still intact – the Whole Foods Market expanded and took over the space, though.

Here is an aerial view of the shopping center:
http://tinyurl.com/37bgxs

williamburge
williamburge on June 14, 2007 at 6:44 pm

WHEN I WAS TEN YEARS OLD MY BROTHER AND I ARRIVED AT THE BELLAIRE THEATER DURING THE SUMMER OF 1966 AND 1967 FOR TRIPLE HORROR SHOW-ADMISSION 50 CENTS . THE FILMS THEY HAD WERE GREAT. SOME OF THE TITLES WERE NAKED PREY ,QUEEN OF BLOOD ,FANTASTIC VOYAGE,ISLAND OF TERROR,GHOST AND MR CHICKEN,CHAMBER OF HORRORS,WAR GODS OF THE DEEP,PROJECTED MAN,FIVE MILLION YEARS TO EARTH,FRANKENSTEIN CREATES WOMEN,ONE MILLION YEARS BC,IT,AROUND THE WORLD UNDER THE SEA,DRACULA PRINCE OF DARKNESS. THE FILMS WOULD START AT 10.30 AM AND THE LAST FILM WOULD LET OUT AT 4.30 PM. WHAT A GREAT TIME TO SPEND THE SUMMER .

,

pharoh
pharoh on January 19, 2007 at 8:30 am

I would go to the triple horror shows on Wednesdays during the early 60’s. We would get rowdy and this old man would stop the movie and come out and yell at everyon to shut up during the movie. It seemed to have worked..it would get quiet for a bit and then the food throwing would begin again…can’t believe I could set through 3 movies a day….i remember waiting outside after the show for my Mother to pick us up. We sat out on a cement ledge by some stairs right next door.I remember there was a Shell Petroleum company across the street..those were the days.

williamburge
williamburge on August 25, 2006 at 6:55 am

Here is the other photo go to website- View link

williamburge
williamburge on August 25, 2006 at 6:51 am

Here is two photos of the bellaire theater just click on the websites to view them—http://www.hollywoodframegallery.com/koehn/theater16.jpg and View link

rogerscorpion
rogerscorpion on July 31, 2006 at 10:25 pm

fnydude, Whole Foods Market, the health food store, is on the end—not the theatre. The Discovery Zone WAS there concurrently. I have no idea what it is now.

JackCoursey
JackCoursey on January 26, 2006 at 1:41 am

My only visit to this theatre was after it was converted into a kid’s gym. The entire main floor had been totally gutted. According to one of the gyms staffers, the balcony area was still intact although not accessible from the gym. I am a bit confused as to how the Bellaire was configured as five screen multiplex. Assuming that the main auditorium remained intact was the balcony split into four screens or was another auditorium added on? Are there any interior photos of the theatre available for viewing?

BarryFord
BarryFord on January 24, 2006 at 3:50 pm

When I lived in Houston in the early 90’s, the Belleaire Theater was the closest…and the grandest of all the theaters blah theaters that I chose to visit for various movies.

At that time, she was a Multi-Screen theater…one large screen and a few small screens scattered about including upstairs.

There was a wonderful cafe downwstairs in the main lobby which served BEER as well. Outstanding service as well.

Sorry to see her demolished in another case of architectural homicide.

Rest in Piece(s). I’ll miss ya.

Barry Ford

evilatwill
evilatwill on November 28, 2005 at 2:50 pm

I remember early 60’s summer triple horror matinees for kids which were a wild scene with unsupervised kiddies tossing food everywhere. Also seem to remember saturday kids matinees with contests.

Backseater
Backseater on October 1, 2005 at 5:19 pm

Went there often as a kid in the early 1950s. Saw “Zombies of the Stratosphere” a serial with Leonard Nimoy as the assistant Martian, obviously preparing for his later role as Mr. Spock. Also the original “Superman and the Mole Men.” Left Houston for Alabama in 1954.

Janice
Janice on August 13, 2005 at 8:33 pm

My friends worked at his theatre in I think somewhere between 1989 to 92 and we were in there after hours real late having some Shiner keg at the bar, some of us were at the bar, I was with 2or 3 other people at the table. We weren’t there even an hour and I saw an old man wearing a plaid shirt carrying a bucket walking through the front of the theatre 20 feet away. I, along with my friends saw him and as I called attention to the others who sat at the bar, he went through the doors, we all saw him, well, most of us, and I remarked, who was that and why is he cleaning so late and all, and one of the guys who worked there told me that some ladies came in in the morning to clean and there was no elderly man who came in for any reason, I said he went through that door, I went very hesitantly to see where he may have gone, and the door was chained closed. We all realized we had just seen a ghost. He was as solid as we were and none of us had that much to drink.I wonder if anyone else has had any experiences in that place, theatre or otherwise. Janice

seweccentric
seweccentric on July 1, 2005 at 1:06 pm

Rocky Horror ran from August 1987 to February of 1992. I have a Houston Post newspaper clipping from August 28, 1987 and it is spelled “Bel Air” by then. The night time photo posted on movie palaces was mine taken in the Fall of 1991 – no bulbs were out.

belmontdrew
belmontdrew on June 9, 2005 at 7:43 am

In the early 80’s it was still known as The Bellaire Theatre and had one grand auditorium. It was very very run down and the movies were a dollar. I saw Mr. Mom there during the early 80’s and about halfway through the film the movie stopped and the house lights came on…and then one of the employees came in (we were the only people watching the movie) and said the projector broke so we just left. Shortly afterward, it became an adult theatre and stayed that way until the late 80’s. Then some developers came in and added some other smaller screens, a beautiful lobby and a cafe. They shortened the name to “The Bel-Air Theatre” to make it sound more classy. They had a very modern day concession stand with gourmet candy. The cafe was very nice and trendy. The cafe and theatre were separated by a big wall of glass cube tiles with curves in it – a very modern look. One of the areas of the cafe had a window that looked into a theatre so you could eat/drink and watch the movie through the window. You could see out of it, but it didn’t affect the lighting or the experience of the people in the theatre. In the late 80’s and early 90’s it was the PLACE TO BE and hosted Rocky Horror Picture show every weekend in its main huge auditorium (the original screen) which had all new seats – they were a very futuristic style seat. Somewhere in the mid 90’s I heard that the shopping strip owners had gotten too many complaints from tenants about parking issues since the theatre took up so much parking and it closed its doors for good. So sad to see it go!

teecee
teecee on April 2, 2005 at 5:32 am

I hadn’t checked the marquee carefully. The movies listed are from 1991, so a slight correction needs to be made to the second paragraph of the original listing above. I would suspect multiple screens. In addition, it would appear that the name was changed to Bel Air (2 words) sometime during the theater’s later years.